Built in Galicia, Spain, in 1492, the Santa Maria became immortalized as she joined the Nina and the Pinta in carrying Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the America's in 1492. Columbus had acquired the Nina and the Pinta, but hired the Santa Maria to accompany him. The Santa Maria was a merchant ship owned by Juan de la Cosa, who sailed as pilot. She set sail on August 3, 1492 and landed in the Bahamas on October 13 of that same year. The Santa Maria had the nickname La Gallega. Columbus took possession of Haiti on December 5, 1492. While making their way Eastward on Christmas Eve, tragedy struck the Santa Maria as she became grounded on a coral reef. She was ruined, and the crew spends Christmas Day salvaging whatever they could. Since it was no longer possible to carry the whole crew, Santa Maria's timbers were used to construct a fort (La Navidad) in Haiti. The Pinta and Nina returned home in January, leaving thirty-nine crew members behind. As fate would have it, none of the men survived to greet Columbus on his return in November 1493. Many replicas of the Santa Maria have been built since the 400th anniversary of her first voyage.