The term “Corvette” was a French Naval description given to small warships used for Coastal patrol or defense. They could also serve in supporting roles for larger vessels. The term is documented in that late 17th Century and is used to identify a ship with roughly 40 to 80 tons displaced and unusually larger at 40 to 60 feet in length. 3 Masted (not including the Front Spar), they wer also Mid-Rigged Ships (with later versions converted to steam propulsion in the 1850s). Equipped with 16 to 20 cannon of various poundage, The English Royal Navy classified The Corvette initially as a Port Ship. Some Indian Ocean Pirates and Privateers used Corvettes for their speed and shallow water abilities. By the beginning of the 19th Century, The Corvette had evolved somewhat into a medium-sized warship, displacing 500 tons and several hundred feet in length. Their armament by this time was more robust (using 32 -and in some rare cases the even larger 68-pound cannon). The Corvette ships saw extended service in The Far East (with England) – in support of their Gunboat Navies in China (mid to late 19th Century).