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 "There is little man has made that approaches anything in nature, but a sailing ship does."
– Allan Villiers
 "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
– English Proverb

Square Rigging is a Renaissance Era technology in Civilization VI. It can be hurried by killing a unit with a Musketman.


Further development of sailing technology invents a new way to rig the sails of a vessel, which is able to utilize wind even more effectively than before. This puts to final rest the last rowing vessels of past ages, and brings forth the most powerful Renaissance-era ship: the Frigate, which will dominate the seas well into modernity.

Square Rigging is very important for seafaring civilizations, providing them with a robust ranged ship that can attack both land-based targets and other naval units. It also increases the Movement Movement of embarked units, facilitating overseas settlement. This could be crucial, or not that important, depending on how well other civs have been doing with their own settlement: if there isn't any free space left to settle, or if the lands are all very close to other empires, you won't get any profit from the increased Movement Movement.

The tech is very easy to research once you get Cartography - it's simply the next tech in the line. But even for non-seafaring civs it will be important as one of the requirements for the most important tech of the Industrial Era.

Civilopedia entry[]

The first two-mast square-rigged ships appeared in the Mediterranean in the mid-14th Century AD, replacing the triangular-rigged lanteen sailing ships that had been used for the previous thousand years. Perpendicular square sails had been used on sailing ships in Northern Europe before (on cogs and longships), and the design was adopted by the Crusaders for their transports, giving more speed and maneuverability so they could get to the Holy Land quicker. In short order, the Europeans added fore and stern castles, bowsprits, crow's nests and additional masts.

The “Age of Exploration” saw the design of the square-rigged caravel (the caravela redonda – so named for its rounded stern) by the Portuguese for their long voyages around and across the oceans. It quickly became the definitive, most common beast of burden for the explorers, the forerunner of the much-larger galleon; Magellan had an all-caravel fleet when he circumnavigated the globe in 1519. For the next three centuries, naval history was dominated by ever larger square-rigged ships, which carried Europeans to claim the Americas and Africa, plunder the wealth of the Far East, and wage war against each other.

The cannon-armed ships-of-the-line (from the three-deck 1st rates with over 90 guns aboard to the lowly 5th rates with only 18 guns) blasted away at each other into the Napoleonic wars and beyond. Frigates and barques chased enemy merchants. Speedy square-rigged blockade runners slipped past Yankee warships during the American Civil War. Towering clipper ships plied the Pacific and square-rigged American whalers hunted those beasts to near extinction.

But the romance of the Age of Sail was coming to an end. In 1821 the first iron steamship, the British-built 116-ton Aaron Manby (with no lack of hubris, named after her builder) went to sea. Although sailing ships were cheaper to build and operate, and early iron steam engines were notoriously unreliable (so most carried masts and sails), the end of the square-rigged ship was on the horizon, reduced to being a rich man's yacht in less than a century.

Civilization VI Technologies [edit]
Ancient Animal HusbandryArcheryAstrologyBronze WorkingIrrigationMasonryMiningPotterySailingWheelWriting
Classical Celestial NavigationConstructionCurrencyEngineeringHorseback RidingIron WorkingMathematicsShipbuilding
Medieval ApprenticeshipButtress GS-Only.pngCastlesEducationMachineryMilitary EngineeringMilitary TacticsStirrups
Renaissance AstronomyBankingCartographyGunpowderMass ProductionMetal CastingPrintingSiege TacticsSquare Rigging
Industrial BallisticsEconomicsIndustrializationMilitary ScienceRiflingSanitationScientific TheorySteam Power
Modern ChemistryCombustionElectricityFlightRadioRefining GS-Only.pngReplaceable PartsSteel
Atomic Advanced BallisticsAdvanced FlightCombined ArmsComputersNuclear FissionPlasticsRocketrySynthetic Materials
Information CompositesGuidance SystemsLasersNanotechnologyNuclear FusionRoboticsSatellitesStealth TechnologyTelecommunications
Future GS-Only.png Advanced AIAdvanced Power CellsCyberneticsFuture Tech*Offworld MissionPredictive SystemsSeasteadsSmart Materials
* Future Tech is an Information Era technology until the Gathering Storm expansion.