Published In

Oregon Historical Quarterly

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018


Oregon -- History, Indians of North America -- First contact with Europeans -- Oregon, Spain -- Commerce -- Pacific Area -- History


From 1565 to 1815, Manila galleons such as the Santo Cristo de Burgos — the ship now thought to be the seventeenth century “Beeswax Wreck” that sank or ran aground near Nehalem Spit in Oregon — followed a 12,000-mile route from the Philippines through the stormy North Pacific, sometimes passing parallel to what is now the north Oregon coast, before reaching their destination in Acapulco, Mexico. The galleons were a central part of Spain's complex international commerce system, transporting people and Asian goods around the world. In this article, Cameron La Follette and Douglas Deur discuss the Spanish empire and the Manila galleon trade; tempestuous seas and hazardous weather conditions that likely led to the ship's demise; oral traditions of the Native peoples who encountered the shipwreck and its survivors; and the Euro-American interpretations of that oral tradition that fueled treasure-hunters' speculations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


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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