A pathbreaking historian of Pacific commerce in Hispanic America, Guadalupe Pinzón Ríos is drawn to small-time regional businessmen and the native and Afro-Latino people who crewed their ships.1 If we follow the Manila galleon from Asia, we sail past Alta and Baja California, then cross to the mainland, passing Zacatula to the Acapulco terminus, and on to Guatemala in Central America. This last acted as a bridge between the Pacific and the Atlantic, where ships from Britain arrived at Jamaica. The subject of this volume are the mercantile actors who knew hidden coves linking local producers and consumers to wider imperial flows of merchandise.

Pinzón herself introduces us to Rodrigo Phelipe Medina of Guatemala who in 1692 sought a permit to trade between Guatemala and Pacific New Spain. Spain frowned upon ships sailing from Acapulco south, out of fear they would sell Asian goods for Peruvian silver, which latter...

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