Get ready to travel back in time and discover the Manila Galleon Wrecks of North America with the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Your guide at this virtual event on March 27 at 2:00 p.m. will be archaeologist Scott Williams. The event is presented in partnership with the Canadian Society for Asian Art. 

Large galleons built in the Spanish colony of Manila travelled between Spain and Acapulco, Mexico for 250 years from 1565 to 1815. The galleons were the largest ships of their time and carried luxury goods such as silk, porcelain and spices from Asia to Spanish colonists in the New World.

Three of those galleons were wrecked in North America:

  • the Santo Cristo de Burgos—wrecked on the north Oregon coast in 1693
  • the San Agustin—wrecked in central California in 1595
  • a third galleon that has yet to be definitively identified lies in Baja California—wrecked in either 1578 or 1586

These wrecks have been studied by archaeologists over the past two decades and Scott Williams will share the results of those investigations. Each of these wrecks is the oldest shipwrecks in its area, and the wreck in California is the oldest shipwreck on the west coast.

Scott Williams is a professional archaeologist with over thirty-five years of experience conducting archaeological research throughout the Pacific Northwest, the islands of the Pacific and Australia. Williams is currently the cultural resources program manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation, where he oversees the agency’s archaeology and history program. He is also on the board of the Maritime Archaeological Society and serves as the principal Investigator for the Beeswax Wreck Project, a non-profit project investigating the Manila galleon Santo Cristo de Burgos which was wrecked on the north Oregon coast in 1693.

Williams has collaborated over the past 14 years with the principal investigators of both the California and Baja California wrecks, has participated in multiple professional conferences on the wrecks and has published articles and books on the Oregon wreck. He has just completed an edited volume on the three galleon wrecks in North America.

Tickets for this presentation are only $5 and are free for VMM Members. If you’re a member and need a promo code to get your free ticket, email