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Forum LockedNao de China / The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade

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Jalisco Lancer View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14-Dec-2005 at 17:01
The Manila Galleons were Spanish galleons that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco in New Spain (now Mexico). Service was inaugurated in 1565 and continued into the early 19th century. The Mexican War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars put a permanent stop to the galleons. Though service was not inaugurated until almost 60 years after the death of Christopher Columbus, the Manila Galleons constitute the fulfillment of Columbus' dream of sailing west to go east to bring the riches of the Indies to Spain and the rest of Europe.




[edit]
Discovery of the route
The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade began when Andrés de Urdaneta, sailing in convoy under Miguel López de Legazpi, discovered a return route from Cebu to Mexico in 1565. Attempting the return, the fleet split up, some heading south. Urdaneta reasoned that the trade winds of the Pacific might move in a gyre as the Atlantic winds did. If in the Atlantic, ships made a wide swing (the volta) to the west to pick up winds that would bring them back from Madeira, then,he reasoned, by sailing far to the north before heading east, he would pick up trade winds to bring him back to the west coast of the New World. Though he sailed to 38 degrees North before turning east, his hunch paid off, and he hit the coast near Cape Mendocino, California, then followed the coast south to Acapulco. Most of his crew died on the long initial voyage, for which they had not sufficiently provisioned.

By the 18th century it was understood that a less northerly track was sufficient, but galleon navigators steered well clear of the forbidding and rugged fogbound California coast; "they generally made their landfall well down the coast, somewhere between Point Concepcion 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." (Shurz in SHQ)

The first motivation for exploration of Alta 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 the later 18th century several Manila Galleons put in at Monterey.

[edit]
Spice trade
The trade served as the fundamental income-generating business for Spanish colonists living in Manila. A total of 110 Manila Galleons set sail in the 250 years of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade (1565 to 1815). Until 1593, three or more ships would set sail annually from both ports. The Manila trade was becoming so lucrative that the merchants of Seville petitioned Philip, complaining of their losses, and secured a law in 1593 that set a limit of only two ships to sail each year from either port, with one kept in reserve in both Acapulco and Manila, to control the trade with the exception of an armada, an armed escort. With such limitations, it was essential to build the largest possible galleons, which were the largest wooden ships ever built in Spain. In the 16th century, they averaged from 1,700 to 2,000 tons, were built of Philippine hardwoods and might carry a thousand passengers. The Concepcion, wrecked in 1638, was the largest Spanish ship built up to her time - between 140 and 160 feet long and displacing some 2,000 tons. Most of the ships were built in the Philippines and only eight in Mexico. The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade ended when Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, after which the Spanish crown took direct control of the Philippines which became manageable in the mid 1800's upon the invention of steam power ships and the opening of the Suez Canal that reduced the travel time from Spain to the Philippines to a 40 day period.

The galleon carried spices transshipped from the Spice Islands to the south and porcelain, ivory, lacquerware and processed silkcloth from China and Southeast Asia, to be sold in European markets. Until Japan closed its doors in 1638, there was some trade with Japan as well. The cargoes were transported by land across Mexico to the port of Veracruz on the Caribbean where they were loaded onto the Spanish treasure fleet bound for Spain. This route avoided the long and dangerous trip across the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope, a route that was barred by the Dutch, once they were in control of the Cape Colony. 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.

Europe longed for Chinese wares, but China was quite self-sufficient. The only product that Chinese markets really sought was the American silver from Zacatecas and even from Potosí which would be shipped to Acapulco to be transshipped to Manila. It is estimated that as much as a third of the New World silver was going directly to China by this route. It took four months to sail across the Pacific Ocean from Manila to Acapulco, and the galleon was the main link between the Philippines and the viceregal capital at Mexico City and thence to Spain itself. Many of the Spaniards in the Philippines were actually of Mexican descent. In fact the Hispanic culture of the Philippines is strongly resembles of Mexican culture. Even when Mexico finally gained its independence, the two nations still continued to do trade except for a brief lull during the Spanish-American war. The Manila galleon continued to build the economy of Spain in the Pacific region continuously bringing its rich culture and diverse knowledge in Latin America and other parts of the world (notably Portugal and Spain) which was possible through the Manila galleon sailing across the Pacific for almost three centuries.

The wrecks of the Manila galleons are legends second only to the wrecks of treasure ships in the Caribbean. In 1568, Legazpi's own ship, the San Pablo (300 tons), was the first Manila galleon to be wrecked en route to Mexico.

source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galeón_de_Manila

Edited by Jalisco Lancer
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2006 at 22:23

It was through this Galleon trade that the Philippines & Mexico developed a similar cultural and historical heritage.

____________________________________________________________

"In a way, you could say that the Philippines-Mexico trade routes were the forerunners to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and the European Union (EU)," Orros told The Herald in a recent interview at his embassy.

