The Galleon was a large, multi decked, blue water sailing ship used as an armed cargo carrier primarily by Europeon states during the Age of Sail from the 16th to 18th centuries. These magnificent sailing vessels were the mainstay of commerce well into the early 19th century. The galleon is responsible for the Age of Exploration. The galleon's success is attributed to the design which combines two types of sails. Smaller sails in the for-and-aft for maneuverability and large square sails on the center masts to catch the winds for speed.
Historically notable ships include the Padre Eterno. A Portugese galleon launched in 1663. It was considered the largest ship of its time carrying 144 pieces of artillery and able to carry up to 2,000 tons of cargo. The Vasa is the only preserved original galleon. She sank in 1628 and was raised in 1961 for preservation as a museum ship in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.
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