The ship

The Basque naval industry's contribution to maritime history was essential. 

Beginning in the 13th century, the Basques were one of the main agents behind oceanic expansion

At the time, Euskadi was home to production of some of the most prized goods in all of Europe, especially steel and whale oil. It was also from this point that the wool produced in Castile, Aragon and Navarre was transported to the rest of Europe. The Basque fleet took over trade between northern Europe and the Mediterranean, and those relationships, forged over centuries, allowed the Basques to grow wealthy with the influences and contributions made by ship building in different places all over the known world. Thanks to this situation, in the early 16th century, the Basques managed to develop the most modern naval technology of the time. Our sailors were called to join the most ambitious expeditions, and their ships, the most effective of their day, could reach any corner of the Atlantic Ocean. 

During the second half of the 15th century, over 90% of the ships participating in trade between England and the Iberian Peninsula were Basque.

Basque ships truly had an innovative design. Mainly conceived as freight ships, they could have one or two decks under the main deck. They were highly resistant to any maritime or weather condition, very suitable for fishing, commercial or exploration expeditions throughout the ocean. And also for war. The construction system used at Basque shipyards was entirely rational: it did not use structures that were not wholly essential, and native oak wood was used, along with the prized steel produced in our foundries. Aside from their resistance, the ships were beautiful and more economical than those built elsewhere. 

The Basque design made for the most efficient inter-oceanic ship in all the history of mankind.

It played a star role in the discovery of America, the first circumnavigation around the globe and the conquest of the Philippines. It helped to build the Spanish Empire during the 16th century, transporting the gold and silver that funded it. 80% of the ships that departed from Seville toward the Americas in the 16th and 17th centuries were of Basque origin. 

The first sail ship built for war was a direct successor of the Basque ship: the galleon. The galleons of Basque origin made the 16th-century Spanish Armada's maritime supremacy possible.

The Victoria was the ship that completed the first circumnavigation around the globe. With 85 tonnes, it belonged to Biscay native Domingo de Apallua. The House of Trade of Seville purchased the ship for 830 ducats so it could join the expedition to the Mollucas.