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Anatomy of a 16th-century Spanish galleon: The evolution of the hull design

Author(s): Jose L Casaban

Year: 2017

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During the 16th century, the evolution of the Spanish galleon as an oceangoing warship followed a different pattern than in other European nations. The galleon was the product of a maritime tradition developed in Spain that combined Mediterranean and Atlantic design and construction methods. It was designed to protect the fleets of the Indies run, the first permanent interoceanic system from Europe to America, and to defend the Spanish territories overseas and the Iberian Peninsula. This paper examines the evolution of the Spanish galleon hull design through the comparative analysis of archival documents, shipbuilding treatises, and archaeological evidence. The analysis also reveals a distinctive design method for the galleons’ master frame that remained constant since the second half of the 16th century to the late 17th century, despite of the variations of the ratios between the main dimensions of the hulls.

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Anatomy of a 16th-century Spanish galleon: The evolution of the hull design. Jose L Casaban. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435416)


Design galleon Hull

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
16th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 340

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America