The ship on which Christopher Columbus sailed when he discovered America was called Santa María, while two smaller ships accompanied him – La Pinta and La Niña.
On this day the owner of the famous ship Santa María on which Christopher Columbus discovered America died. His name was Juan de la Cosa and was born in the area of present-day Spain (unlike Columbus, who was actually an Italian from Genoa). Juan de la Cosa was a seaman and a ship owner who, in the time before Columbus’s expedition, lived in a small town called El Puerto de Santa Maria, near Cadiz in southern Spain. The ship Santa María, which was owned by Juan de la Cosa, was the largest of all three ships in Columbus’s expedition and her full name was La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción (The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception).
The ship was probably a carrack, a popular design at the time. The other two ships (La Pinta and La Niña) were caravel-type ships and much smaller in size. Santa María served Columbus as a “flagship”, i.e. as the main ship of the fleet, while La Pinta and La Niña accompanied it. Columbus himself sailed on the Santa Maria, as well as about 40 members of the crew, with the owner – Juan de la Cosa – personally on board during the expedition as the superior of the other sailors.