The concept of brig comes from the Catalan briganti or the French brigantin, according to what is mentioned in the dictionary of the DigoPaul. These two terms, for their part, derive from the Italian Brigantine.
According to DigoPaul, a brig is a type of boat that has two masts and a sail that can be round or square. These boats emerged in the 16th century and were widely used until the 19th century. Thanks to the surface of their sails, the brigs could reach a great speed and travel long distances, being also ships that were agile to maneuver.
Usually the brigs were used for the traffic of merchandise. Anyway, they were also used by pirates since, due to their speed, they could pursue or evade any other ship. This use by corsairs made many navies decide to incorporate brigs into their fleet, using them mainly in pursuit work.
A historical example of this type of vessel was the merchant brig Espiritu Santo, which used to sail between South America and Spain in the early 19th century. It was captained by Francisco Paula de Fernández, although the owner of the ship was called Martín Elordi.
The Holy Spirit Brigantine remained in history when, in the framework of the Napoleonic Wars, it gave notice of a supposed English fleet that seemed to have intentions to invade the territory belonging to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. At the warning, Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte y Núñez developed a defensive plan and put it into motion immediately; however, finally the fleet in question was only carrying out an expedition to Cape Town.
The alleged threat was nothing more than a fleet led by David Baird, a British general who carried out more than one campaign in India, participated in the invasions that led to the defeat of his army in the Río de la Plata, was one of the British who fought against Napoleon’s Empire and conquered the Cape of Good Hope, a territory located in the southernmost part of the African continent.
In short, Baird was on an expedition to Cape Town, one of the Dutch colonies. It is worth mentioning that there the British Admiral Home Riggs Popham would organize an expedition with the intention of invading the Viceroyalty, which led to the well-known English Invasions in 1806.
As with other boats and vehicles in general, it is possible to find more than one type of brig. One of the most common is known as the schooner brig. It is a sailing boat that has a minimum of two masts. Another of its characteristics is that the pawl is rigged with square sails, while the other poles (that is, those that are farthest from the bow) have crab sails.
The blocks candles are also called square or, paradoxically, round, and used the old boats sailing. Its main name refers to its shape, which can be trapezoidal or rectangular. His work is carried out perpendicular to the direction of the ship, always giving the same face to the wind. The gaff sails, meanwhile, are trapezoidal and asymmetrical, with the aft edge generally more extensive than high luff.
Among the most outstanding brig-schooners in history we can mention the Juan Sebastián Elcano, the Sant Mus (when the civil war ended they renamed it “Baleares”) and the Esmeralda School Ship. The first two belong to the Spanish Armada, while the last, to the Chilean.