The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 23
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Acapulco and the Manila Galleon
air more stagnant, and the existence of man more painful at Aca-
pulco, than at Vera Cruz.""23 Sim6n de Anda said that Vera
Cruz, which was never famed for salubrity, was a paradise in com-
parison with the "abbreviated inferno" of Acapulco, with its "heat
and its venemous serpents, and the constant trembling of the
earth."24 He calls it the "sepulcher of Mexicans and Filipinos."
"All the treasures of this world," he declared, "could not compen-
sate for the necessity of living there or of traveling the road be-
tween Acapulco and Mexico." In 1598 the royal treasury officials
wrote to the moribund old King of the hardships of existence in
a "hot and sickly land, where one lives with great risk to his
health,""2 and eight years later Juan Rodriguez de Salamanca
petitioned to be "freed from the captivity" of serving as royal
factor in this unwholesome port.20
Lafond de Lurcy writes of Acapulco, "this city so famed in
the annals of commerce": "It is quite probable that this place,
when it was the entrepot of the treasures of Mexico and of the
Indies, saw as much wealth pass through it as did Genoa or Venice.
However, not the least vestige of all this remains. Now one sees
only the most paltry village. . . . In the time of its greatest
prosperity it counted 4000 inhabitants, and this figure reached
12000 at the season of the arrival of the galleons.
"The climate is frightful: a sky of bronze, a stifling heat, and
no motion of the air. There is nothing to compensate for this
desolate picture. The land, except for some trees about the houses.
is stricken with sterility. There are neither streams, nor grass,
"3He says that bilious fevers and the cholera morbus were rampant at
Acapulco, as yellow fever was at Vera Cruz. The air was poisoned by
the miasmatic exhalations from a marsh near the town. The annual dis-
appearance at a certain season of the water in this swamp caused the
death of great numbers of fish, whose putrefaction diffused noxious emana-
tions through the air about the town. An anusually sudden and low drop
in the temperature in the latter >part of the night was also very danger-
ous to the health of those who were not acclimated. Ibid.
2'4Anda to Arriaga, July 7, 1768, A. de I., 108-3-17. Anda preferred Val
de Banderas or Chacala to Acapulco. Of the former region he said: "It
is a country abounding in everything. It has good climate. good water,
and plenty of wood, while the road thence to Mexico, for 150 leagues, can
be travelled in a carriage, and through the thickest populated and most
flourishing part of New Spain."
"0 ficiales reales, op. cit.
"Rodriguez to the King, January 7, 1606. A. de 1., 60-4-30.
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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/m1/31/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.