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The World of the Manila-Acapulco Galleons


This illustrated scholarly book provides a concise overview of the Manila–Acapulco galleon trade, which served as an impetus to early-modern globalization. It presents this epoch from a comparative and global perspective and draws on interdisciplinary research from an international roster of scholars. Their trailblazing and original research has been skillfully integrated with the foundational studies of William Schurz, Charles R. Boxer, Lourdes Diaz-Trechuelo, Pierre Chaunu, Nicholas Cushner, William Henry Scott, John Leddy Phelan, Luis Alonso Alvarez, Leslie Bauzon, and Benito J. Legarda Jr. among others.

Much care is given to widen the galleons’ scope from the usual Spanish or Sinocentric emphasis by focusing on the daily lives of Filipinos, Mexicans, Peruvians, Japanese, and other Southeast Asian communities that participated in intercontinental exchanges. The book also eludes the usually reductive and standardized narratives of silk-for-silver or Filipino slaves-for-Spanish friars exchanges by focusing on multidimensional aspects of cultural dynamics, mestizaje (hybridity), cuisine, gender, sexuality, and shipbuilding technologies. The authors adopt a fresh approach by emphasizing the agency of the galleon trade’s ordinary participants through the surfacing of many of their haunting stories, which have been traditionally marginalized, ignored, or suppressed.

In particular, The World of the Manila–Acapulco Galleons highlights Southeast Asian, Latin American, or Pacific responses to Spanish incursion—whether collaboration, transculturation, or resistance. The study of a 250-year transpacific exchange makes for propitious reading inasmuch as these transnational dynamics have been as relevant over the past five centuries as they are today. Enriched with the most comprehensive registry of 798 galleon voyages and more than two hundred images, the book makes for a thought-provoking, relevant, and up-to-date contribution to the study of this fascinating era in world history, culture, and trade.