Spanish galleon routes (white): West Indies or trans-atlantic route begun in 1492, Manila galleon or trans-pacific route begun in 1565. (Blue: Portuguese routes, operational from 1498 to 1640)
The Spanish treasure fleet, or West Indies Fleet from Spanish Flota de Indias, was a convoy system adopted by the Spanish Empire from 1566 to 1790. It linked Spain with its territories in America across the Atlantic. The convoys were general purpose cargo fleets used for transporting a wide variety of items. These included agricultural goods, lumber, various metal resources, luxuries, silver, gold, gems, pearls, spices, sugar, tobacco, silk, and other exotic goods from the Spanish Empire. They were sent to the Spanish mainland. Passengers and goods such as textiles, books and tools were transported in the opposite direction. The West Indies fleet was the first permanent transatlantic trade route in history. Similarly, the Manila galleons were the first permanent trade route across the Pacific.