The Fate of the Santa Margarita

The Disastrous Voyage of the Santa Margarita

The Disastrous Voyage of the Santa Margarita by Richard Woodman

The Santa Margarita was a Manila Galleon and one of the largest sailing vessels in the world. When it left the Philippines for Mexico on 13 July 1600, due to the greed of her commander General Jan Martinez de Guillestigui (said to be a cruel, incompetent and arrogant tyrant), she was badly overloaded, with cargo of gold, gems and other artefacts crammed into every empty space and piled on deck. She also had 300 passengers on board. Thus she  was badly unstable, with the essential ropes obstructed, and only inexperienced crew would join the ship.

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