Manila galleon

The Manila Galleons (Spanish: Galeón de Manila; Filipino: Kalakalang Galyon ng Maynila at Acapulco) were Spanish trading ships which for two and a half centuries linked the Philippines with Mexico across the Pacific Ocean, making one or two round-trip voyages per year between the ports of Acapulco and Manila, which were both part of New Spain. The name of the galleon changed to reflect the city that the ship sailed from.[1] The term Manila Galleons is also used to refer to the trade route itself between Acapulco and Manila, which lasted from 1565 to 1815.

The Manila Galleons were also known in New Spain as "La Nao de la China" (The China Ship) on their return voyage from the Philippines because they carried mostly Chinese goods, shipped from Manila.

The Manila Galleon trade route was inaugurated in 1565 after Augustinian friar and navigator Andrés de Urdaneta discovered the tornaviaje or return route from the Philippines to Mexico. The first successful round trips were made by Urdaneta and by Alonso de Arellano that year. The route lasted until 1815 when the Mexican War of Independence broke out. The Manila galleons sailed the Pacific for 250 years, bringing to the Americas cargoes of luxury goods such as spices and porcelain, in exchange for silver. The route also created a cultural exchange that shaped the identities and culture of the countries involved.

In 2015, the Philippines and Mexico began preparations for the nomination of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route in the UNESCO World Heritage List, with backing from Spain. Spain has also suggested the tri-national nomination of the Archives on the Manila-Acapulco Galleons in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Manilajf9742 16
The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Memorial at Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila.

Discovery of the route

Urdaneta marinela txikia
Explorer Andrés de Urdaneta
Puerto de Acapulco Boot 1628
Acapulco in 1628, Mexican terminus of the Manila galleon

In 1521, a Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan sailed west across the Pacific using the westward trade winds. The expedition discovered the Mariana Islands and the Philippines and claimed them for Spain. Although Magellan died there, one of his ships, the Victoria, made it back to Spain by continuing westward.

In order to settle and trade with these islands from the Americas, an eastward maritime return path was necessary. The first ship to try this a few years later failed. In 1529, Álvaro de Saavedra Cerón also tried sailing east from the Philippines, but could not find the eastward winds across the Pacific. In 1543, Bernardo de la Torre also failed. In 1542, however, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo helped pave the way by sailing north from Mexico to explore the Pacific coast, reaching as far north as the Russian River, just north of the 38th parallel.

The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade finally began when Spanish navigators Alonso de Arellano and Andrés de Urdaneta discovered the eastward return route in 1565. Sailing as part of the expedition commanded by Miguel López de Legazpi to conquer the Philippines in 1565, Arellano and Urdaneta were given the task of finding a return route. Reasoning that the trade winds of the Pacific might move in a gyre as the Atlantic winds did, they had to sail north to the 38th parallel north, off the east coast of Japan, before catching the eastward-blowing winds ("westerlies") that would take them back across the Pacific.

Reaching the west coast of North America, Urdaneta's ship the San Pedro hit the coast near Cape Mendocino, California, then followed the coast south to San Blas and later to Acapulco, arriving on October 8, 1565.[2] Most of his crew died on the long initial voyage, for which they had not sufficiently provisioned. Arellano, who had taken a more southerly route, had already arrived.

Iberian mare clausum claims
Iberian mare clausum claims during the Age of Discovery.

The English privateer Francis Drake also reached the California coast, in 1579. After capturing a Spanish ship heading for Manila, Drake turned north, hoping to meet another Spanish treasure ship coming south on its return from Manila to Acapulco. He failed in that regard, but staked an English claim somewhere on the northern California coast. Although the ship's log and other records were lost, the officially accepted location is now called Drakes Bay, on Point Reyes south of Cape Mendocino.[a][11]

Andres Urdaneta Tornaviaje
Northerly trade route as used by eastbound Manila galleons

By the 18th century, it was understood that a less northerly track was sufficient when nearing the North American coast, and galleon navigators steered well clear of the rocky and often fogbound northern and central California coast. According to historian William Lytle Schurz, "They generally made their landfall well down the coast, somewhere between Point Conception and Cape San Lucas ... After all, these were preeminently merchant ships, and the business of exploration lay outside their field, though chance discoveries were welcomed".[12]

The first motivation for land exploration of present-day California was to scout out possible way-stations for the seaworn Manila galleons on the last leg of their journey. Early proposals came to little, but in 1769, the Portola expedition established ports at San Diego and Monterey (which became the administrative center of Alta California), providing safe harbors for returning Manila galleons.

