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Ship type



A storm


Sebastián Rodriguez Cermeño

Shipwreck zone

Norte de la Bahía de San Francisco, San Fracisco, California

Port of departure

Manila (PHL)


Acapulco (MEX)


Eastern ceramics, gold bullion, silver ingots, wax , and silk

Most of the Spanish shipwrecks in U.S. waters are located on the Atlantic coast or in the Gulf of Mexico. Very few shipwrecks have occurred in North American Pacific waters due mainly to the fact that maritime traffic in this area was much lower. The largest fleets, those of Tierra Firme and Nueva España, did not sail this Ocean, so the only shipwrecks in the area are from ships that belonged to the early explorers of the coast of California or those that, after the discovery of the return route in 1565, followed the route of the Manila Galleon, which linked this Philippine port with Acapulco, in Mexico.

This was the case of the 130-ton galleon San Agustín, manned with 83 men, and commanded by Portuguese captain Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño. The ship sailed on July 5, 1595 from the port of Manila, charged with two missions. One was to transport goods from the Orient, such as Chinese porcelain, wax or silks, to the port of Acapulco, where they were to be unloaded and carried by land to the port of Veracruz. The other was to inspect the west coast and look for places that offered shelter and safe anchorage on this route.

Read the full story in “10 notable shipwrecks”