A guest post by commenter Jefe:
Manila galleons (1565 to 1815) were large Spanish ships that sailed across the Pacific between New Spain (Mexico) and the Philippines. They allowed Spain to trade with East Asia without using Portuguese trade routes. They brought the first Asians to arrive in North America after Columbus.
In 1494, after Columbus confirmed the existence of the Americas, the Pope divided the Americas between Portugal and Spain, which they interpreted as applying to the whole non-Christian world. In effect, this gave Portugal the trade routes of the Indian Ocean, while Spain got any it discovered in the Pacific Ocean.
In 1521 Magellan discovered a westward route, catching the Pacific currents that go west along the equator. In the Philippines on the island of Cebu, Magellan commanded local chieftains to provide him with food and to convert to Christianity. Lapu-Lapu fought back and killed Magellan and most of his men. Only 18 made it back…
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