In Manila, the safety of ocean crossings was commended to the virgin Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga in masses held by the Archbishop of Manila. If the expedition was successful the voyagers would go to the La Ermita (church) to pay homage, and offer gold and other precious gems or jewelries from Hispanic countries, to the image of the virgin. So it came to be that the Virgin was named the "Queen of the Galleons".

Spice trade

16th century Portuguese Spanish trade routes
White represents the route of the Manila Galleons in the Pacific and the flota in the Atlantic. (Blue represents Portuguese routes.)

Trade with Ming China via Manila served a major source of revenue for the Spanish Empire and as a fundamental source of income for Spanish colonists in the Philippine Islands. Until 1593, two or more ships would set sail annually from each port.[13] The Manila trade became so lucrative that Seville merchants petitioned king Philip II of Spain to protect the monopoly of the Casa de Contratación based in Seville. This led to the passing of a decree in 1593 that set a limit of two ships sailing each year from either port, with one kept in reserve in Acapulco and one in Manila. An "armada" or armed escort of galleons, was also approved. Due to official attempts at controlling the galleon trade, contraband and understating of ships' cargo became widespread.[14]

Between 1609 and 1616, 9 galleons and 6 galleys were constructed in Philippine shipyards. The average cost was 78,000 pesos per galleon and at least 2,000 trees. The galleons constructed included the San Juan Bautista, San Marcos, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Angel de la Guardia, San Felipe, Santiago, Salbador, Espiritu Santo, and San Miguel. "From 1729 to 1739, the main purpose of the Cavite shipyard was the construction and outfitting of the galleons for the Manila to Acapulco trade run."[15]

Due to the route's high profitability but long voyage time, it was essential to build the largest possible galleons, which were the largest class of ships known to have been built until then.[16] In the 16th century, they averaged from 1,700 to 2,000 tons, were built of Philippine hardwoods and could carry 300 - 500 passengers. The Concepción, wrecked in 1638, was 43 to 49 m (141 to 161 ft) long and displacing some 2,000 tons. The Santísima Trinidad was 51.5 m long. Most of the ships were built in the Philippines and only eight in Mexico. The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade ended in 1815, a few years before Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. After this, the Spanish Crown took direct control of the Philippines, and governed directly from Madrid. Sea transport became easier in the mid-19th century upon the invention of steam power ships and the opening of the Suez Canal, which reduced the travel time from Spain to the Philippines to 40 days.

The galleon trade was supplied by merchants largely from port areas of Fujian who traveled to Manila to sell the Spaniards spices, porcelain, ivory, lacquerware, processed silk cloth and other valuable commodities. Cargoes varied from one voyage to another but often included goods from all over Asia - jade, wax, gunpowder and silk from China; amber, cotton and rugs from India; spices from Indonesia and Malaysia; and a variety of goods from Japan, including fans, chests, screens and porcelain.[17]

Galleons transported the goods to be sold in the Americas, namely in New Spain and Peru as well as in European markets. East Asia trading primarily functioned on a silver standard due to Ming China's use of silver ingots as a medium of exchange. As such, goods were mostly bought by silver mined from Mexico and Potosí.[14] In addition, slaves from various origins were transported from Manila.[18] The cargoes arrived in Acapulco and were transported by land across Mexico to the port of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, where they were loaded onto the Spanish treasure fleet bound for Spain.

Around 80% of the goods shipped back from Acapulco to Manila were from the Americas - silver, cochineal, seeds, sweet potato, tobacco, chickpea, chocolate and cocoa, watermelon, vine and fig trees. The remaining 20% were goods transhipped from Europe and North Africa such as wine and olive oil, and metals goods such as weapons, knobs and spurs.[17]

This Pacific route was the alternative to the trip west across the Indian Ocean, and around the Cape of Good Hope, which was reserved to Portugal according to the Treaty of Tordesillas. It also avoided stopping over at ports controlled by competing powers, such as Portugal and the Netherlands. From the early days of exploration, the Spanish knew that the American continent was much narrower across the Panamanian isthmus than across Mexico. They tried to establish a regular land crossing there, but the thick jungle and malaria made it impractical.

