The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 24
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
nor flowers, nor shade (ni ruisseaux, ni gazons, ni fleurs, ni om-
brages); but everywhere extraordinary landscapes, a surface that
has been upheaved, and burned-up valleys that betray an earth
tormented by subterranean fires."27
When Duflot de Mofras visited Acapulco in 1840 he said: "The
town of Acapulco is considerably fallen from her ancient splen-
dor."28 But Acapulco was never "splendid," even during the hey-
day of her fairs. Her habitual squalidness was then only the better
set off by the contrast of the motley and picturesque concourse that
gathered to the feria and of the rich merchandise piled high in her
warehouses. When all this heterogeneous crowd went northward
into the interior with its laden caravans of mules, or westward by
the galleon to the Philippines, Acapulco relapsed into her wonted
The administrative machinery of the port of Acapulco can be
classified under three, general categories: (1) the castellan, (2)
the oficiales reales, and (3) the various subordinate officials. The
superior authority of the port was known as the castellano, or
castellan. In early times his position was that of alcalde mayor,
and as such his functions were predominantly judicial and ad-
ministrative.2" Though lie continued in the exercise of these
duties,30 with the construction of the Castle of San Diego his
office also assumed a military character, which was comprehended
within the title of castellan, or warden, of that fortress, and by
that name he is henceforth generally known. In later times he
also acted as "Deputy-Governor of the coast of the South Sea,""
"O0p. cit., pp. 89-90.
'Exploration du Territoire de l'Oregon, des Californies, el de la Mer
Vermeille (Paris, 1844), I, 144.
""Ordenamos A los virreyes de Nueva Espania, que . . . pongan en el
puerto de Acapulco, demas de los officiales reales que alli estuvieren, una
persona de mucha confianza y satisfaccion, con titulo de alcalde mayor."
Leyes, lib. 9, tit. 45, ley 74. Though this law, which was, issued in 1604,
<would appear to have established the office for the first time, a law of
1597 refers to an official with the same title at Acapulco. Ibid., ley 54.
He is moreover mentioned in official correspondence of an earlier date.
Viceroy Villamanrique to Diego de Molina Padilla, October 20, 1586, De-
pdsito hidrogrdfico, Coleccion de Navarrete, t. 18, no. 36.
j""The Castellan who is also .uslicia Mayor, or chief Magistrate."
Gemelli, op. cit.
"Ailodo que se observe constantemncnte en Mdxico, Acapulco y Manila
parn. recibir y despachar todos los aiios el Galeon de Filipinas (Cadiz,
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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/m1/32/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.