TREASURE FLEETPHILIP IV, KING OF SPAIN. 1605-1665.
Manuscript Document Signed ("Yo El Rey"), 1½ pp, small folio (conjoined leaves), [Madrid?], 21 October 1650, in Spanish, on paper with printed headline dated earlier, addressed to the Viceroy of New Spain Luis Enriquez de Guzman, the conde de Alva de Aliste, giving instructions for the route that the West Indies Treasure Fleet should follow. Old central fold.
"BEGIN NORTH OF VERA CRUZ AND SAIL FROM THAT PORT TO HAVANA WITH MY SILVER AND PRECIOUS MERCHANDISE IN THE GALLEONS ... With diligence and luck they will leave ... Vera Cruz for Havana as soon as possible, and they will incorporate themselves with the galleons" (in part, in translation). A fascinating document giving royal instructions for the track of the Treasure Fleets stipulating that the Treasure Fleet sail from Vera Cruz, via Havana. Philip inherited the throne from his father in 1621, along with the management of one side of a pan-European conflict now known as the Thirty Years War. The cost of the war meant that the Spanish coffers were in continuous need of the bounty which the New World supplied. The fate of the various Treasure Fleets was vital and unsurprisingly the King took a personal interest in their fate. The convoy system was adopted by the Spanish Empire in 1566 and continued through to 1790. The protected convoy came about after the sacking of Havana by French pirates, and provided some protection from the British, French and Dutch ships based in the Caribbean who harassed the Spanish transports.
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