The mighty Manila galleons

The Spanish galleon Andalucia, a replica of a 17th century ship, called to port in the Philippines last month, but it seems like the Spanish-made galleons dwarfed the contemporary Manila-made ones for its time.

Cannon from the Andalucia Galleon

Of Manila galleons and the Andalucia
PIA, 05 November 2010

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.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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