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On 16 March 1521 three small ships sailing westward across the Pacific raised the rugged coast of
upon him that they knocked his helmet off his head twice, but he always stood firmly like
a good knight together with some...
them and what kind of spice they have, what the selling price is of the merchandise and
trade goods you are bringing hence...
The next morning the Mono Mahomete returned with the same ambassador who
had first come. The latter bore a message from Ra...
he came up with reinforcements. But a strong offshore wind prevented the landing craft
from beaching that night, by God’s ...
Sometimes the people refuse to give what is asked; then sack the town. They also think
they have a right to sack it if the...
teach Christian doctrine to the people. In consideration of these services he acquired the right to collect
tribute in the...
Fourth Conclusion. Whatever has been collected over and above the one-third of
the tribute, or may in future be collected ...
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The Spanish Conquest 2


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Spaniards in Philippines 2

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The Spanish Conquest 2

  1. 1. THE SPANISH CONQUEST On 16 March 1521 three small ships sailing westward across the Pacific raised the rugged coast of Samar. They were commanded by Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese seaman in the service of the Spanish Crown. He had told Charles V that be would find a route for Spain past the barrier of the great American continent to the Isles of Spice. He was a almost as good as his word. He had worked his ships through the gusty and treacherous strait which now bear his name. He had driven his crews across the frightening expanse of the Pacific, where they ran out of provisions and were forced to eat rats and gnaw the very leather of their rigging to keep alive. And now they had found the Philippines, to the south of which, not too far away, were the Moluccas, source of the rare aromatic plants which in Europe were almost worth their weight in gold. Threading his way through the eastern Visayas, Magellan cast anchor before the flourishing port of Cebu. Its ruler, Raja Humabun, received him well, and at his urging became both a Christian and a vassal of Charles, King of Spain and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Did Humabun realize what it meant to be a vassal? Perhaps, for be had vassal of his own. Lapu-Lapu, Coe of the two lord of Mactan Island, was his vassal, but not a very obedient one. Magellan thought be would do Humabun a favor and at the same time impress him with a brilliant feat of arms. He decided to teach Lapu-Lapu a leason. 1 On Friday, April twenty-six, Zula, a chief of the Island of Mactan, sent one of his sons to present two goats to the captain-general and to say that he would send him all that he had promised, but that he had not been able to send it to him because of the other chief, Cilapulapu, who refused to obey the king of Spagnia… At midnight, sixty men of us set out armed with corselets and helmets, together with the Christian king, the prince, some of the chief men, and twenty or thirty balanguais. We reached Mactan three hours before dawn. The captain did not wish to fight then, but sent a message to the natives by the Moro to the effect that if they would obey the king of Spagnia, recognize the Christian king as their sovereign and pay our tribute, he would be their friend; but if they wished otherwise, they should want to see how our lances wounded. They replied that if we had lances they had lances of bamboo and stakes hardened with fire… When morning came forty-nine of us leaped into the water up to our thighs and walked through water for more than two crossbow flights before we could reach the shore. The other eleven remained behind to guard the boats. When we reached land these men had formed in three divisions to the number of more than one thousand five hundred persons. When they saw us they charged down upon us with exceeding loud cries, two divisions on our flanks and the other on our front. When the captain saw that, he formed us into two divisions, and thus did we begin to fight… So many of them charged down upon us that they shot the captain through the leg with a poisoned arrow. On that account he ordered us to retire slowly, but the men took to flight, except six or eight of us who remained with the captain… So we continued to retire for more than a good crossbow flight from the shore, always fighting up to our knees in the water. The natives continued to pursue us, and picking up the same spear four or six times hurried it at us again and again. Recognizing the captain, so many turned
  2. 2. upon him that they knocked his helmet off his head twice, but he always stood firmly like a good knight together with some others. Thus did we fight for more than one hour, refusing to retire further. An Indian hurled a bamboo spear into the captain’s face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the Indian’s body. Then, trying to lay hand on sword, he could draw it but half-way, because he had been wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear. When him on the leg with a large cutlass which resembles a scimitar only being larger. That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately they rushed upon him iron and bamboo spear and with their cutlass until they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort and our true guide. Magellan’s defeat and death changed Humabun’s attitude toward the strangers from hospitality to hostility, and they escaped massacre only by precipitately weighing anchor. Sailing west and south past Mindanao, they finally reached Tidore in the Mollucas. From Tidore, the flagship Trinidad tired to make Panama by re-crossing the Pacific. She was forced to double back and fell into the hands of the Portuguese. But the little Victoria, magnificently handled by Sebastian Elcano, got back to Spain by sailing west. The eighteen men who brought her into Seville harbor were the first to sail around the world. Between 1525 and 1542 the Spanish government sent several expeditions to make good its claim to the Moluccas against the Portuguese. Loaisa set out from Spain itself, Saavedra and Villalobos from Mexico. All three made their landfall in the Philippines, experienced little difficulty sliding down to the Moluccas, but failed to find a feasible return route across the Pacific. Villalobos, exploring among the Visayan Islands, called them, in honor of the prince who was soon to become Philip D. las Phelipinas; and the name dtuck. Philip, having succeeded to the Spanish throne, decided to concede the Moluccas to the Portuguese but to colonize the Philippines. Accordingly, an expedition of 350 men in four ships was filled out in Mexico and placed under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Set out from the port of Navidad on 20 November 1564, carrying instructions from the Audiencia’ of Mexico which set forth the objectives of the voyage. 