Friday, 18 October 2013

The Caravel

The Caravel was arguably the first efficient, truly oceanic ship in history; there have been some remarkable voyages don in other types of vessels through history before the advent of the caravel, like the viking voyages to Greenland and North America, and the trip around Africa made by some Phoenicians on the service of an Egyptian Pharaoh, but the caravel had, nevertheless a more significant impact because it was the ship that enabled Europeans to expand their empires overseas, changing the world's geopolitical and cultural map.
The caravel probably evolved from the dhouws and fishing boats used during the middle ages; it was a Portuguese invention made in Sagres under the auspices of Henry the Navigator. From the dhow, the caravel inherited its triangular sails. These were essential for allowing the ship without the need for rowing. Other ships of the time, which used only one or two square sails, often required rowing from their sailors in order to maneuver. 



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