A Manila Galleon — the Probable Beeswax Ship – Presentation at Pioneer Museum Aug. 4

The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum’s Great Speaker Series presents a program by Cameron La Follette on Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 3:00 PM in the Main Gallery of the Museum at 2106 Second Street in downtown Tillamook. The title of the program is “Oregon’s Manila Galleon: Discovering the Crew, Cargo and History.” This presentation is the result of extensive research done by Ms. La Follette and Dr. Douglas Deur, with archival researcher Esther González, and Dr. Dennis Griffin, as well as Scott S. Williams and his archaeological team. The resulting research has been published in the 2018 Summer edition of Oregon Historical Quarterly’s special issue on “Oregon’s Manila Galleon.”


The earliest American and British fur traders and explorers to the Pacific Northwest learned from Native peoples that a large ship had wrecked on Nehalem Spit prior to Euro-American settlement of the Oregon coast. Two centuries of speculation followed. Archaeologists have now determined the ship was most likely the Santo Cristo de Burgos, a Manila galleon that left the Philippines in the summer of 1693 and was never seen again. La Follette’s independent research team then uncovered detailed archival information about the ship’s ill-fated history, including documents naming all members of its officer and crew of Basque, Spanish and Filipino men, and the passengers on board. La Follette and her team also discovered biographical information about the men’s lives, especially the Captain, Don Bernardo Iñiguez del Bayo, and tantalizing glimpses of the ship’s cargo. This talk will summarize the rich archival findings, which finally bring this Manila galleon into Oregon history. La Follette will also discuss the aftermath of the galleon wreck: a fevered century and a half of treasure-hunting centered on the Neahkahnie Mountain area, and its effects on Oregon’s cultural resources protection laws.

Cameron La Follette, M.S., J.D., has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from New York University and a Law Degree from Columbia University. She is Executive Director of Oregon Coast Alliance, a coastal conservation organization. Her book Sustainability and the Rights of Nature was published by CRC Press in 2017. A companion book, Sustainability and the Rights of Nature in Practice, is forthcoming in 2019. She is also a traditional poet, whose work is archived at the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives. In addition to writing on coastal history for such venues as Oregon Encyclopedia, her research interests include Oregon land use history and practice, early Pacific Northwest coastal exploration and shipwrecks, and the environmental effects of early commercial resource extraction in the coastal region.