For more than 250 years, a small fleet of Spanish vessels - known in Mexico as the "Nao de la China" - made the 9,000-nautical-mile trek between Mexico and the Philippines, constituting the most important trade route to the East for the Iberian crown.

And it wasn´t just Philippine goods that were being transported.

Although the Philippines provided some products to be shipped to the New World, it was primarily spices and other items from the "Spice Islands," as well as silk, porcelain, gold, ivory, gemstones, jade, mercury and other valuables from China which made the Manila galleon trade so lucrative.

Wares from Japan, India and parts of Southeast Asia also made their way to first to Manila and then on to Mexico.

"The route represented a vast regional trade bloc," Orros said. "When we realize today just how vital the Philippines-Mexico route was to global trade at that time, it is easy to understand how closely linked the histories of our two countries really are."

Even that uniquely Mexican historical icon the "China Poblana," who was supposedly brought from the East as a slave during the early 1600s and captured the hearts of the people of Puebla because of her kind acts and extraordinary mode of dressing, was in fact a Filipino noblewoman who came to Mexico on a Nao galleon.

Likewise, Orros said Mexican and Filipino history are closely linked by a spiritual connection between the Philippines´ most important hero and patriot José Rizal and the revolutionary insurgents that freed Mexico from Spanish rule in the early 1800s.

"Rizal never in fact set foot on Mexico soil," Orros said, "but clearly he and many other Philippine political thinkers were influenced by the Mexican example to cast off Spanish domain and the Mexican nationalist fervor."

Even linguistically, there is a correlation between the Philippines and Mexico, he said.

"Our native language, Filipino (also known as Tagalog) has over 10,000 words with Spanish roots," he said.

"Moreover, as of 1935, the Virgin of Guadalupe is our country´s official patron saint, which means that each year, hundreds of Filipinos come to Mexico to pay homage to the Blessed Mother."

Another interesting historical tie between the two countries took place during the Second World War, when the only Mexican servicemen to participate in the conflict, an elite squadron of air force pilots known as the Escuadrón 201, was sent by Washington to back Allied Forces.

Originally, Orros said, the squadron was slated to go to Italy to support U.S. troops, but after then-President Manual Ávila Camacho spoke to the pilots, he asked his American counterpart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to instead send them to the Philippines, "where they could fight side-by-side with their Filipino brothers."

Although only a handful of those brave pilots are still alive today, the Philippine government considers them national heroes, and in November of 2004, they were personally decorated by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during an official visit to Mexico City.

"I am working to try to arrange for the surviving squadron members to visit the Philippines as guests of our government," Orros said, "but because they are now quite old, we have to consider their health and whether such a long trip is feasible or advisable."

Meanwhile, the ambassador is diligently waging his own battle to revitalize the spirit of trade that first defined Philippine-Mexican relations.

"I think that with the close friendship that has always existed between our countries and the constant intertwining of our histories, we can regenerate the old trade connections," he said.

"Today, the figures for our combined bilateral trade are not very encouraging, amounting to about US$340 million in 2004."

Admittedly, Orros said, there is a considerable overlap of products being produced and exported by Philippine and Mexican manufacturers.

However, the nations could become important partners in terms of shipping routes, he said.

He added that he would like to see more bilateral investment cooperation.

The Mexican cement giant Cemex already has long-term direct investments in the Philippines to the tune of nearly US$1 billion, and a Philippine firm has holdings in a Veracruz shipping service.

To help jumpstart trade and investment, Orros said that a Philippine-Mexico Business Council was established in 1996, and as a consequence, there are plans for an exchange of commercial delegations sometime later this year.

Further down the road, he said he would like to see a "special trade agreement" between the Philippines and Mexico.

An existing, but poorly utilized, cultural and academic agreement is also up for review in 2006 by a joint commission which Orros said could galvanize two-way cooperation in the these fields.

"The problem in the past has always been money," he said. "It is great to think up wonderful, elaborate projects, but unless you have the resources to carry them through, there isn´t a lot going to get done. What we need to do is find projects that are doable."

The ambassador has also worked to establish sister-city relationships between Philippine and Mexican towns.

In the end, Orros said that the renewal of Mexican-Philippine cooperation is inevitable.

"Destiny has repeatedly brought our two countries together, and I am sure that it will happen again," he concluded.

"We share a common bond of friendship and history, and all we need to do now is build on that to create a new Mexico-Philippines commercial link that will be as strong and as globally influential as the Nao galleon routes were 400 years ago."

source:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jun-2006 at 18:05
How was the Pacific route to the East a reflection of the enormous advances the Iberians had made in trans-oceanic navigation since 1500?
 
How about their ships; their ability to defend themselves and force themselves against hostile cultures; the adaptability and endurance of the officers and crews?
 
