Cape Verde 5 Escudo 1994 Sailboat "Belmira"
Ships sailing under Cabo Verde Flag Series
Until the 15th century, Europeans were limited to coastal cabotage navigation using the barge (barca) or the balinger (barinel), ancient cargo vessels of the Mediterranean Sea of around 50 to 200 tons. These boats were fragile, with only one mast with a fixed square sails that could not overcome the navigational difficulties of southward oceanic exploration, as the strong winds, shoals and strong ocean currents easily overwhelmed their abilities.
The caravel was developed in about 1451, based on existing fishing boats under the sponsorship of Henry the Navigator of Portugal, and soon became the preferred vessel for Portuguese explorers like Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama or Ferdinand Magellan. Its name may derive from an ancient boat type known as carabus in Latin and καραβος in Greek, later adopted into Arabic as qārib, indicating some continuity of its carvel build through the ages.
Being smaller and having a shallow keel, the caravel could sail upriver in shallow coastal waters. With the lateen sails attached, it was highly maneuverable and could sail much nearer the wind, while with the square Atlantic-type sails attached, it was very fast. Its economy, speed, agility, and power made it esteemed as the best sailing vessel of its time. The limited capacity for cargo and crew were their main drawbacks, but did not hinder its success.
The exploration done with caravels made the spice trade of the Portuguese and the Spanish possible. However, for the trade itself, the caravel was later replaced by the larger carrack (nau), which was more profitable for trading. The caravel was one of the pinnacle ships in Iberian ship development from 1400–1600.
source : bcv.cv/own/wikipedia