The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 21
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Acapulco and the Manila Galleon 21
the south it is protected from the sea by a wooded peninsula of
moderate height, which shelters the anchorage. Towards the east
the view extends over the harbor and the peninsula which sepa-
rates it from Puerto Marques and the open sea.""
Acapulco itself was of no importance except as the terminal of
the Asiatic galleon line and of a southerly coastwise trade of les-
ser consequence. "As for the City of Acapulco," says Gemelli
Careri, "I think it might more properly be call'd a poor Village
of Fishermen, than the chief Mart of the South Sea, and Port for
the Voyage to China; so mean and wretched are the Houses be-
ing made of nothing but Wood, Mud and Straw."'" By 1598
there were 250 houses of various kinds in the town,17 the majority
of which could scarcely have been more than huts or cabins.
Among the public or religious buildings were the Contaduria, or
headquarters of the treasury officials, a "cathedral," or parish
church, a Franciscan convent, and the Hospital of San Juan de
Dios. However, none of these were imposing edifices, though the
religious establishments were bountifully supported by the piety
of those who had survived the galleon voyage or the inclemencies
and risks of the journey from Mexico. To the northeast of the
town was situated the Castle of San Diego, which protected the
town and the anchorage ground of the galleons from the incur-
sions of foreigners. During most of its history there were
mounted on its bastions some forty or more brass cannon of large
bore.7s But, whatever its actual strength, it had almost as for-
bidding a reputation among the enemies of Spain as did the
formidable works of Cartagena and San Juan Ulua, and it at
least fulfilled its function more effectually than did either of those
The ordinary population of Acapulco consisted of Indians and
Orientals, and of mestizos and mulattoes of every possible degree
of miscegenation. This nondescript lot were generically classed
"Voyage autour du monde sur la frigate la Venus, pendant les anndes
1836-1839, (Paris, 1841), II, 201.
"Churchill, Voyages, IV, 502.
10 ficiales reales to the, King, April 12, 1598, A. de I., 60-4-30.
"Germelli, in Churchill, op. cit., pp. 503-4. In the latter eighteenth cen-
tury the castle contained over 80 guns.
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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/m1/29/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.