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The Manila Galleons (Spanish: Galeón de Manila, Tagalog: Kalakalang Galyon ng Maynila at Acapulco) were Spanish trading ships that made round-trip sailing voyages once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean from the port of Acapulco in New Spain (present-day Mexico) to Manila in the Spanish East Indies (present day-Philippines). The name of the galleon changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from. The term Manila Galleons is also used to refer to the trade route between Acapulco and Manila, which lasted from 1565 to 1815.

The Manila Galleons were also known in New Spain as "La Nao de la China" (The China Ship) because it carried largely Chinese goods, shipped from Manila.

The Manila Galleon trade route was inaugurated in 1565 after Agustinian friar and navigator Andrés de Urdaneta discovered the tornaviaje or return route from the Philippines to Mexico. The first successful roundtrips were made by Urdaneta and by Alonso de Arellano that year. The route lasted until 1815 when the Mexican War of Independence ended Spanish control of Mexican ports. The Manila galleons sailed the Pacific for 250 years, bringing to Spain their cargoes of luxury goods, economic benefits, and cultural exchange.


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