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plate ship (plural plate ships)

  1. (nautical, historical) A galleon, especially a Spanish one, carrying a cargo of precious metals and other treasure.
    • 1697, Roger Coke, A Detection of the Court and State of England during the Four Last Reigns and the Inter-Regnum, London: Andrew Bell, Chapter 2, p. 388,[1]
      Nor had the English Nation any Benefit of the Two Ships taken by Blake in September 1656 off the Coast of Spain; where one was sunk, another burnt, and two broke to pieces on the Shoar; so that of eight Plate Ships, but two got into Cadiz:
    • 1742, Lord Cholmondeley, Debate on Trade and Navigation, 1 June, 1742, in Samuel Johnson (editor), Debates in Parliament, London: John Stockdale, 1787, Volume 2, p. 219,[2]
      By serving the merchants, they [] enjoy the prospect of a near and certain advantage; they have not indeed any expectations of being suddenly enriched by a plate ship, and of gaining by one engagement such wealth as will enable them to spend the rest of their lives in ease and affluence; but they are sure of a speedy payment of their wages []
    • 1803, John Browne Cutting, “A Succinct History of Jamaica” in Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, p. xlix,[3]
      [] Sir William Phipps [] had discovered the wreck of a Spanish plate ship that had been stranded in 1659, on a shoal to the north east of Hispaniola. By the efforts of skilful divers sent out in sloops from Jamaica, twenty-six tons of silver were said to be recovered.
    • 1948, Andre Norton, Scarface, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Chapter 14, p. 198,[4]
      She carries not only the West Indies pay chests but also the money for the regiments in the north—in fact she’s as rich as a plate ship—and all good English money too—