VOL. XXI OCTOBER, 1917 No. 2
The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views expressed by
contributors to THE QUARTERLY
THE MANILA GALLEON AND CALIFORNIA
WILLIAM LYTLE SCHUIRZ
Though their eastern course lay off its coast for so long, the
Manila Galleon contributed less to a knowledge of the Cali-
fornias than might have been expected. The apparent paucity
of these geographical results can be attributed to several causes.
In the first place, it was only during the earlier period of the
navigation that the customary route of the galleons lay near
enough to, the upper California coast to make any discoveries pos-
sible. For, by the eighteenth century they generally made their
landfall well down the coast, somewhere between Point Concep-
cion and Cape San Lucas. Even when they did follow the upper
coast, they kept no nearer to it than was necessary to guide their
course,--that is, to make out the more prominent landmarks.
Moreover, after the long and perilous crossing from the Philip,-
pines pilots and captains were averse to taking the further risks
involved in a close investigation of a rather rugged and forbid-
ding coast. Commenting on this anxiety to keep clear of the
coast, Diego de Bobadilla wrote in 1640: "The captain changed
his course to the south, to avoid getting caught in the land, or
in some gulf, whence he would have a hard time to get out.'
Anson also said: "As there are many islands and some shoals
adjacent to California, the extreme caution of the Spanish navi-
1Bobadilla, Relation des Iles Philippines, in Blair and Robertson, The
Philippine Islands, XXIX, 310.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/. Accessed April 21, 2015.