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Synopsis

During the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the transpacific treasure galleons sailed annually from Manila to Acapulco. In Manila, the vessel was loaded with the scented spices of the East, luxurious silks from China, exquisite hand crafted lacquerware from Japan and a multitude of Oriental goods that the Spaniards of New Spain longed to own. The returning galleon from Acapulco to Manila, carried as much as 2.5 million silver pesos in payment of the goods sent to the New Spain in the previous year, as well as a yearly silver subsidy of 250,000 reales for the maintenance of the colonial government in the Philippines. But while the galleons mainly sailed alone and unaccompanied from Manila to Acapulco and vice versa, they were vulnerable to a host of calamities and misfortunes. A fire on board the vessel or a terrifying storm could end the voyage and the lives of every one on the ship even before the galleon was able to reach land. Additionally, the commanders of the galleons were always threatened by lurking pirates and privateers who preyed on the vessels and coveted the treasures they carried. The book describes in detail how the galleons were attacked at sea and how they fought against enemy vessels, as well as how many of the ships sank or were shipwrecked over the years. It also covers their management, construction, manning, weaponry, navigation, daily life on the ship, provisions, cargoes and voyages. The book contains an annotated list of the galleons sailing between the Philippines and Mexico from 1565 to 1815. This informative book is the first of its kind to cover such an expansive history of the Pacific galleons which up to this point had remained largely untold.

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