The Marigalante (La Santa Maria)

La Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción (The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception) was also known as the La Santa Maria and affectionately known as the Marigalante by her sailors (brave Maria). What is special about La Santa Maria was that she was the flagship of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to America.

The history of the Marigalante / La Santa Maria
The owner of the La Santa Maria was Juan de la Cosa, and the crew aboard the ship called her the Brave Maria (Marigalante). La Santa Maria ship was erected in Pontevedra, Galicia, which is located in the northwestern part of Spain in 1575, nearly fifty eight feet long, and weighing around a hundred tons. The Santa Maria led the voyage to America with one single deck, but three massive masts.

The Santa Clara also known as the La Nina or ‘The Girl’ along with the La Pinta also known as The Painted were the other two ships to sail to America with Christopher Columbus. The three vessels that sailed were not new, and they were not built to explore either, as they were much smaller than usual, but they were secure and trusted. The exact measurements are not currently known. The only way we actually know the sizes of the ships was from an anecdote that was written by one of the crew members aboard the ship and shipwreck from the late 15th century and early 16th century are thought to be the same size of the Santa Maria ship.

Naming the Marigalante
Each vessel back in those days were often given a religious female name chosen by the owner. A priest and well-known historian who often sailed with Christopher Columbus was Bartolome de Las Casas. He never actually wrote the name, the Santa Maria, in any of his diary writings. He referred to the Santa Maria as the flagship or the La Capitana and sometimes La Nao. Even Christopher Columbus is said to have called the Santa Maria La Capitana as noted in his daily diary notes. Other sailors referred to the Santa Maria as the Marigalante or the Gallant Maria ship, however, in history books, the ship is referred to as the Santa Maria.