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Spanish galleons in a North Atlantic storm, circa 1560s-1580s

Type: Image

The weather shown hitting these Spanish ships was encountered by the Basque whalers based in Labrador during the second half of the 16th century. Occasionally, ships were lost. One such was the San Juan, sunk in Red Bay, Labrador in 1565.

Site: National Defence

Spanish steel helmet and breastplate, 16th century

Type: Image

Such armour was found on the Spanish galleons going to Labrador in the second half of the 16th century. (Museo Casa Pizzaro, Trujillo, Spain)

Site: National Defence

A Spanish Ocean

Type: Document

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the European wars that had touched the eastern coasts of North and South America left the Pacific untroubled. From the European point of view, the region was largely unexplored, despite being bordered by Spanish colonies.

Site: National Defence

Basque Whaling Fleets on the Labrador Coast

Type: Document

During the later 16th Century, large Basque fleets hunted whales off Labrador. Seasonal settlements supported this lucrative fishery.

Site: National Defence

Conflict Amongst the Basques

Type: Document

There was sometimes fighting between the northern (French) Basques and the southern (Spanish) Basques. As well, war between France and Spain also affected the armed fishing fleets. The Inuit ashore were also hostile to the fishermen.

Site: National Defence