It took at least four months to sail across the Pacific Ocean from Manila to Acapulco, and the galleons were the main link between the Philippines and the viceregal capital at Mexico City and thence to Spain itself. Many of the so-called "Kastilas" or Spaniards in the Philippines were actually of Mexican descent, and the Hispanic culture of the Philippines is somewhat close to Mexican culture.[19] Soldiers and settlers recruited from Mexico and Peru were also gathered in Acapulco before they were sent to settle at the Presidios of the Philippines.[20] Even after the galleon era, and at the time when Mexico finally gained its independence, the two nations still continued to trade, except for a brief lull during the Spanish–American War.

The wrecks of the Manila galleons are legends second only to the wrecks of treasure ships in the Caribbean. In 1568, Miguel López de Legazpi's own ship, the San Pablo (300 tons), was the first Manila galleon to be wrecked en route to Mexico. Between the years 1576 when the Espiritu Santo was lost and 1798 when the San Cristobal (2) was lost there were twenty Manila galleons[21] wrecked within the Philippine archipelago.

Between 1565 and 1815 Spain owned 108 galleons, of which 26 were lost at sea for various reasons. Significant galleon captures by the British occurred in 1587 when the Santa Anna was captured by Thomas Cavendish, in 1709 with the Encarnacion, in 1743 when the Nuestra Senora de la Covadonga was taken by George Anson on his voyage around the world, and in 1762 with the Nuestra Senora de la Santisima Trinidad. Until 1593, four galleons travelled at the same time, later only two.[15]:492

Possible discovery of Hawaii

For 250 years, hundreds of Manila galleons traveled from present-day Mexico to the Philippines, with their route taking them south of the Hawaiian Islands. And yet, no historical records of any contact between the two cultures exist. British historian Henry Kamen maintains that the Spanish did not have the ability to properly explore the Pacific Ocean, and were not capable of finding the islands which lay at a latitude 20° north of the westbound galleon route and its currents.[22] However, Spanish activity in the Pacific was paramount until the late 18th century. Spanish expeditions discovered Guam, the Marianas, the Carolines and the Philippines in the North Pacific, as well as Tuvalu, the Marquesas, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea in the South Pacific. Spanish navigators also discovered the Pitcairn and Vanuatu archipelagos during their search for Terra Australis in the 17th century.

This navigational activity poses questions as to whether Spanish explorers did arrive in the Hawaiian Islands two centuries before Captain James Cook's first visit in 1778. Ruy López de Villalobos commanded a fleet of six ships that left Acapulco in 1542 with a Spanish sailor named Ivan Gaetan or Juan Gaetano aboard as pilot. Depending on the interpretation, Gaetano's reports seem to describe either the discovery of Hawaii or the Marshall Islands in 1555.[23] If it was Hawaii, Gaetano would have been one of the first Europeans to find the islands.

Mauna Kea carte
Pacific Ocean with Mauna Kea highlighted

The westward route from Mexico passed south of Hawaii, making a short stopover in Guam before heading for Manila. The exact route was kept secret to protect the Spanish trade monopoly against competing powers, and to avoid Dutch and English pirates. Due to this policy of discretion, if the Spanish did find Hawaii during their voyages, they would not have published their findings and the discovery would have remained unknown. From Gaetano's account, the Hawaiian islands were not known to have any valuable resources, so the Spanish would not have made an effort to settle them.[23] This happened in the case of the Marianas and the Carolines, which were not effectively settled until the second half of the 17th century. Spanish archives contain a chart that depicts islands in the latitude of Hawaii but with the longitude ten degrees east of the Islands (reliable methods of determining longitude were not developed until the mid-eighteenth century). In this manuscript, the Island of Maui is named "La Desgraciada" (the unhappy, or unfortunate), and what appears to be the Island of Hawaii is named "La Mesa" (the table). Islands resembling Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokai are named "Los Monjes" (the monks).[24]

The theory that Hawaii was discovered by the Spanish is reinforced by the findings of William Ellis, a writer and missionary who lived in early 19th century Hawaii, and recorded several folk stories about foreigners who had visited Hawaii prior to first contact with Cook. According to Hawaiian writer Herb Kawainui Kane, one of these stories:

concerned seven foreigners who landed eight generations earlier at Kealakekua Bay in a painted boat with an awning or canopy over the stern. They were dressed in clothing of white and yellow, and one wore a sword at his side and a feather in his hat. On landing, they kneeled down in prayer. The Hawaiians, most helpful to those who were most helpless, received them kindly. The strangers ultimately married into the families of chiefs, but their names could not be included in genealogies".[23]

