Saturday, July 14, 2018

The China Ship Chapter 2: "Galleon of China: flagship of trade over two centuries"

Following up on last week's "The discovery of the roundtrip and the beginning of globalisation""

From the South China Morning Post:
Galleons of the Pacific, Acapulco or Manila, and Nao de China, which translates to China Ship, were all colloquial names for the transpacific vessels that sailed the tornaviaje for more than two and a half centuries. Though similar, the ships were built from different materials than their European counterparts, and had other unique characteristics

Construction By the 16th century, shipbuilding in Spain was extremely advanced and master shipwrights brought their cutting-edge techniques to the Philippines. Though they were still built according to Spanish regulation, the Philippines’ abundance of high-quality wood allowed them to construct hundreds of galleons well into the 17th century – each more grand and ornate than the last

Tropical hardwoods in the Philippines were strong, durable and insect-resistant, with the best coming from bitaog, apitong, terminalia trees, as well as banaba, palo maria, dangam, arguijo and coamings. Shipwrights would identify the most suitable timber for the build, and then take workers on expeditions to find and collect it
It took 6,000 workers three months to find enough timber for one ship 
Shipbuilders took advantage of the natural shapes of different tree varieties, depending on how they would be used in the construction. A straight pine trunk, for example, was perfect for a mast, whereas a crooked one might be ideal to frame the keel 

Cut down with a new moon
According to tradition, trees hewn with the new moon would be drier, harder and more resistant to weathering, putrefaction and fungal infection...MUCH MORE
Coming up:
Chapter 3 A journey of dread
Chapter 4 How silver changed the world