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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ships of Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier explored the New World in ships known as carracks. You can spot a carrack by looking at its side. It forms a sort of "U". Below is a painting entitled, "Portuguese Carracks Off a Rocky Coast."

Carracks were the most common types of ships used by explorers in the 1500s. Columbus' ships were carracks. Below is a painting entitled "Ships Trading in the East" by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom.

The painting below is a wonderful illustration of the differences between the Great Carrack; Spanish Caravel and Galleass. It was painted by American artist Frederic Leonard King. They look similar to the untrained eye, but there are subtle and not-so-subtle differences if you study them closely. Can you see them?

Henry VIII's warship The Mary Rose, was a carrack and is being restored. She was the largest ship in the navy. (I will post some of the ship's artifacts in a future post.) Here is an artist's depiction of her from the the only known fully illustrated inventory of ships of the English navy in the Tudor Period known as the Anthony Roll.

 In the picture above you can really see the "U" shape, can't you? Keep in mind that this is an artist's interpretation of what he saw and not necessarily accurate.

The picture below is The Mary Rose being restored. She was raised in 1982 after being underwater for 437 years. She has her own museum now and when it opens it will be an exciting and  realistic glimpse into what these ships were really like. 

By the way, she sank because she had too many cannons and not enough ballast. See the stones in the bottom of the ship below. Those are ballast. Ballast keeps the ship steady and balanced in the water.

 Another artist's depiction of The Mary Rose:

And another by Geoff Hunt: