A fluyt is a type of Dutch cargo vessel that played a significant role in maritime trade during the 17th century. It was primarily used by the Dutch East India Company for transporting goods from Asia back to Europe. The term fluyt has its origin in the Dutch word “vloot,” which means fleet.
History of Fluyts
Fluyts were first built in the Netherlands around the 1590s, and they quickly became popular due to their large cargo capacity and low crew requirements. They were designed to have a flat bottom, which made them ideal for shallow waters such as those found in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas.
Fluyts were also known for their speed, despite not being particularly sleek or aerodynamic. This was because they had a unique sail configuration that allowed them to catch more wind than other vessels of their time. Additionally, they were armed with cannons, making them capable of defending themselves against pirates and other hostile forces.
Characteristics of Fluyts
Fluyts were typically around 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, with a draft of about 14 feet. They had three masts with square sails and a small triangular sail at the front called a spritsail. They also had a large rudder that could be raised or lowered depending on the depth of the water.
One notable feature of fluyts was their lack of ornamentation. Unlike other vessels of their time, such as galleons and caravels, fluyts were not adorned with elaborate carvings or decorations. This was because they were primarily used for commerce rather than military purposes.
Importance in AP World History
Fluyts played an important role in global trade during the early modern period. The Dutch East India Company used them to transport spices, textiles, porcelain, and other goods from Asia back to Europe. This trade was a significant factor in the rise of the Dutch Republic as a major economic power during this period.
Fluyts were also used by other European powers, such as England and France, for maritime trade. However, they were most closely associated with the Dutch due to their extensive use by the Dutch East India Company.
In conclusion, fluyts were a type of cargo vessel that played an important role in maritime trade during the 17th century. They were known for their large cargo capacity, speed, and unique sail configuration.
Their lack of ornamentation reflected their primary purpose as commercial vessels rather than military ones. The use of fluyts in global trade was a significant factor in the rise of the Dutch Republic as an economic power during this period.