Some scholars, particularly American, have dismissed these claims as lacking credibility.[25][26] Debate continues as to whether the Hawaiian Islands were actually visited by the Spanish in the 16th century[27] with researchers like Richard W. Rogers looking for evidence of Spanish shipwrecks.[28][29]

Pending UNESCO nominations

Manilajf9742 16
The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Memorial at Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila.

In 2014, the idea to nominate the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route as a World Heritage Site was initiated by the Mexican and Filipino ambassadors to UNESCO. Spain has also backed the nomination and suggested that the archives related to the route under the possession of the Philippines, Mexico, and Spain be nominated as part of another UNESCO list, the Memory of the World Register.[30]

In 2017, the Philippines established the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum in Metro Manila, one of the necessary steps in nominating the trade route to UNESCO.[31]

See also


  1. ^ The Drakes Cove site began its review by the National Park Service (NPS) in 1994,[3] thus starting an 18-year study of the suggested Drake sites. The first formal Nomination to mark the Nova Albion site at Drake's Cove as a National Historic Landmark was provided to NPS on January 1, 1996. As part of its review, NPS obtained independent, confidential comments from professional historians. The NPS staff concluded that the Drake's Cove site is the "most probable"[3] and "most likely"[4][5][6][7] Drake landing site. The National Park System Advisory Board Landmarks Committee sought public comments on the Port of Nova Albion Historic and Archaeological District Nomination [8] and received more than two dozen letters of support and none in opposition. At the Committee's meeting of November 9, 2011 in Washington, DC, representatives of the government of Spain, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Congresswoman Lynn Wolsey all spoke in favor of the nomination: there was no opposition. Staff and the Drake Navigators Guild’s president, Edward Von der Porten, gave the presentation. The Nomination was strongly endorsed by Committee Member Dr. James M. Allan, Archaeologist, and the Committee as a whole which approved the nomination unanimously. The National Park System Advisory Board sought further public comments on the Nomination,[9] but no additional comments were received. At the Board's meeting on December 1, 2011 in Florida, the Nomination was further reviewed: the Board approved the nomination unanimously. On October 16, 2012 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the nomination and on October 17, 2012, The Drakes Bay Historic and Archaeological District was formally announced as a new National Historic Landmark.[10]


  1. ^ Williams, Glyn (1999). The Prize of All the Oceans. New York: Viking. p. 4. ISBN 0-670-89197-5.
  2. ^ Derek Hayes (2001). Historical atlas of the North Pacific Ocean: maps of discovery and scientific exploration, 1500–2000. Douglas & McIntyre. p. 18. ISBN 9781550548655.
  3. ^ a b [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "University of California Archaeological Site Survey Record, Mrn-230" (DOC). Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Scholarship Relating to Drake's Port of Nova Albion" (DOC). Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  7. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Property Name: Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District" (DOC). Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board Meeting". Federal Register. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Federal Register, Volume 76 Issue 189 (Thursday, September 29, 2011)". Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Interior Designates 27 New National Landmarks". 17 October 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  11. ^ "The Drake Navigators Guild Press Release". Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  12. ^ Schurz 1917, p.107-108
  13. ^ Schurz, William Lytle. The Manila Galleon, 1939. P 193.
  14. ^ a b Charles C. Mann (2011), 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, Random House Digital, pp. 123–163, ISBN 9780307596727
  15. ^ a b Fish, Shirley (2011). The Manila-Acapulco Galleons: The Treasure Ships of the Pacific. AuthorHouse. pp. 128–130. ISBN 9781456775421.
  16. ^ See Chinese treasure ship for Chinese vessels that might have been larger.
  17. ^ a b Mejia, Javier. "The Economics of the Manila Galleon" (PDF). New York University, Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  18. ^ Tatiana Seijas (23 June 2014). Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-95285-9.
    Rose, Christopher (13 January 2016). "Episode 76: The Trans-Pacific Slave Trade". 15 Minute History. University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  19. ^ Guevarra, Rudy P. (2007). Mexipino: A History of Multiethnic Identity and the Formation of the Mexican and Filipino Communities of San Diego, 1900–1965. University of California, Santa Barbara. ISBN 0549122869
  20. ^ "Forced Migration in the Spanish Pacific World" By Eva Maria Mehl, page 235.
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ Kamen, Henry (2004). Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492–1763. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060932643.
  23. ^ a b c Kane, Herb Kawainui (1996). "The Manila Galleons". In Bob Dye (ed.). Hawaiʻ Chronicles: Island History from the Pages of Honolulu Magazine. I. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 25–32. ISBN 0-8248-1829-6.
  24. ^ Hawaii National Park. (June 1959). "Hawaii Nature Notes". The Publication of the Naturalist Division, Hawaii National Park, and the Hawaii Natural History Association.
  25. ^ By Oliver, Douglas L. (1989). The Pacific Islands. University of Hawaii Press. p. 45. ISBN 0824812336
  26. ^ Coulter, John Wesley. (Jun, 1964) "Great Britain in Hawaii: The Captain Cook Monument". The Geographical Journal, Vol. 130, No. 2. doi:10.2307/1794586
  27. ^ Horwitz, Tony. (2003). Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before. p.452. ISBN 0-312-42260-1
  28. ^ Rogers, Richard W. (1999). Shipwrecks of Hawaii: A Maritime History of the Big Island. Pilialoha Press
  29. ^ "Perhaps the leading authority on Hawaiian shipwrecks today", writes Peter von Buol, referring to Richard W. Rogers in the Fall 2006, Vol. 38, No. 3 issue of Prologue, published by the NARA.
  30. ^ [4]
  31. ^ "Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum rises in SM MOA".

