The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ACAPULCO AND THE MANILA GALLEON
WILLIAM LYTLE SCI-IURZ
When Andr6s de Urdaneta selected Acapulco as the American
terminal of the Philippine-American navigation,1 he chose the best
harbor on the west coast of America, with the exception of San
Francisco. Legaspi's expedition for the occupation of the Phil-
ippines sailed from Navidad, but Acapulco soon took the place of
the more northerly port. In 157 Viceroy Enriquez wrote to
Philip II: "Acapulco is coming to be the first port for the trade
with the Philippines, because of its nearness to the City of Mlex-
ico."'2 He further declared it superior to either Navidad, Gua-
tulco, or Tehuantepec. Frequent proposals were made during the
history of the galleon trade to change the terminal from Acapulco,
for which there were claimed greater accessibility to Mexico, a
superior climate, or other advantages. The most serious schemes
of this sort were for the transfer to San Blas or to Val de Ban-
deras on the Guadalajara coast. As the northwest provinces of
the viceroyalty became more thickly settled in the eighteenth cen-
tury, the movement to have the galleons put in at a northern har-
bor gained strength. Particularly was this so after the establish-
ment of the Departamento of San Blas, when the latter port had
become increasingly important, because of its position as the start-
'Fernandez Duro, Armada, II, 233. "Parece que converna [conviene]
que el astillero que estd en el dicho Puerto [Navidad] donde se hacen los
Navios para el descubrimiento y navegacion de la mar del Poniente se
mude a otro Puerto mas comodo y sano. . . . El Puerto de Acapulco
parece que tiene buenas partes, para que en el se .arme el astillero para
hacer Navios, 6 para que en el sea la carga y descargo dellos, por ser uno
de los buenos Puertos que hay en lo descubierto de las Indias, grande, y
seguro, y muy sano y de buenas aguas, y mucha pesqueria, de mucha
madera para la ligazon de los Navios, y tener a cinco, 6 seis leguas, y pocas
mas much madera para tablazon, y pinos para masteles y entenas."
Urdaneta, Derrotero muy especial . . . de la navegacion . . . desde
el puerto de A capulco d las islas de Ponienit, . . . con laa description
circunstanciada, asi del puerto de Acapulco como del de Navidad, y las
propiedades y ventajas de cada uno de ellos, 1561, Documentos indditos
. . . Ultramar, I1, 119-20.
'Enriquez to the King, April 6, 1572, A. de I., 58-3-8.
'The Queen-Regent to the Viceroy, September 18, 1674, A. de 7., 103-3-2;
the King to the Viceroy and the Audiencia, April 16, 1688, A. de I.,
105-2-3.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/. Accessed August 1, 2014.