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Andalucia Galleon
« on: November 09, 2010, 10:24:20 AM »
By Rey Anthony Chiu

Most people who saw galleon Andalucia said it was huge. The Manila galleons however were enormous.

Just as Andalucia needed about 150 tons of steel and concrete ballasts to steady herself, the Manila galleons made in Cavite in the Philippines between the 16th to the early 18th century used between 500 to a thousand tons of weight to keep them manageable, according to research.

The visiting 51 meters museum-galleon Andalucia weighed around 500 tons. A Manila galleon once weighed between 1,700 to 2,000 tones and loads between 7000 to over a thousand people, an account quoted by historical researcher Dave Sandersfeld said.

16th century galleons averaged 700 tons, the size doubled to 1500 tons in the next century.

By the 18th century, galleons ranged from 1700 to 2000 tons, most of them built in Punta Cavite and these were the largest galleons the Spanish ever built out of Philippine hardwood, the researcher stressed.

The galleon Andalucia used a combination of iroko (African) word, teak and pine. Manila galleons used Philippine teak, pine, mahogany and possibly metal woods.

And why use these enormous ships?

The answer lies in the economy of loading big boats over the frequency of trips and the distance they have to cover.

While Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain in 1521, it was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi who discovered and built Manila 1565, realizing that it was already an established trading center and was a hub of trade and commerce among prime Asian states.

Well within the “Spice Islands”, Manila port was closest Spanish port to Acapulco, about 9,000 miles and a short offloading and land route from Acapulco to Vera Cruz Port on the eastern Mexico cuts huge travel time and eliminates the threat of pirates awaiting for the bulky galleons at the Magellan’s Strait.

The galleons carry Chinese silks and porcelain, furniture, Burma jade and gemstones, Manila hemps, musks, exotic spices and other very valuable cargo for Spain, treasures that could lay a pirate comforts into his long retirement.

The usual ambush takes place at the strait of Magellan off the southern coasts of South America, where the galleons take on to Spain or on the coasts of the Americas.

Moreover, the areas around the Philippine archipelago seethed with Chinese, Japanese and Malayan pirates as the Dutch and English pirates waited for them at open waters.

When the galleon’s precious merchandise was an easy target for the pirates’ greed, and the galleons, but were quickly displaced by ships with much more loading space and defensive capacity, able to carry up to 50 canyons onboard.

The galleon Andalucia only had 10 defensive cannons.

In olden times, an ocean crossing galleon crew is always threatened by scurvy, epidemics, hunger, thirst, or exposure. The Andalucia comes complete with the modern amenities that a sick crew is never a problem.

Sailors of old depended on astrologers, cosmologists, cosmographic maps and experienced pilots. Andalucia crew had the comforts of a Global Positioning System that makes them virtually impossible to get lost.

As old sailors scamper on rope ladders to the crows nest and look out for shoals, reefs of sand bars, or drop sounding equipment to measure depths, Andalucia pilot need not visually navigate as he can always consult a radar system that gives him virtually everything in his finger tips.

But, whether aboard the Andalucia or on any one of the Manila galleons, the eerie feeling of a swashbuckling eye-patched pirate on a crutch and a parrot never fails to invade one’s memory. (racPIABohol)



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Re: Andalucia Galleon
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 05:47:43 AM »

The Spaniards referred the Philippines as its 'bastion' in Asia and the stepping stool for Spanish operations in Cathay (China). The Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade sent to Spain silver (from China), chinese silk, hemp from the philippines, spices, and a warm part in asia to conduct trade with the rest of the empire. This is why the Manila is considered the first 'Asian' city to be integrated into the world market. It literally was a major city , an integral one, in the boosting of the Spanish Empire's economy. The trade between manila and mexico was critical to the empire's growth in the east, and integrated the philippines extensively with the rest of the Spanish Empire, governed exclusively as part of Viceroyalty of Nueva Espana (Mexico) for almost 3 centuries.


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Re: Andalucia Galleon
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 06:47:27 PM »
That was the first thing I noticed when I first came aboard the 17th Century replica of the Galleon Andalucia on her Manila visit. Docked at Pier 13 just behind the Manila Hotel, the galleon is open for public viewing until the 9th of October; after which, she sails to Cebu and Bohol, taking the route of her ancestors from a golden bygone era.

"Would you like to go up?" referring to the crow's nest at the main mast of the galleon, asked Miguel, the press officer cum chronicler cum sailor of the Andalucia. At first I thought he was kidding, but after a few seconds of finding no hints of triviality, I responded with "...and I thought you'll never ask!"

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