Further reading

  • Bjork, Katharine. "The Link that Kept the Philippines Spanish: Mexican Merchant Interests and the Manila Trade, 1571–1815." Journal of World History vol. 9, no. 1, (1998) 25-50.
  • Carrera Stampa, Manuel. "La Nao de la China." Historia Mexicana 9 no. 33 (1959) 97-118.
  • Fish, Shirley. The Manila-Acapulco Galleons: The Treasure Ships of the Pacific, with an Annotated List of the Transpacific Galleons 1565–1815. Central Milton Keynes, England: Authorhouse 2011.
  • Luengo, Josemaria Salutan. A History of the Manila-Acapulco Slave Trade, 1565–1815. Tubigon, Bohol: Mater Dei Publications 1996.
  • McCarthy, William J. "Between Policy and Prerogative: Malfeasance in the Inspection of the Manila Galleons at Acapulco, 1637." Colonial Latin American Historical Review 2, no. 2 (1993) 163-83.
  • Oropeza Keresey, Deborah. "Los 'indios chinos' en la Nueva España: la inmigración de la Nao de China, 1565–1700." PhD dissertation, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Históricos, 2007.
  • Rogers, R. (1999). Shipwreck of Hawai'i: a maritime history of the Big Island. Haasdasdleiwa, Hawfasfasfaii: Piliagagasgaloha Pub. ISBN 0967346703
  • Schurz, William Lytle. (1917) "The Manila Galleon and California", Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 107–126
  • Schurz, William Lytle. The Manila Galleon. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1939.

External links

Beeswax wreck

The beeswax wreck is an as-yet-undiscovered shipwreck located somewhere off the coast of the U.S. state of Oregon, near the mouth of the Nehalem River in Tillamook County. The ship, thought to be a Spanish Manila galleon that was wrecked in the late 1600s, was carrying a large cargo of beeswax, lumps of which have been found scattered along Oregon's north coast for at least two centuries.


Capul, officially the Municipality of Capul, is a 5th class municipality in the province of Northern Samar, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 12,679 people.Prior to its founding as a town, it used to be called as Abak with a lighthouse built on the island, served as a guidepost for the Acapulco-Manila galleon trade vessels passing through the treacherous waters of San Bernardino Strait. It also served as the capital of Samar from 1848 to 1852. The name Capul came from the word Acapulco, an old trading post in Mexico.Capul is the only town in the province of Northern Samar with a distinct language, Inabaknon, instead of Waray-Waray, the native language spoken by the locals of Samar island. The Inakbanon is a unique language, having no related language in the entire Visayas and Luzon regions. Due to few speakers, the language is highly endangered. The Inabaknon language is vital to the culture and arts of the Inabaknon people's island life.

