April 28, 2010

Porcelain and artillery

The San Diego was a 16th century galleon, a three-masted trading ship built in 1590 in the province of Cebu by Spanish, Chinese and Filipino shipbuilders. It used different kinds of Asian woods and was about 35–40 meters (115–130 feet) long, 12 meters (39 feet) wide and 8 meters (26 feet) high. It had at least four decks and could hold about 700 tons of cargo.

model of the 16th century galleon San Diego


In November of 1600, the San Diego was refitted by the Spanish colonial government to help fight Dutch corsairs who were preying on ships entering Manila harbor. The battle took place in December and resulted in a draw, with one Dutch ship, the Mauritius, catching fire, and the San Diego, which was still laden with cargo and overloaded with the added artillery and ammunition, sinking.

model of the 16th century galleon San Diego


Antonio de Morga, who led the Spanish fleet and survived to write about the attack in his book Sucesos de las islas Filipinas in 1609, only mentioned that the San Diego sank somewhere south of Manila Bay.

Antonio de Morga


It was not until 1991 that the San Diego wreck was discovered off the town of Nasugbu in the province of Batangas. In 1992, the galleon was excavated with the help of hundreds of people of different nationalities and the support of the Philippine, French, German, Spanish and American governments.

diorama of the San Diego underwater excavation


To date, the San Diego shipwreck is the Philippines' most important underwater archeological discovery. Of the more than 30,000 artifacts found in the shipwreck, 5,000 are now in the Museum of the Filipino People. The artifacts include Chinese porcelain, Japanese swords, European cannons, helmets and astrolabes, and Mexican coins. Understandably, the San Diego collection is one of the museum's most extensive and important exhibits.

some of the artifacts from the San Diego displayed in the National Museum of the Filipino People

23 comments:

brattcat said...

Can you imagine a life at sea on one of these?

Jacob said...

I really love your pictorial, historical commentaries. I've really learned a lot about the Philippines from reading your blog. This is especially interesting and the photos are wonderful. What a great find and it's so nice that various countries joined together to bring up these many artifacts from their watery grave.

James said...

The model is impressive. I can just imagine what the real ship must have looked like. It's amazing that ship's tresure is found after so many years under the ocean.

Leif Hagen said...

I especially like the two top ship photos! What beauties! "They just don't make 'em like they used to" - to quote an old cliche'

Olivier said...

les maquettes sont magnifiques, surtout celle du bateau : Grandiose

Louis la Vache said...

WOW! Fantastic post, Hilda!
«Louis'» became fascinated with the sea when he was a young boy and the Andrea Doria sank after colliding with the Stockholm. About that same time, young «Louis» read Walter Lord's A Night to Remember about the Titanic - and liked that book so much he read it four times - and followed it with Capt. Ed Beach's Run Silent, Run Deep. about the Submarine Service. Excellent historical post, Hilda!

ρομπερτ said...

It seems indeed as if back then, people where having much more courage than many today.
A very interesting entry of yours. Thank you for sharing.
Please have a wonderful Wednesday.

daily athens

VP said...

You know I love this kind of post, framing the history I know with that of your country. A beautiful and powerful display for the museum and a real treasury of wares.

Kaori said...

This is so interesting! The ship was beautiful! And discovering all the artifacts years after it sunk must of been quite exciting!

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

Wow, finding of lost treasure!

Lois said...

This is fascinating to me Hilda! I love looking at the artifacts. We have a similar exhibit at a museum here from shipwrecks off the coast of Florida.

George said...

This is absolutely fascinating. I love history and I'm delighted that these artifacts have been found and preserved. The model of the San Diego is beautiful.

Gattina said...

That was really very interesting to read ! I just imagine how hard it must have been to travel so far on these boats !

Al said...

That looks like a very detailed model. When I was visiting the U.S. Naval Academy last summer they had several models like that, and they were very impressive to see. Very interesting post.

Halcyon said...

That is some model boat!! Very impressive. I'm sure it took a lot of patience.

Rob and Mandy said...

A treasure indeed! And what a good looking galleon it was!

JM said...

Beautiful galleon and terrific photos!

P.S. Funny comment you left today! :-)

P.S.2 I've just found 'The Farm' at Batangas and it looks gorgeous, maybe you know this resort just two hours from Manila: ww.thefarm.com.ph

Cezar and Léia said...

Not it's the Gulf of Aden which is infested with pirates, it seems this kind has been always present somewhere in history...
God bless you!
Cezar

AntiguaDailyPhoto.Com said...

Hilda, what a wonderful and interesting entry. Great work. Thanks for sharing.

Youth_in_Asia said...

These are the posts I live for. Fascinating bit of history and the photos illustrate it perfectly. Nice work.

Dina said...

Marine archaeology! Wow!

Amit Gupta said...

I love the way u compose your shots, I have never seen the ocean in my grown up life but I sure hope I will someday and when I do I am sure it will feel as good as visiting your blog feels....Cheers!!!

Max Rialto said...

Just to let you know I borrowed two photos of the "San Diego" for my blog for my post (http://maxrialto.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/different-truths-or-alternate-history/- I gave credit to your blog and posted a link to it also, you have great information here.

Max Rialto