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MADRE DE DEUS Carrack 1589

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MADRE DE DEUS Carrack 1589

Postby aukepalmhof » Sat Apr 17, 2021 3:30 am

Madre_de_Dios' arrival at Dartmouth harbour 18 September 1502.jpg
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1999 Carrack-1609-Madre de Deus .jpg
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At the end of the 16th century, Portugal had been brought under the Spanish flag, and Iberian fleets were bringing untold riches from the Americas and the Orient to Europe. MADRE DE DEUS was one of these ships that were used in this trade between the Far East and the Iberian Peninsula.

MADRE DE DEUS (Mother of God; also called Mãe de Deus and Madre de Dios) was a Portuguese ship, renowned for her fabulous cargo, which stoked the English appetite for trade with the Far East, then a Portuguese monopoly. She was returning from her second voyage east under Captain Fernão de Mendonça Furtado when she was captured.

The MADRE DE DEUS ship was the largest ship in the world at its time, displacing 1,600 tonnes (900 tons of cargo). Built-in Ribeira das Naus in Lisbon in 1589, for the Carreira da Índia, it was 50 meters long and 14.5 meters wide. It had 7 decks and 32 cannons, among other weapons, employing a crew of 600 to 700 men. In August 1592, loaded with valuable goods, returning to Lisbon on her second trip to India, she was attacked and captured by an English fleet of six ships off the Azores. The MADRE DE DEUS was one of the greatest looting prizes in history.

Built-in Lisbon in 1589, she was 165 feet (50 m) in length, had a beam of 47 feet (14 m), measured 1,600 tons burthen, and could carry 900 tons of cargo. She had seven decks, thirty-two guns in addition to other arms, 600 to 700 crew members, a gilded superstructure, and a hold filled with treasure. The huge Portuguese ships of Carreira da India were built in order to have good navigability and large cargo space, in order to make travel more profitable, they became coveted prey by the emerging piracy at the time.

On her second voyage from the Indies, she carried chests full of pearls and precious jewels, gold and silver coins, amber, rolls of the highest quality fabric, tapestry, 425 tons of pepper, 45 tons of cloves, 35 tons cinnamon, 25 tons of mealybug, 15 tons of ebony, 3 tons of nutmeg and 2.5 tons of benjamim (an aromatic resin used in perfumes and medicines). There was also incense, silks, apricots, gold fabric, Chinese porcelain, elephant tusks, among other items. Finally, and perhaps the greatest treasure the English acquired: a document printed in Macau in 1590, which contained precious information about Portuguese trade in China and Japan. Richard Hakluyt reported that this document was found enclosed in a cedar box, rolled up 100 times by a fine Calicut fabric, treated as the most precious of jewels.

Battle of Flores (1592)
In 1592, in violation of the Luso-British Alliance of 1373, considered ineffective during the Philippine Dynasty and in the middle of the war between Spain and England, an English naval fleet composed of 6 ships waited off the Azores to intercept merchant ships from Spain that were coming of the Americas with various goods, when a Portuguese fleet from the south approached. The English forced the ship SANTA CRUZ to land by stealing all the goods that the Portuguese had not been able to save. Under threat of torture, they were also able to obtain information that there were more ships on the way from India.
One of these ships was MADRE DE DEUS, who was returning from her second trip to India and headed for Lisbon loaded with goods. Approximately in the middle of August of that year, the English privateers, led by Commander Sir John Burrough, took the ship after a long day of battle near the island of Flores, during the battle several Portuguese sailors lost their lives.
When the English embarked, the decks were full of blood and the sailors' bodies were scattered all over the ship, but more concentrated near the stern. Burrough spared the life of Captain Fernão de Mendonça Furtado and the rest of the wounded, sending them to the coast.

According to the usage at the time, when a ship was captured, the cargo was transshipped and the seized vessel was set on fire and sunk. However, the English privateers were so impressed with the dimensions of the Portuguese ship that they towed it to England.

The English crew had filled already their pockets with what they could before Commander Burrough could control the men and the goods.

The ship docked in the port of Dartmouth on 7 September, higher than all other ships and houses in the vicinity of the port. The Portuguese ship was three times the size of the largest English ship, with a massive embellished structure and a huge hold full of treasures from India. Such a thing has never been seen in England and pandemonium has been generated. MADRE DE DEUS attracted all kinds of merchants, thieves, and onlookers from miles away to the port. People visited the floating castle and looked for drunken sailors in the surrounding shops and taverns, from whom they could take the stolen treasures.

English law at the time dictated that a percentage of the share always went to the crown and when Queen Elizabeth I of England was informed of what happened she sent Sir Walter Raleigh to claim his share and punish the looters. The estimated value of the cargo was equivalent to half of the English treasury at the time. When Raleigh restored order, only about a quarter of the goods (£140,000) initially brought by Burrough were left in the ship.

This breath of Indian wealth galvanized English interest in the region. The British from here on began to dress the employees who unloaded the goods from the ships in uniforms without pockets.

The fate of the MADRE DE DEUS I could not find.

More on the battle of Flores is given by: ... e-de-deus/

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