Before entering fully into the definition of the Galéon term, we are going to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can state that it is a word that derives from Latin, specifically from “gálea”, which, in turn, emanates from the Greek “galée”.
A galleon it’s a old boat similar to a galley, usually equipped with cross candles. These boats began to be used at the beginning of the century XVI, first in warlike confrontations and voyages of exploration and then as merchant ships.
Galleons were developed by the Spanish people to facilitate transportation and navigation in colonial times. Thanks to the galleons, the Spanish authorities were able to explore the territories known at the time as las Indias and favor the Commerce.
The call Fleet of the Indies, which monopolized trade between Spain and the colonies, it was composed of galleons that loaded spices, gold, silver and other merchandise. They usually started from Veracruz (Mexico) and they moved to Seville or Cadiz.
Beyond its importance in Spain, galleons were also made in Venice, England, France, Netherlands and others nations, each with its own characteristics.
Through historical records, there is knowledge of important galleons that, at the time, were important for commercial activity. The Galleon San Diego, for example, he traveled between the Viceroyalty of New Spain Y Philippines in order to exchange products. This ship was sunk in 1600 by the attack of pirates.
In addition to that galleon, we cannot forget others equally significant in history. This would be the case, for example, of the San Martín galleon. It dates from the 16th century and was built by the Portuguese although, due to different circumstances, it passed into the hands of Spain.
It is well known for the fact that it was one of the ships that made up the emblematic Invincible Armada and not only for that but also because in the battle of Las Gravelinas, where the English destroyed the Spanish fleet, it managed to escape unscathed and returned to Spain.
It was 35 meters long, weighed 1,000 tons and had a beam of 10 meters. To all this we must add that it had 48 guns and that its crew was made up of 160 sailors and a total of 308 soldiers.
Golden Hind, on the other hand, it was a British galleon that traveled much of the world between 1577 Y 1580. With the privateer Francis Drake as captain, he was formerly known as Pelican, although it was later renamed.
Given the impossibility of having complete ancient galleons, many times the construction of boats that imitate these boats. The Galleon Andalusia, designed by Ignacio Fernandez Vial with the sponsorship of the Junta de Andalucía, reproduces a boat of the XVII century and was launched in 2010.
In the same way, it is interesting to know that for the filming of the movie “Pirates”, directed by Roman Polanski in 1986 and starring Walter Matthau and Damien Thomas, a large galéon was built. Given its spectacular nature, it was decided not to destroy it but to display it. Precisely for this reason, today it can be enjoyed in the port of the Italian city of Genoa.