Some locals have been challenging the Spanish colonial name of the island-town, Capul, and revoking it in favor of its indigenous name, Abak, which was used by their ancestors, and is also the namesake of townsfolk's indigenous language, Inabaknon.

Carabao (mango)

The 'Carabao' mango, also known as the Philippine mango or Manila mango, is a variety of mango from the Philippines. It is one of the most important varieties of mango cultivated in the Philippines. The variety is reputed internationally due to its sweetness and exotic taste. The mango variety was listed as the sweetest in the world by the 1995 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. It is named after the carabao, a native Filipino breed of domesticated water buffalo.There are 14 different strains of Carabao mango. These strains include the Talaban and Fresco of Guimaras, MMSU Gold of the Ilocos Region and Lamao and Sweet Elena of Zambales. A comparative study conducted by Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture in 2003 found that the Sweet Elena of Zambales is the sweetest Carabao mango strain.The Mexican Ataulfo and Manilita mango cultivars descended from the Philippine mango through the Manila galleon trade between 1600-1800. Both of these cultivars are sometimes referred to as "Manila mangoes" in trade.

Drakes Bay

Drakes Bay is a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide bay named so by U.S. surveyor George Davidson in 1875 along the Point Reyes National Seashore on the coast of northern California in the United States, approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of San Francisco at approximately 38 degrees north latitude. The bay is approximately 8 miles (13 km) wide. It is formed on the lee side of the coastal current by Point Reyes. The bay is named after Sir Francis Drake and has long been considered Drake's most likely landing spot on the west coast of North America during his circumnavigation of the world by sea in 1579. An alternative name for this bay is Puerto De Los Reyes.The bay is fed by Drake's Estero, an expansive estuary on the Point Reyes peninsula. The estuary is protected by Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve & Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area. Point Reyes State Marine Reserve & Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area lie within Drakes Bay. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

A portion of the coastal area of Drakes Bay is archaeologically and historically important. It is believed to be the site of Francis Drake's 1579 landfall (which he called New Albion), and also the location where a Spanish Manila galleon sank during a storm in 1595. Both Drake and the Portuguese commander of the galleon, Sebastião Rodrigues Soromenho, interacted with the local Coast Miwok. There are fifteen archaeological sites on the bay of Miwok settlements where European trade goods have been found, including materials that the Miwok probably recovered from the wrecked galleon. The region was designated a National Historic Landmark District on October 17, 2012.

History of Spanish slavery in the Philippines

Slavery was widespread in the Philippine islands before the archipelago was integrated into the Spanish Empire. Policies banning slavery that the Spanish crown established for its empire in the Americas were extended to its colony in the Philippines. The viceroyalty of New Spain oversaw the Philippine administratively, and the terminus of the Manila galleon in Acapulco sometimes saw the importation of Philippine slaves, who were labeled chinos. Crown policies regarding the favorable treatment of indigenous populations and prohibition of slavery were enforced in the Americas since the early 16th century. These were initially not always adhered to, though with time and following the spread of Christianity slavery was completely abolished.

Landing of the first Filipinos

On 18 October 1587, the first Filipinos landed onto what is now the Continental United States in Morro Bay. They arrived aboard the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza, which had sailed from Macao, as part of the Manila galleon trade. During about three days of travels ashore around Morro Bay, the crew of the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza came in contact with the Chumash people, ultimately resulting in the deaths of two crew members: one Spaniard and one Filipino.Departing Morro Bay after the deaths of the crew members, the Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza eventually reached its initial destination of Acapulco. The next time a Filipino would be documented in California would not be until 1595. In 1995, a monument on Morro Bay was dedicated to commemorate the events that occurred in 1587. Beginning in 2009, October was recognized as Filipino American History Month in recognition of the events that occurred in 1587.

María de Lajara

María de Lajara or Laxara, but more rightly María de La Jara, was a 17th-century Spanish lady, known for her tragic fate aboard the Manila Galleon and for her name having been attributed to a Pacific Ocean island.

María de Lajara's doom was published in 1699 by Gemelli Careri, in his work Giro del Mondo (Around the World), who wrote (in James Burney's translation): "Donna Maria de Lajara, a young Spanish woman, who in returning from Manila [to New Spain], not having patience to endure longer the inconveniencies of the passages, threw herself into the sea".

