The Galleon was an ocean going ship that evolved from the carrack in the second half of 16th century. A lowering of the forecastle and elongation of the hull along with a square-tuck stern and a bow that projected below the forecastle gave galleons an unprecedented level of stability in the water, and reduced wind resistance at the front, leading to a faster, more manoeuvrable vessel. Galleons were usually under 500 tons, although the Manila galleons were said to reach up to 2000 tons.
It was the captains of the Spanish navy Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and Álvaro de Bazán who designed the definitive long and relatively narrow hulled galleon in the 1550s. The galleon was powered entirely by wind, using sails carried on three or four masts, with a lateen sail continuing to be used on the last masts. They were used in both military and trade applications, playing a strong role in early global expeditions. The ships were so versatile that a single vessel may have been refitted for wartime and peacetime roles several times during its lifespan. The galleon was the prototype of all square rigged ships with three or more masts for over two and a half centuries, including the later full rigged ship.
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