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The Galleon was a large vessel capable of transporting enormous cargos at impressive speeds. Galleons were three- or four-masted ships, built high in both the forecastle and the stern. Developed in the 15th and 16th century, these versatile ships were occasionally outfitted as light warships, but their true calling came as transports. The Galleon's superb design ensured a long functional life; ships of this type served European nations well into the 1700s.