Contemporary Historians Series - Mysteries from the Lost Galleon: The Manila Galleon San Filipe, 1573-1576
Now in its third season, the Contemporary Historians at the Presidio series features nationally renowned historians exploring themes in American and world history. The Contemporary Historians series is part of the Presidio Heritage Program, which offers immersive, informative, and emotionally engaging experiences revealing the Presidio’s rich and ever-evolving history.
Edward P. Von der Porten
Mysteries from the Lost Galleon: The Manila Galleon San Filipe, 1573-1576
The fate of the galleon San Felipe, lost without trace on its journey from Manila to Mexico in 1576, was recently revealed through a dozen expeditions to a shipwreck site in Baja California and the study of newly available documents. Discovery of the shipwreck has enabled remarkable insights into the Chinese-Philippine-Mexican trade undertaken by the Manila galleons (1573-1815) -- the ships that completed the dream of Columbus. Von der Porten helped develop a bilingual traveling museum exhibit titled Treasures of the Manila Galleons, which uses material from the wreck to reach a wide range of audiences. This illustrated presentation recalls the San Felipe’s saga, shows how she was rediscovered, and describes recovered porcelains and other artifacts.
Edward Von der Porten is a researcher of maritime subjects including pre-Viking through 18th-century shipbuilding, Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, Francis Drake’s California encampment, early Manila galleon wrecks, and the World War II German Navy. He is a consultant to the National Geographic Society on nautical archaeology, a former Director of the Treasure Island Museum (Navy / Marine Corps / Coast Guard) and a life-long educator. Von der Porten’s publications include a book on the German Navy, an article on the Hanseatic League in National Geographic magazine, a book on Drake in California, numerous technical reports and articles on maritime and archaeological subjects, and three text books. A native of Brooklyn, he graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in history at San Francisco State University.
(Photo by Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle)