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San Pedro

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San Pedro

Postby shipstamps » Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:25 pm

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One of the great voyages of history was the journey of Orellana from the West Coast of South America to the island of Cubagua, near Trinidad, making the journey down the Rivers Coca (in Ecuador) a tributary of the Amazon and discovering the Amazon, the whole length of which was travelled in a roughly-made bergantin which was named San Pedro. Peru issued a set of stamps in 1943 on the occasion of its 400th anniversary. Gonzallo Pizarro, after weeks of forcing a way through virgin forest in search of the fabled El Dorado, had finally led his forces to the River Coca, and they could go no farther for lack of food. The only hope was to send a party ahead by boat to find supplies. Accordingly Pizarro gave orders to build a bergantin, a small boat towed astern in order to have communication with the shore and to save the crew in the event of shipwreck. These bergantias were stout rowing boats which could rig mast and sail if required. Before the bergantin could be built, however, charcoal kilns and forges had to be constructed, nails had to be made from horseshoes, trees had to be cut down and sawn into planks. The keel, stem, ribs and sternpost were built first, the planking was nailed edge to edge. It was caulked with cotton, of which there was no lack, for it grew on the site wild. Instead of tar a kind of resin which was obtained from trees was melted down and paid into the seams. While the finishing to the hull was going on, the oars were fashioned and an anchor was made from wood tipped with iron and weighted with a small boulder. The ship was not rigged for sailing for time was the guiding factor. The vessel was approximately 26ft. long.
Probably it had seven or eight rowing thwarts to carry 20 oarsmen, and 37 passengers. Pizarro, touching the vessel with his sword, named it the San Pedro. The boat was then pushed into the river and sunk to the gunwales for a day and a night to encourage the timber to take up. The name the Spaniards gave to the village on the banks of the Coca where the bergantin was built was El Barco, in honour of the vessel.
The launching took place on November 9, 1541 and two days later 57 men set out on a journey to find food. Too weak to row their craft back to the main body at El Barco, when food was eventually located, the foraging party gradually made its way down the Amazon until it reached the open sea and set course for Trinidad. During the journey down the river it was decided to build a second bergantin, slightly larger than the San Pedro. This was named the Victoria by Grellana, who had been put in charge of the river party by Gonzallo Pizarro. The Victoria was 23ft. 9in. long, and had nine thwarts for oarsmen. While she was being built the San Pedro was hauled up the bank and strengthened and re-caulked. A light framework was rigged up over the centre of each boat with a roof of woven palm leaves, thus offering some protection from sun and tropical rainstorms. Two jury masts were shaped, one for each vessel, and square sails were sewn from the Peruvian blankets that were part of the men's equipment. The second bergantin was built by April 24, 1542, and the party continued down river. On August 20, near the mouth of the Amazon, light topsails were made, with the necessary spars, and were rigged on the two craft, in preparation for the open sea voyage.
They left the river on August 26, and eventually reached Cubagua, just North of Trinidad, safely, the San Pedro on September 9, 1542 and the Victoria two days later. The voyage, down an unknown river, fighting Indians on many occasions, took 8'/2 months to complete. The stamp shows the San Pedro reaching the open sea, at the mouth of the Amazon, and a map of the journey from the West Coast to El Barco of Pizarro and the voyage of discovery down the Amazon of Orellano are depicted by an early cartographer's map on the second stamp. (SG683)
SG687 Sea Breezes 10/55
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Re: San Pedro and VICTORIA

Postby aukepalmhof » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:12 pm

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Bulgaria 1992 50s sg 3830, scott 3680. The two boats on the right of the stamp are the VICTORIA and SAN PEDRO
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