National Geographic : 1938 Jan
SHIPS, FROM DUGOUTS TO DREADNOUGHTS Photograph courtesy U. S. Navy Recruiting Bureau "ROLLIN' HOME--TWO DESTROYERS WALLOW THROUGH PACIFIC WHITECAPS The Long and Wasmuth, of the U. S. naval scouting force, here are returning from maneuvers to base at San Diego, California. Large figures on their bows identify them as destroyers. Lifeboats are carried "rigged out," ready for quick use if a man goes overboard. around Africa centuries before Vasco da Gama. Vikings, bold sailors in their day, rav aged the coasts of Gaul and Spain in their stout oaken vessels (Plate I and page 89) centuries before Columbus was born. Liv ing on dried fish and such little grain as they could carry, they later explored the northwest Atlantic; about 1000 A.D., Leif Ericsson voyaged to North America through icy seas. In each passing century, after Egypt supplied a pattern for seagoing merchant craft, first the seafarers of one nation, then of another, made improvements. Colum bus's flagship, for example, was a "mod ern" boat, compared with Leif's open "long ship." His crew had better sleeping quar ters, bigger water casks, more dried meats, better arms and clothes, and better naviga tion charts and instruments. THE MERCHANTS OF VENICE Medieval Venice gained the peak of wealth and power with her Mediterranean merchant fleet that carried goods between Europe and the Near East. During the Crusades it was largely the ships of the merchants of Venice that carried troops and supplies for Palestine campaigns. Plate IV portrays a Venetian galley; such were the fighting craft when Christian allies under Don John of Austria defeated the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.