The concept of brig comes from catalan brig or from french brigantin, according to what is mentioned by the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). These two terms, for their part, derive from the Italian brigantine.
A brig is a type of ship It has two sticks and a candle that can be round or square. These vessels arose in the century XVI and were widely used until the XIX century. Thanks to the surface of their sails, the brigs could reach a great speed and travel long distances, being also ships that were agile to maneuver.
Brigs were usually used for the traffic of goods. Anyway, they were also used by the pirates since, due to their speed, they could chase or evade any other ship. This use by corsairs made many armed decided to incorporate brigs into their fleet, using them mainly in pursuit work.
A historical example of this type of vessel was the merchant brig Holy Spirit, who used to sail between South America Y Spain at the beginning of the 19th century. It was captained by Francisco Paula de Fernandez, although the owner of the boat was called Martin Elordi.
The Brig Holy Spirit stayed in the history when, within the framework of Napoleonic wars, gave notice of an alleged English fleet that seemed to have intentions to invade the territory belonging to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. At the warning, the viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte and Núñez developed a defensive plan and put it into action immediately; However, finally the fleet in question was only making an expedition towards Cape Town.
The alleged threat was nothing more than a fleet led by David Baird, a British general who carried out more than one campaign in India, participated in the invasions that led to the defeat of his army in the Río de la Plata, was one of the British who fought against the Empire Napoleon and conquered the Cape of Good Hope, a territory located in the southernmost part of the African continent.
In short, Baird was conducting a expedition to Cape Town, one of the Dutch colonies. It is worth mentioning that there the British Admiral Home Riggs Popham would organize an expedition with the intention of invading the Viceroyalty, which led to the well-known English invasions in 1806.
As with other boats and vehicles in general, it is possible to find more than one type of brig. One of the most common is known by the name of schooner brig. It is a sailing boat that has a minimum of two masts. Another of its characteristics is that the ratchet is rigged with square sails, while the other poles (that is, those that are farthest from the bow), they have crab candles.
The square candles are also called square or, although it is paradoxical, round, and were used by the ancient ships of candle. Its main name refers to its shape, which can be trapezoidal or rectangular. His work is carried out perpendicular to the direction of the ship, always giving the same face to the wind. The crab candlesThey are trapezoidal and asymmetrical, with the stern edge generally longer than the high luff.
Among the most outstanding brig-schooners in history we can mention the Juan Sebastian Elcano, the Sant Mus (when the civil war ended they renamed it “Balearic Islands”) and the Esmeralda School Ship. The first two belong to the Navy Spanish, while the latter, a la Chilena.