Maria de Lajara was very probably a descendent or relative of Juan de La Jara, Maestre de Campo (High rank army officer), who in 1596, after the death of Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, led the initially failed Spanish conquest of the island of Mindanao; if so, she was in all likelihood born in Philippines.


Okidaitōjima (沖大東島), also spelled as Oki Daitō Island or Oki-Daitō or Oki-no-Daitō, previously known as Rasa Island (ラサ島, Rasa-tō), is an abandoned island in the Daitō Islands group southeast of Okinawa, Japan. It is administered as part of the village of Kitadaitō, Shimajiri District, Okinawa.


Olinalá is a city and seat of the municipality of Olinalá, in the state of Guerrero, south-western Mexico.

Pedro Cubero

Pedro Cubero Sebastián (El Frasno, Spain, 1645 – p. 1700) was a Spanish priest, best known for his eastwards travel around the world from 1670 to 1679. Taking in account his world circumnavigation and his journeys across Europe he was undoubtedly one of the most widely traveled men in his time.

Pedro Cubero was born in the village of El Frasno, near to Calatayud, in the Spanish region of Aragón. He studied in Zaragoza and Salamanca, up to his ordination as a priest in Zaragoza, and soon afterwards went to Rome, where he joined the Propaganda Fide congregation.

Portuguese Timorese pataca

The pataca was a monetary unit of account used in Portuguese Timor between 1894 and 1958, except for the period 1942–1945, when the occupying Japanese forces introduced the Netherlands Indies gulden and the roepiah. As in the case of the Macanese pataca which is still in use today, the East Timor unit was based on the silver Mexican dollar coins which were prolific in the wider region in the 19th century. These Mexican dollar coins were in turn the lineal descendants of the Spanish pieces of eight which had been introduced to the region by the Portuguese through Portuguese Malacca, and by the Spanish through the Manila Galleon trade.

Raid on Manila (1798)

The Raid on Manila of January 1798 was a Royal Navy false flag military operation during the French Revolutionary Wars intended to scout the strength of the defences of Manila, capital of the Spanish Philippines, capture a Manila galleon and assess the condition of the Spanish Navy squadron maintained in the port. Spain had transformed from an ally of Great Britain in the War of the First Coalition into an enemy in 1796. Thus the presence of a powerful Spanish squadron at Manila posed a threat to the China Fleet, an annual convoy of East Indiaman merchant ships from Macau in Qing Dynasty China to Britain, which was of vital economic importance to Britain. So severe was this threat that a major invasion of the Spanish Philippines had been planned from British India during 1797, but had been called off following the Treaty of Campo Formio in Europe and the possibility of a major war in India between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore.

To ensure the safety of the merchant ships gathering at Macau in the winter of 1797–98, the British commander in the East Indies, Rear-Admiral Peter Rainier, sent a convoy to China escorted by the frigates HMS Sybille and HMS Fox and commanded by Captain Edward Cooke. After completing his mission Cooke decided to investigate the state of readiness of Spanish forces in Manila himself. He was also intrigued by reports that a ship carrying treasure was due to sail from Manila, which would make a valuable prize. Sailing in Sybille and accompanied by Captain Pulteney Malcolm in Fox, Cooke reached the Spanish capital on 13 January 1798.

Anchored in Manila Bay, Cooke pretended that his ships were French vessels and successfully lured successive boatloads of Spanish officials aboard, taking them prisoner in turn. Once he had determined from his captives the state of defences in Manila, that the treasure ship had been unloaded at Cavite and that the Spanish squadron was undergoing extensive repairs and thus unavailable for operations, he sent a raiding party against a squadron of gunboats in the mouth of the Pasig River. Capturing the gunboats in a bloodless attack, Cooke then released his prisoners and sailed southwards, unsuccessfully assaulting Zamboanga before returning to Macau.

