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Portuguese caravela, c 1535.

Portuguese caravela, c 1535.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm


Rigged model. In the Mediterranean, various types of vesels akin to the extensively used galley were developed, including the carrack, galleon, galeas (an oared galleon) and the caravela. The caravela is very similar to a galleon but with long beak-like bows without a figurehead. This one was about 114 ft long and with a breadth of 30 ft. The model is interesting in that it shows lateen rigging on the three after masts combined with a completely square-rigged foremast. It was more usual to have lateen sails on the foremast and square sails on the other masts. Caravelas such as this were used by the Emperor Charles V in his capture of Tunis from the Turks in 1535.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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