|This article is about ship type. You may be looking for the EITC frigate of the same name.|
The role of the corvette consisted mostly of coastal patrol, fighting minor battles, supporting large fleets, or participating in show-the-flag missions. The British Royal Navy began using these small ships in the 1650s, but described them as large sloops rather than corvettes. The first reference to a corvette was with the French Royal Navy in the 1670s, which is where the term itslef possibly originated.
Most corvettes of the 18th century were around 100 to 140 feet in length and weighed 60 to 100 tons. They generally carried anywhere between ten and twenty-four guns on a single gundeck.