Christopher Columbus used three ships across the Atlantic Ocean in his first voyage in 1492 from Spain to the west. Santa Maria (The Holy Mary) was the largest three-masted ship out of them. The other two smaller ships used by Columbus were Portuguese made caravel-type Santa Clara ships nicknamed as La Nina (The Girl) and La Pinta (The Painted).
Juan De La Cosa, a Castilian navigator and cartographer, was the owner of Santa Maria. He is said to have designed the earliest European world map.
Santa Maria was launched in 1460. She was a Carrack ship developed in Europe during 14th and 15th centuries. She was a merchant vessel like a modern cruising yacht.
A Carrack ship was a sail propulsion multi-masted (usually three or four) ship used for ocean voyages.
Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the Bahamas. During the return trip, Santa Maria ran aground beyond repair onto a sand bank at Cape-Haitien, Haiti. It sank the next day i.e., on Christmas day. Columbus used the timbers to build a fort and called it La Navidad (Christmas).