The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 31
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Acapulco and the Manila Galleon
was deposited in the royal storehouse until it could be sold on the
King's account. Meanwhile, on the return of the courier from
Mexico with the statement of the duties which the central con-
taduria had levied on the cargo, the compromisarios, or agents, of
the Manila shippers arranged with the oficiales reales for the lump
payment of the tax, which was assessed pro rata on the consign-
ment of each merchant. When all the goods entered on the reg-
ister and presumably comprehended within the limits of the per-
miso had been landed, the second visila was made for the purpose
of discovering if anything remained concealed on board. This
ceremony completed, the galleon was turned over to the officers
of the local maestranza, or shipyard, for the careening and repairs
which were necessary to fit her for her return voyage.
The Acapulco feria, which was opened after the termination
of these preliminary proceedings, Humboldt called "the most re-
nowned fair of the world."s Its general characteristics were
similar to those of the fairs long held at Jalapa on the other side
of Mexico and at Portobello on the isthmus. There were the same
regulated transactions between two groups of merchants-three
in the case of Acapulco-proceeding from widely separated regions
of the same empire, and the same ephemeral transformation of an
otherwise unimportant place into a city of feverish and pictur-
Although the approach of the galleon was known as soon as
a courier reached the capital from some point on the northwest
coast with news of its having been sighted or with its first pliego
of papers,"s the official proclamation for the opening of the fair
'Political Essay, IV, 71.
""We stood E. S. E. to draw near Land, and set ashore the Messenger
who is to carry the letters to Mexico. . . . Saturday 5th, in the
Morning the new Boat was Launch'd, to land the Messenger 'with the
Letters for Mexico, and Madrid. . . . but the News is known at Mex
ico by another Express sent by the Alcade of Chiamela, as soon as a
Centinel from the Top.s of the Mountains discovers a. Sail at Sea. Upon
the uncertain Tidings sent by the Alcade of a great Ship seen <at Sea,
which may as well be an Enemy, they begin their Prayers at Mexico,
which are continued till the Arrival of the Messenger 'with the Letters
from Aboard. When he Arrives all the Bells Ring for Joy; and this
Noise lasts, till a third Express comes from Acapulco, who brings the
Viceroy Advice of the Galeon Ibeing come to an Anchor in the Port."
Gemelli, op. cit., p. 498. In 1757 Governor Arandfa ordered the discon-
tinuance of the "inveterate" custom of sending off the ship's papers from
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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/m1/39/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.