Frol de la Mar (1502)

Contemporary drawing of Frol de la Mar by Francisco Rodrigues.

Ship Class
Ship Type

Frol de la Mar (Flower of the Sea) was a Portuguese carrack, commissioned around 1502. Displacing 400 tons, Frol was almost twice as large as previous ships built to make the trip from Portugal to India. She had some trouble on her first trip, proving difficult to maneuver when loaded with cargo, and she sprang several leaks. She eventually made it home, but Frol was never overhauled to remedy the issues. She was sent out again in 1505, running into the same issues on the return trip, and was laid up in Mozambique until 1507, when a Portuguese flotilla came by. Frol's cargo was transferred to another ship, and she was attached to the flotilla. Frol and her crew then spent the next several years assisting in Portuguese control of the Indian Ocean, capturing several cities and islands. On 3 February, 1509, Frol was the Flagship during the Battle of Diu, where the Portuguese decisively defeated a joint Gujarat-Mamluk-Calicut fleet two and a half times their own number. Frol wasn't in the best of shape by this time, and she was made seaworthy enough for the trip back to Portugal. However, she was instead retained in India, and sent to assist with the conquest of Goa, and then Malacca. Frol de la Mar foundered on a reef during a storm 20 November, 1511, while attempting to transport the treasure of the Sultan of Malacca back to Portugal. The wreck has never been found, but a replica was built in Malaysia.

Bonus Information

For the Record: The proper spelling of the name probably should be "Flor de la Mar", however all contemporary manuscripts spell her name "Frol de la Mar" so I have used that here.