Published In

Oregon Historical Quarterly

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018


Shipwrecks -- Oregon -- History, Santo Cristo de Burgos -- Cargo -- Catalogs, Spain -- Commerce -- Pacific Area -- History


Much of the debris that has washed up on the shores of the northern Oregon coast for centuries were mainstays of Spanish trade carried as cargo across the world on Manila galleons. Both Native people and Euro-Americans have recovered large beeswax chunks, lending to the lore of the “Beeswax Wreck,” as well as Chinese blue-and-white porcelain fragments. In this article, Cameron La Follette and Douglas Deur describe research findings about cargo on the Santo Cristo de Burgos and similar Manila galleons, including the San Francisco Xavier of 1705, the previous favored candidate for the Oregon wreck. La Follette and Deur located probable matches for the shippers' identities of four shipper's marks found on Oregon beeswax chunks. According to La Follette and Deur, “in addition to trade goods, the Santo Cristo de Burgos carried a cargo of liquid mercury,” which was essential for refining silver ore from South American mines used to make coins that fueled the Spanish empire and the Manila trade itself. The article contains a partial cargo list for the 1693 Santo Cristo de Burgos voyage and a special digital appendix with the full cargo manifest for the 1701 San Francisco Xavier.


This is the publisher's final PDF article as it appears in Oregon Historical Quarterly. Copyright © 2018, Oregon Historical Society. Reproduced by permission.

This article is part of a special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, that features articles on over a decade of research into uncovering the mystery of the “Beeswax Wreck.”

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