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Van Spilbergen at the town of Acapulco


Van Spilbergen at the town of Acapulco

On the 21 of August 1615, the five ships of Joris van Spilbergen’s expedition continued northwards after capturing the Spanish town of Paita. The expedition was passed unseen by a squadron of Spanish ships, including the Jesus Maria. Van Spilbergen then sailed to Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica to restock on supplies. He missed an opportunity to intercept a Spanish ship on the 27th of August at Cabo Santa Elena at Costa Rica, which was heavily laden with spices and gold, though Van Spilbergen could not know this at the time. A pursuit was fruitless and the ship escaped. The expedition then continued to search for Cocos Island, but failed to located it and encountered bad weather for many weeks. Finally, in early October the expedition finally reached the city of Acapulco in Spanish Mexico. In contrast to most encounters with Spanish cities, the expedition had very friendly relations with the governor of Acapulco and acquired many of the much-desired supplies it sorely needed in exchange for prisoners held by Van Spilbergen.

The image shows the events at Acapulco. A. is the Dutch fleet and a captured Spanish vessel that kept watch outside the bay. B. is the first meeting of the expedition with the governor of Acapulco, in which they show their peaceful intentions with a white flag. C. Are Spanish prisoners that are being freed. D. is a group of donkey that brought fresh supplies from the Spanish. E. Are livestock that are brought to the ships. F. is the castle of Acapulco, which is garrisoned and has heavy canons. G. is the church or monastery. H. is the city Acapulco. I. is a “wondrous fish” captured along the coast. K. Are some horsemen which were seen by the Dutch and which brought them some more supplies.

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Sources and literature

J.C.M. Warnsinck, De reis om de wereld van Joris van Spilbergen, 1614-1617