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Nine ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Rainbow, after the rainbow, a common meteorological phenomenon:Rainbow was a 26-gun galleon launched in 1586. She was rebuilt in 1602, and again in 1617 to carry 40 guns. She was reconstructed about 1630 as a second rate of 54 guns. She was sunk as a breakwater in 1680.
HMS Rainbow was a 32-gun fifth rate captured from the French in 1697 and sold in 1698.
HMS Rainbow was a 44-gun fifth rate launched in 1747. She was used as a troopship from 1776, was on harbour service from 1784 and was sold in 1802.
HMS Rainbow was a 16-gun brig-sloop captured from the French in 1806 and sold in 1807.
HMS Rainbow was a 28-gun sixth rate, previously the French ship Iris. She was captured in 1809 by HMS Aimable and was sold in 1815.
HMS Rainbow was a 28-gun sixth rate launched in 1823 and sold in 1838.
HMS Rainbow was an Albacore-class wood screw gunboat launched in 1856. She was used as a survey vessel from 1857, and a training ship from 1873. She was sold in 1888.
HMS Rainbow was an Apollo-class protected cruiser launched in 1891. She was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910. They used her as a depot ship from 1917 and sold her into civilian service in 1920.
HMS Rainbow was a Rainbow-class submarine launched in 1930 and sunk in a collision with the steamer Antonietta Costa in 1940.