The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 19
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Acapulco and the Manila, Galleon 19
ing-point for the new activities along the coast of California and
farther to the northward. In his instructions to his successor,
Viceroy Revillagigedo contended for the retention of the terminal
at Acapulco,4 but Branciforte favored San Bias, while he pro-
posed that the fair be held at Tepic.6 However, by that time the
Philippine commerce was notoriously on the decline, and Acapulco
was permitted to hold the position which she had occupied for
over two centuries by right of official inertia and her incompara-
The harbor is nearly surrounded by precipitous mountains,
whose abrupt descent on their southern side leaves but a small
shelf of land for habitation, and also accounts for its unusual
depth, which is so great that the galleon was sometimes made fast
to a tree on the shore, instead of anchoring out in the bay." The
entrance, which opens toward the southwest, is broken by the Isla
de la Roqueta, into two mouths of unequal width. The easterly
pass, known as the Boca. Grande, has a breadth of about a mile
and a half, while the other, or Boca Chica, is only about 260 yards
wide. Though the breadth of the former admits seas and winds
that would interfere with the security of vessels lying opposite
this mouth, ships find entire safety when moored in front of the
town in the sheltered inner bay, which projects to the northwest
from the main body of the harbor. Thus, the port has the ad-
bvantage of being both safe and deep.
Domingo FernAndez de Navarete, a much-travelled friar, called
it "the best and safest harbor in the world, as was duly asserted
by those who have seen many others."7 Lord Anson considered it
"the securest and finest in all the northern parts of the Pacific
Ocean."8s Malaspina, one of the most skilled of Spanish naviga-
4Instrucci6n que dej6 el Virrey de Nueva Espaa, Conde de Revillagi-
gedo, del estado de aquel Reyno d su sucesor, el Marquds de Branciforte,
June 30, 1794, A. de I., 88-5-19.
"Branciforte to Godoy, September 26, 1796, A. de I., Estado: Mexico,
""When the galeon arrives in this <port, she is generally moored on its
western side to two trees." Anson, Voyage, 227.
'Tratados hist6ricos, politicos, 4thicos, y religiosos de la monarchic de
China (1676), B. and R., XXXVII, 285.
sOp. cit. Of the size of the harbor, Dampier remarks: "The Port of
Acapulco is very ,commodious for the reception of Ships, and so large,
that some hundreds may .safely Ride there without damnifying each other."
Voyages, I, 262.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/27/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.