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The Santa Maria was the flagship and largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the Americas. The other two were named the La Nina (The Girl) and La Pinta (The Painted One).

The Santa Maria was owned by Juan de la Cosa, a cartographer, conquistador and explorer, who sailed with Columbus on the first three voyages (1492, 1493, and 1498).

The voyages of Christopher Columbus.

Although not well known, all three ships were bought used and may have even been third-hand. None of the three were built for trans-oceanic exploration.

The Santa Maria was originally named La Gallega (The Galician) because built in Pontevedra, Galicia, in the north-west of Spain.

The Santa Maria was a small ship, by modern standards. It measured about 60 feet (18 meters) in length and 18 feet (5.5 meters) in width. It had a single deck with three masts. This is about the size of a modern yacht.

The Santa Maria ran aground on the first voyage off present-day site of Cap-Haitien, Haiti on Christmas Day, December 24, 1492 and was lost. Its timbers were stripped to assemble another ship, La Navidad (Christmas) because the wreck occurred on Christmas Day. The anchor of the Santa Maria now resides in the National Museum of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Christopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492. From a painting by Emanuel Leutze, 1855.



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