The Dream City, Paul V. Galvin 
Digital History Collection
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  THE SANTA MARIA - The view discloses Columbus' flag ship, which led her sister ships, the Nina and Pinta, upon the Western quest. All three were conscripts. A royal edict empowered Columbus to take for his voyage the best three ships he could find. Distrustful owners immediately put to sea, and nothing was left Columbus but the three vessels which finally formed his fleet. No vessel was ever freighted with a greater cargo of hopes and fears than the Santa Maria. The fate of a world and the fortunes of a world-finder were borne onward by that fragile keel which was still guided onward by unyielding purpose. To us the Sant Maria much resembles a toy ship. Indeed she was not considered first-class even in her own day, but of the three was the only one which boasted of a forecastle and cabin. But after all it would appear that these tiny ships were built for purposes of attack and defense, each one having a high protected stern, behind which the sailors could repulse an enemy or, if pressed too closely, could retreat and fight them from above. The principal officers of Columbus' fleet embarked on the Santa Maria. There were six of these, a high constable, a chief accountant, a comptroller, a royal notary, a historiographer, and last of all a linguist intended as an interpreter with the natives of the New World which might be discovered. Altogether the crew of the Santa Maria numbered sixty-six persons.
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Digital History Collection
Page created: August 26, 1998