The Manila Galleons (Spanish: Galeón de Manila; Filipino: Kalakalang Galyon ng Maynila at Acapulco) were Spanish trading ships which for two and a half centuries linked the Philippines with Mexico across the Pacific Ocean, making one or two round-trip voyages per year between the ports of Acapulco and Manila, which were both part of New Spain. The name of the galleon changed to reflect the city that the ship sailed from. The term Manila Galleons is also used to refer to the trade route itself between Acapulco and Manila, which lasted from 1565 to 1815. The Manila Galleons were also known in New Spain as "La Nao de la China" (The China Ship) because it carried largely Chinese goods, shipped from Manila. The Manila Galleon trade route was inaugurated in 1565 after Augustinian friar and navigator Andrés de Urdaneta discovered the tornaviaje or return route from the Philippines to Mexico. The first successful round trips were made by Urdaneta and by Alonso de Arellano that year. The route lasted until 1815 when the Mexican War of Independence broke out. The Manila galleons sailed the Pacific for 250 years, bringing to the Americas cargoes of luxury goods such as spices and porcelain, in exchange for silver. The route also created a cultural exchange that shaped the identities and culture of the countries involved. In 2015, the Philippines and Mexico began preparations for the nomination of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route in the UNESCO World Heritage List, with backing from Spain.
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