16th Century Sailing Ship

The 16th century sailing ship was a vessel, which was very old in some ways but still played an important role as a whole. It was a development from the earlier 14th and 15th Centuries but a predecessor to the future centuries.
It is no secret that China is a country, which has a strong consumer market today. But do you know how it all started? Even back in the 16th Century, merchants from all over the world were seen flocking to China to trade.

This is also proven with the abundance of what is known as “The Chinese Junks” (not my choice of words) or sometimes known as supply ships, treasure ships and horse ships to name but a few of them. The name of the ship was obtained from the assortment of goods that it carried.

The Chinese Junk was a very popular ship back in those days. The reason for this is it was fast and easy to sail.

Personally, I think that this is due to its unique design. The sail of the junk is typical to our modern catamaran and windsurfers. In other words, the Chinese Junk had laid the foundation of these modern appliances (well, I don't know if appliances is the exact word but you get my drift!).

If you observe, many of our modern sailboats such as the schooner, the ketch and the catboat are all based on the design of this 16th century sailing ship.

Now that I have talked about the glories of this era, let's look at the tragedy. The 1510 Mary Rose, which is an English warship under the reign of King Henry VIII, was fitted with cannon batteries which meant that it was able to break enemies' resistance easily.

However, what he did not foresee was that it caused the ship to be too heavy on the topside and as a result, sank on July 19, 1545. In 1982, the remains of The Mary Rose were raised. The archaeological finding resulted in all the tools, weapons as well as other equipment to be raised. If you want to have a closer look, you can do so at a museum in Portsmouth.

In terms of design, the Spanish Carrack was the largest European sailing ship up to the mid-16th century when an important revolution took place. John Hawkins, a famous English slave trader that the carrack had some deficiencies in its forecastle, which mainly meant that it was difficult for, ships to sail in a way, which was close to the wind.

His design gave base to the galleon and was the standard design for the majority of large ships up till the 18th century or so. His design displayed its capabilities when Hawkins, who was a member of the English Navy Board, managed to incorporate his design for the English vessels which resulted in more speed and their majestic win over the Spanish Armada in 1588 due to that.

With that, I bring my piece on the 16th century Sailing Ship to an end. Follow me as I sail across time and history with my other instalments in this series.

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