HomeManilavol. 7 no. 1 (2011)

From Manila to Frontier California: Asian Goods Supplied to California presidios

Veronica A. Dado

Discipline: History



In frontier California, presidios were walled outposts that guarded New Spain’s conquered lands from foreign attacks or Indian uprisings. In today’s outposts, archaeologists move the soil, patiently sifting to look beneath for every fragment of porcelain, pottery or bead. To those who patiently record them, these broken pieces speak of Chinese kilns in distant continents, of exotic goods to be desired, of Spanish galleons laboring for months across the Pacific. The presence of Asian goods at the presidios of California was primarily due to the galleon trade or the annual exchange of goods brought by galleons that sailed from Manila, Philippines, to Acapulco, Mexico.