Any thoughts?
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 05-Jun-2006 at 18:06
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jun-2006 at 17:38
    The discovery of America revolutionized the Western world of the late 15th century, and from 1492 onwards, events followed on from one another with almost breathtaking speed: Magellan and Elcano circumnavigated the world for the first time, Hernán Cortés had conquered most of the Mesoamerican kingdoms and realms while New Spain emerged as the most extensive, richest and strategically important vice-royalties in the dominions of powerful Spain. Hernán Cortés was virtually lord and master of the Mexico of the time, while his power and fortune, much to the chagrin of the emperor Charles, were comparable to those monarch. For his part, the conquistador, aware of the problems of attempting to conquer and trade with the Far East from Spain, and tired by ambition, personally financed a float which was assembled in Zihuatanejo and then placed in the hands of his cousin, Alvaro de Saavedra. This expedition put to sea on March 27, 1528, accidentally ran ashore in New Guinea and decided to return to Spain via the Cape of Good Hope.

Philip II, already on the throne by 1557, ordered the viceroy don Luis de Velasco père to fit out another fleet to conquer the Philippines once and for all; the colossal task under- taken at the port of La Navidad took seven years to complete. The vessels set sail from Acapulco, reaching the Philippines in late January of 1564. The return journey, thitherto considered impossible, began on Friday, July 1, 1565, and finally ended in Acapulco Bay on October 8 that some year.

Thus, bearing the names of Galeón de Manila, Nao de China, Naves de la Seda and Galeón de Acapulco, these ships were used to conduct trade, transporting the merchandise which, accumulated from various remote oriental areas in Manila, was destined for the port of Acapulco, While goods from the lberian península and the vast territory of New Spain would be distributed throughout the Orient, particularly China, which was supplied with wares from the capital of the Philippine governorship.

Due to the economic importance that Acapulco had acquired, the viceroy Fernández de Córdoba commissioned the engineer Adrián Boot to build the defense of this coveted port, which all the pirate fleets of the time held under constant threat of attack. On April15, the brand-new, five-sided fort, was inaugurated and named San Diego in honor of the viceroy, but its height and orientation made it the perfect target, as a result of which it received .its fair share of cannon fire.

In 1776, Acapulco was so severely damaged by an earthquake that the fortification had to be rebuilt from scratch. The new building, designed as a regular pentagon this time, was completed in 1783 and re-christened San Carlos in honor of the King of Spain. However, due to the unpopularity of the then monarch, Charles IV, the fortification continued to be known by its former name.

In 1810, the Independence movement broke out and New Spain entered a long period of instability. Thus, when the Magellan galleon arrived in December 1811, in the midst of on unexpected military conflict that prevented it from unloading, it was forced to sail for the port of San Blas, Nayarit, where its cargo was sold, albeit slowly, although on this occasion, the vessel would return with its hold virtually empty. The return of the Magellan to the Philippines in 1815 marked the official end of one of the most extraordinary maritime adventures of all time.

In the light of the analysis of subsequent events, everything would seem to indicate that trade between the two countries continued, albeit to a lesser extent, and under a different name, and no longer using galleons but other more modern means of transport.

Source: Tips Aeroméxico # 5 Guerrero / autumn 1997
http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/english/historia/colonia/detalle.cfm?idsec=2&idsub=13&idpag=1187
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ikki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jun-2006 at 17:53
Pike, this book had a complete study about that questions, althought don't say good things about the spanish LOL : "The Manila Galleon" by Shurz, William Lytle
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2006 at 08:58
Jalisco:
 
How much did the trade of the East impact Mexico?  It seems it was more secure from other nations' attacks as it was safer for Spaniards to cross the Pacific than to use routes that were full of Englismen and Dutch.
 
What results were there from the trade of the East in Acapulco and the rest of Mexico?  Who were the beneficiaries of the commerce?  New Spain?  Private merchants?  Did the King get a cut?
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 08-Jun-2006 at 09:00
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2006 at 17:48
    


   The expedition that departured from Mexico to conquer the Philipines departured from Barra de Navidad, Jalisco.

   Acapulco was selected as the port to receive the trading ships from Asia. The fort os San Diego was built to protect the port agaisnt the pirates.

   Native mexicans, mestizos and spaniards got mixed with the Philipines and around 10,000 philipines moved to the Mexican Pacific coast mixing with the new spaniard population.

   The trade route crossed all the way the south mexican pacific to Mexico City and from there to Veracruz to move the goods from Asia to Cuba and Spain.

   Another mexican port was established in Jalisco, San Blas. As an alternate port for trading.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2006 at 22:40
[QUOTE=Jalisco Lancer]     Magellan and Elcano circumnavigated the world for the first time
 
Fernando Magallanes wasn't able to circumnavigate the world, because he died in the Philippines during the epic Battle of Mactan. It was only Sebastian El Cano who first circumnavigated the world.
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