Discovered historic documents show the small Pacific island of Guam was one of the first Spanish & Philippines-made galleon’s ports or repair spots after 1530s A.D.
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first sea captain to sail around the world in 1520-21s A.D. and the first to discover the Philippines was the closest port to the Far East treasures from the New World or the Americas. Magellan’s diary, actually, first called the Pacific Ocean “peaceful” or “Pacifica”?
Spain was the first European nations to capitalize upon this fact around 1530s. Spain commissioned galleons to be built & haul Inca silver and Aztec gold ingots or coins (pesos) from Spanish Pacific sea ports in South American and Mexico to Manila, Cavite, Cebu City, and Palau in the Philippines to trade for Far East’s silk, spices and gems. However, Spanish ships did not know how to return to Mexico and then the Caribbean Sea & back home to Spain directly?
A historic document shows Guam was a new port large enough to welcome galleons in large Pacific Ocean. The Spanish merchant galleons were a mere 200 tons in weight; whereas Queen Isabella’s new Philippines-made galleons hauled 2000 tons of treasure. Reportedly, Mexico and Philippine’s crews took six month to build a new galleon ship.
How many sunken galleons exist in Pacific now is a million dollar question. The Caribbean has been legendary for sunken galleon treasures in recent years. Guam’s galleon port, near China & west of the Philippines, must have been used from 1530s to around 1768 or around 230 years!
In 1565, Spanish Captain Lopez de Legazpi found favorable trade winds to carry galleons from China back to the Americas all across the Pacific and back to existing Mexico ports. The Far East treasures could be unloaded in Acapulco and land freighted over the mountains for shipment directly back to Spain via the Caribbean Sea.
In 1578-79, English Pirate Francis Drake very lucratively looted galleons along North America’s Pacific coastline. After an 8-9 month voyage all across the Pacific, many Spanish galleons were abandoned by the time they crossed and beached or stranded themselves along our Oregon coast. A Spanish Galleon sunk in 1690 off Guam, the “Nuestra Senora Del Pilar” has been discovered the last few years and divers are actively taking treasures from this ship!
On February 24th, 1769, a Spanish letter surfaced showing the Guam port had maintenance costs of “32,000 pesos a year” and this archived letter advocates finding new galleon ports in Northern California or “New Spain” This Spanish letter was bad for Guam’s future economy; but good for Heceta Head’s discovery on a Spanish map.
Galleons were heavy maintenance sailing ships due to their huge size. “Careening” alone was ideally an every six- month process of dry docking and scraping off hull barnacles and other wood boring sea life. One could dangerously steer the ship into shallow water and partially scrape hulls listing to one side; but this process was very ineffective at best.
1775, Spanish Captain Bruno Heceta set out to map the “Alta California” coast line officially to look for new galleon ports to hide galleons in North America from potential pirates attack problems. According to Wikipedia.com, “The Spanish claim to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest had dated back to a 1493 papal bull (Inter caetera) and rights contained in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. These two formal acts formed the basis of Spain’s claim of the exclusive right to colonize all of the Western Hemisphere (excluding Brazil), including the exclusive rights to colonize all of the the west coast of North America. Confident of their claims, the Spanish Empire did not explore or settle the northwest coast of North America in the 250 years after Balboa’s claim. By the late 1700s, however, learning of Russian Empire and British arrivals along the Pacific coast, Spain finally grew sufficiently concerned about their claims to the Pacific Northwest and set out to learn the extent of the Russian and British encroachment.”
Bruno Heceta’s diary was top secret during this 1770s times; but today Bruno Heceta is now credited with discovery of the documentation or mapping of Heceta Head, the Columbia River outlet and the foggy port of San Francisco Bay –all in 1775.
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