Five Famous Boats Throughout History

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Boats and ships have been used by civilizations for centuries for a variety of reasons; including maritime trade, as passenger ships, in wars, or to discover new countries. These ships came in a variety of different styles and sizes, with popular models such as schooners, galleons, ocean liners and yachts. Many famous historical figures and explorers have used ships to make groundbreaking discoveries, or wage epic wars upon the seas. There are too many famous boats in history to list them all, but see below to learn more about five of our favourites.

The Santa Maria

One of the most famous explorers in history, Christopher Columbus, sailed this tiny Spanish ship in the hope of discovering ‘The New World’ way back in 1492. The ship was only 70 feet long (very small compared to other boats), and famously slow paced and awkward to steer. The ship crashed upon the shore on Christmas Day 1492, but a new boat, La Navidad, was eventually built from the salvaged wood.

HMS Beagle

Charles Darwin set off on a five year voyage voyage aboard this ship between 1831 and 1836, with the hope of discovering new species in South America, and across the world. His diaries were eventually published, titled ‘The Voyage of the Beagle’, and his findings played an important role in forming his scientific theories on evolution and natural selection.

The Mayflower

This ship was used to carry a group of English Separatists and Puritans from a port in Plymouth, to the ‘New World’ of the Americas. It set sail in 1620, and the Mayflower crew lived aboard the ship in the winter while the Puritans settled in to their new life. It sailed back to England in April 1621, leaving the passengers behind to set up some of the first British colonies in America.

Mary Celeste

The mystery of the Mary Celeste is one of the oldest conspiracy theories around, and to this day no one really knows what happened to the crew on board. The ship was found sailing adrift in December 1872, with no crew onboard, a missing lifeboat, and the crew’s belongings and food supplies still on board. Many theories are available, from a natural disaster, to a bout of crazed mutiny or even alien abduction!

HMS Victory

This boat is regarded as one of the greatest wooden warships ever built, and it served for both the Spanish and French fleets in battles during the late 18th century. The Victory is best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the ship was heavily restored by the British government in 1922. Nowadays, it stands as a living museum for visitors to explore at Portsmouth Harbour.

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