A caravel (Portuguese: caravela, IPA: [kɐɾɐˈvɛlɐ]) is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave it speed and the capacity for sailing windward (beating). Caravels were used by the Portuguese for the oceanic exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry VII, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, and Bartolomeu Dias all used caravels.
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