Keeping freebooters and adventurers in their place, mariner Marx discusses the structure, growth and conditions of the Spanish fleets that carried New World cargoes into Old World coffers, Leaving behind the House of Trade and a merchant guild developed to deal with the enormous quantities of precious materials, the flota would proceed westward (not knowing longitudes) with a limited number of passengers highly dependent on the captains' greed to get what they paid for. In addition to the perils of any sea voyage, they had to survive strict naval rules, the mysterious fever at Nombrc de Dios (primary rendezvous), and occasionally the Inquisition. One navigator was charged with witchcraft because, with the luck of a fast current, he sailed a five-months' journey in only two. The defeat of the Armada had little immediate effect on the Spanish--they sent out another 117 ships the next year --but the lengthy period of importing goods prolonged the non-productive feudal economy and delayed emergence of a modern state. The first chapter of the Horizon pirate history discusses the fleets summarily and inaccurately; this is far more precise and extended, but needs a more self-propelled reader.