Ronald Spores

Ronald M. Spores (born January 25, 1931) is an American academic anthropologist, archaeologist and ethnohistorian, whose research career has centered on the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica. He is Professor Emeritus of anthropology at Vanderbilt University's College of Arts and Science, where he has been a faculty member for over four decades. Spores is most renowned for his scholarship conducted on the cultural history of the Oaxacan region in southwestern Mexico. In particular, he has made many contributions on the Mixtec culture, investigating its archaeological sites, ethnohistorical documents, political economies, and ethnohistory in both the pre-Columbian and Colonial eras. He was Co-Director of the Proyecto Arqueológico de la Ciudad Yucundaa Pueblo Viejo de Teposcolula, Oaxaca, sponsored by the Fundación Alfredo Harp Helu, the National Geographic Society, and INAH (2004–2010), and currently (2017) directs research on the sixteenth century Casa del Cacique de Yanhuitlan, Oaxaca, and related investigation of the surrounding Prehispanic-Colonial city and region. He is also Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and at the University of Oregon and investigator on the Proyecto Geoparque de la Mixteca Alta, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/UNESCO, centered at Yanhuitlan, Oaxaca (2016-2017). Recent research relates to the colonial Manila Galleon trade between the Philippines and Acapulco.

Saint Malo, Louisiana

Saint Malo was a small fishing village that existed in southeast Louisiana on the shore of Lake Borgne, from the mid-18th century colonial period into the early 20th century, when it was destroyed by a hurricane. It was the first settlement of Filipinos in the United States.

Folklore contends that Saint Malo may have the first Filipino settlement in Louisiana and possibly the first Asian settlement. Oral histories claim St. Malo was established in 1763 by deserters from Spanish ships during the Manila Galleon trade, in what became St. Bernard Parish (then part of Spanish Louisiana), on the shore of Lake Borgne. Unfortunately, there are no primary source materials available to back this claim up. The primary source material available from newspapers and ancestry records place the founding of the settlements in the 1830s and 1840s. Saint Malo persisted into the early 20th century, until it was destroyed by the New Orleans Hurricane of 1915. The people who settled in the bayous were called "Manilamen," "Manillians" and "Tagalas." They governed themselves and kept their community's existence separate from mainstream society. The diet in the village was mainly fish.

Some of Saint Malo's fishermen were witness to the British invasion of Louisiana late in 1814, during the War of 1812, and may have joined the Baratarians under Jean Lafitte in defending New Orleans.

Sebastião Rodrigues Soromenho

Sebastião Rodrigues Soromenho (c. 1560–1602) (Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño in Spanish), was a Portuguese explorer, born in Sesimbra (Portugal), appointed by the king Philip II (Spanish: Felipe II de España; Portuguese: Filipe I de Portugal) to sail along the shores of California, in the years 1595 and 1596, in order to map the American west coast line and define the maritime routes of the Pacific Ocean in the 16th century.

Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Desengaño

Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación y Desengaño, nicknamed Desengaño, was a Manila galleon which plied the trade routes between the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the Spanish Philippines. The ship was captured on 22 December 1709 by a British privateering expedition led by Woodes Rogers and renamed Bachelor.

Thomas Cavendish

Sir Thomas Cavendish (19 September 1560 – May 1592) was an English explorer and a privateer known as "The Navigator" because he was the first who deliberately tried to emulate Sir Francis Drake and raid the Spanish towns and ships in the Pacific and return by circumnavigating the globe. While members of Magellan's, Loaisa's, Drake's, and Loyola's expeditions had preceded Cavendish in circumnavigating the globe, it had not been their intent at the outset. His first trip and successful circumnavigation made him rich from captured Spanish gold, silk and treasure from the Pacific and the Philippines. His richest prize was the captured 600 ton sailing ship the Manila Galleon Santa Ana (also called Santa Anna). He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I of England after his return. He later set out for a second raiding and circumnavigation trip but was not as fortunate and died at sea at the age of 31.

Volta do mar

Volta do mar, volta do mar largo, or volta do largo (the phrase in Portuguese means literally turn of the sea but also return from the sea) is a navigational technique perfected by Portuguese navigators during the Age of Discovery in the late fifteenth century, using the dependable phenomenon of the great permanent wind circle, the North Atlantic Gyre. This was a major step in the history of navigation, when an understanding of winds in the age of sail was crucial to success: the European sea empires would never have been established had the Europeans not figured out how the trade winds worked.

Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga, 1st Marquess of Villamanrique

Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga, 1st Marquess of Villamanrique (Spanish: Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga, primer marqués de Villamanrique) (d. 1590, in Spain), Spanish nobleman and the seventh viceroy of New Spain. He governed from October 17, 1585 to January 26, 1590.

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