Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations

Making the Exotic Mundane: The Manila Galleon, the Flota, and Globalization

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For two and one half centuries, the Manila Galleons navigated the vast expanses of the Pacific laden with the highly desired exotica of Asia- spices, fine textiles, and glistening porcelain. Acapulco, the terminal port for the eastward-bound vessels was in reality the starting point for the distribution of their cargoes to the Iberian motherland and to the farthest corners of their colonial New World empire. These commodities not only captivated the imagination of Spain’s elites through conspicuous consumption, but they also would share in the transformation of peoples of all social standings into participants in the nascent global economy. By the time the trade ended that which was once exotic had become mundane. To illustrate these transformations this examination draws on archaeological and documentary evidence from shipwreck and terrestrial sites in California, Texas, Florida, Mexico, the Philippines and Spain dating from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries.


© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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SpringerBriefs in Archaeology