the santa maría was the largest of the three ships used by christopher columbus in his first voyage across the atlantic ocean in 1492. Her master and owner was juan de la cosa. The santa was a small carrack, or "nao" about 70 feet long, and was used as the flagship for the expedition. She carried 40 men. The other ships of the columbus expedition were the caravel-type ships santa clara, remembered as the niña and pinta. The santa maría was originally named la gallega ("the gallician"), probably because she was built in galicia. It seems the ship was known to her sailors as marigalante, literally "dirty mary".
the santa maría had a deck and three masts. She was the slowest of columbus' vessels but performed well in the atlantic crossing. She ran aground off the present-day site of môle saint-nicolas, haiti on december 25, 1492, and was lost.  timbers from the ship were later used to build môle saint-nicolas, which was originally called la navidad (christmas) because the wreck occurred on christmas day.