History of the Galaide

The Galaide was a type of single-mast outrigger canoe with a lanteen sail made of palm fronds that was used in the Marianas Islands over 3,000 years ago. The Galaide was primarily utilized by the Chamorro people for fishing, communications and transport around the island as opposed to the larger Proa outrigger canoe that was used for inter-island travel and trade.

The first European reference to the Galaide or the Proa goes back to when Ferdinand Magellan first came upon Guam in 1521. An entry in Francisco Alvos’ log book from that voyage notes that "...many small sails approached the ship sailing so swiftly they appeared to be flying." An account from the 1566 voyage of the San Geronimo under the command of Pedro Sanchez Pericon also speaks to the swiftness of Chamorro voyaging canoes and the agility of the voyagers.

By the end of the seventeenth century, contact and eventual settlement on Guam by Spanish colonialists and missionaries led to the near decimation of the indigenous Chamorro people through introduced diseases and warfare. In an effort to further demobilize and control the Chamorros, the Spanish government prohibited the construction and use of the Proa and Galaide by locals. This led to the eventual decline of the construction and loss of the intricate engineering details of these swift, ocean-going canoes that had so fascinated the first visiting Europeans.