The Southeast Asian Galleon Trade: A process towards a re-assessment of human-environment interaction

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The Southeast Asian Galleon Trade: A process towards a re-assessment of human-environment interaction


In 1939, William Schurz published ‘The Manila Galleon’ that has been considered a seminal work in maritime history (in the English language). In it, he proposed the shipping route of the galleon trade in the Pacific Ocean during the 16th to 19th centuries. The directional flow of goods were purported to enter eastern Southeast Asia through the Philippine archipelago at the San Bernardino Strait. The same strait was also used as the exit point by the galleons that travelled northeast out of East Asia and east bound across the Pacific. This paper will reconsider Schurz’s hypothesis with input from up to date analyses based on environmental data. Our results are displayed in layers on digital seascape in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) format? These layers include detailed water-surface topography (small islands, atolls, reefs) as well as the dynamic atmospheric and oceanic environment. The data for these layers were gathered from accessible online datasets generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These datasets were then reconfigured into algorithms and models for use in a set of geovisualizations using GIS and Google Earth. This is overlaid with Schurz’s hypothesized historic shipping route. The results are a comparison of human-environment interaction and a re-assessment of a 75 year old hypothesis.


Jennifer Craig
Carl Hughes, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)





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