Maria da Gloria was built in Ílhavo in 1921, and its first name was Portugália. This small wooden cod schooner was then named Maria do Glória in 1927 when another firm acquired it.
In 1942, during the Second World War, the ship departed from Ílhavo to Lisbon (on May 18th) to attend the cod fishing vessels blessing. Maria do Gloria was a traditional event during the Estado Novo and after the ceremonies, it sailed to the fishing banks. On June 5th by a German submarine (U-94) when it was still on the way to the banks on the west coast of Greenland, the ship was targeted by German U-boats and attacked. Although Portugal remained neutral during the war and the Maria da Gloria was a neutral ship, the attacks persisted, leading the boat to sink while it was burning. There were only eight survivors, who were saved by the US Navy ship Sea Cloud, who took them to Boston after they receive medical assistance during 35 days. From there, four deserted, while four returned to Portugal on board the Portuguese liner Nyassa. After this event, the State ordered that for the 1943 campaign, all the schooners hulls were to be painted white, as a clear sign of neutrality.