|nautical a large sailing ship having three or more masts, lateen-rigged on the after masts and square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast, used as a warship or trader from the 15th to the 18th centuries|
|[C16: from Spanish galeón, from French galion, from Old French galie|
full-rigged sailing ship that was built primarily for war, and which developed in the 15th and 16th centuries. The name derived from "galley," which had come to be synonymous with "war vessel" and whose characteristic beaked prow the new ship retained. A high, square forecastle rose behind the bow, the three or four masts carried both square and fore-and-aft sails, and one or two tiers of guns were carried broadside. The largest galleons were built by the Spanish and the Portuguese for their profitable overseas trade; the famed "Manila galleons" of Spain made an annual trip between Acapulco, Mex., and the Philippines, carrying silver west and raw silk east, for more than 250 years.
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