Inspired by the 11th century coat of plates, a brigandine is a 12th to 16th century vest or jacket of armor. It consists of many metal plates held together by a sturdy textile. Many times in history the plates were small, overlapping and hidden under fabric. In movies and videogames today, however, the most popular version of a brigandine is a long coat of canvas covered with visible rectangular plates (somewhat similar to the Japanese kikko in appearance).
In the early 17th century, a brigantine (the most talked about version of it today) was a two-masted sailing vessel with a square-rigged foresail and a fore-and-aft mainsail (like in the picture above). Much earlier in the 13th century, a brigantine was a sexy lateen rigged ship, popular among Mediterranean pirates for its nimbleness in action. Later in the 17th century, when ‘brigantine’ was being used throughout the New World, the word meant a ship that was slightly different than the early 17th century version: it’s foresail was still square-rigged, but the mainmast was gaff-rigged and had a few extra square-rigged sails on the top of it. Other unique ways of rigging a ship became associated with the word brigantine during the 18th century and onwards. Overall, though, a brigantine was simply naught more than a quick way to board ya for some pieces of eight, ya scallywag! I hope ya captain’s ready for a good keelhauling! Shoulda handed da booty while ya had da chance. Yar!
Barkentine aka Barquentine
(also called schooner bark or schooner barque)
A barkentine is a 17th to 21st century sailing ship similar to an early 17th century brigantine, though instead of only having one fore-and-aft sail behind the square-rigged foresail, a barkentine can have two or more fore-and-aft sails (like in the picture below). Therefore, a barkentine was longer than a brigantine, too. The extra triangular staysails corded to the nose are called jibs.
Barque, Barke, Bark, Barc, Barca (no it doesn’t mean ‘dog’)
Barque is an ancient word which has sailed throughout many cultures, hence the many ways to spell it. It’s hard to say if every culture used the same rigging on their barques because in many places the word simply meant “boat.” Today, however, people of the world have come to agree that a barque is a 15th to 21st century three-masted ship. The front two sails are square-rigged, but the mizzenmast has fore-and-aft rigging. It’s naught more than an early 17th century brigantine with an extra square-rigged mast plunked in amidships. So grab ya spyglass, matie! Brace yourself and spot the barque in the picture below. Yar! And don’t forget to surrender ya booty next time or we’ll keelhaul ya captain thrice over!