2 You shall make it the object of your voyage to search for and discover the Islands of the West near the Moluccas but you must not by any manner of means come into the Moluccas islands themselves in order not to violate the treaty between His Majesty and the Most Serene King of Portugal. Rather, you must make for the island near them, such as the Philippines and others which do not come under the treaty referred to but are within the democration of His Majesty and are reported to be also spice- producing. With the advice of the pilots in your company you shall steer a straight course so as to reach those islands and thus fulfill the aims which His Majesty principally has in mind, namely, to make known to the natives of those parts our holy Catholic faith and to determine the return route from thence to this New Spain, in order that by trade and intercourse and other lawful means which can in conscience be employed his patrimony and royal crown of Castile may be enhanced and the spices and other riches there obtainable be brought hither… Upon your reaching the said Philippine Islands and other islands adjacent to them and the Moluccas–without entering among the latter, as has been pointed out–you shall endeavor to discover and explore what ports they have and to obtain accurate information regarding their inhabitants and resources, the character and way of the people, what trade and commerce they engage in and with nations, at what price spices are valued among
  3. 3. them and what kind of spice they have, what the selling price is of the merchandise and trade goods you are bringing hence with you, and what other articles may profitably be sold. You shall make every effort to enter into and maintain friendly and peaceful relations with the natives…informing them of the good will and affection which His Majesty bears them, giving them suitable presents and treating them as well as possible. You shall barter the trade goods and merchandise you are bringing with you for spices, drugs, gold and any other articles of value and in demand which they may have; and if the land should seem to you so well provided that you pugt to settle there, you shall found a settlement in the region and place which appear to you most suitable and where the inhabitants are most friendly, and this friendship you shall cultivate and faithfully keep. When Legazpi appeared before Cebu (27 April 1565), the Cebuanos made as though to resist him. He landed, took the town and sacked it. One of the soldiers, turning over the contents of an abandoned house, found a small wooden image of the Child Jesus, left behind, in all probability, by Magellan’s men. Legazpi thought it a good omen, and called the new Spanish settlement Nombre de Jesus. The Portuguese in the Moluccas tried to make him abandon it, pointing out that the Philippines lay, without the shadow of a doubt, within the demarcation of Portugal as a agreed upon in the Treaty of Tordesillas. But Legazpi refused to budge, and only the increasing difficulty of obtaining provisions from a barren and hostile hinterland compelled him to move his main camp to the nearby island of Panay. From there (May 1570) he sent his second in command, Martin de Goiti, to reconnoiter a seaport to the north named Maynila, about whose wealth and advantageous location he had received intelligence from traders. One of Giu’s men left us an account of how, having found the narrow entrance guarded by the island now called Corregidor, they saw it widen into a spacious protected harbor, at the eastern end of which, on a tongue of land between the Pasig River and the sea, stood the sea, stood the fortified town of Maynila. 3 The town was situated on the bank of the river, and seemed to be defended by a palisade all along its front. Within it were many warriors & the shore outside was shore outside was crowded with people. Pieces of artillery stood at the gates, guarded by bombardiers, linstock in hand. A culverin-shot from us and close to the houses of the natives were four Chinese ships. Immediately the Chinese came in their skiffs to visit the master-of-camp. They brought him brandy, hens, winnowed rice, a few pieces of silk, and knick-knacks of little value. They complained to the master-of-camp of the Moros of Menilla, saying that the latter had taken away by force the helms of their ships and the best of their good without paying for them. The master-of-camp received them kindly; but, desiring to be at peace with all, he waived that question. Then, having dismissed the Chinese, he sent the interpreter ashore to tell King Soliman that he wished to confer with him, and to make arrangements therefore. The interpreters returned quickly, and said that they would meet at the edge of the water, and that Raxa Soliman would come thither. The master-of-camp immediately landed with the Spaniards to meet him. Immediately an uncle of the ruler, who also bore the title of king, advanced with so large a following that he was though to be Soliman himself. He embraced the master-of-camp and appeared to be a man of good intentions. Soon after came the other ruler, his newphew Soliman, who was a younger man than he who first came. Soliman assumed an air of importance and haughtiness and said he was pleased to be the friend of the Spaniards but he latter should understand that they were not painted Indians. He said that they would not tolerate any abuse, as had the others; on the contrary they would repay with death the least thing that touched their honor. This speech having been made through the interpreter, the master-of- camp gratified the chief with kind words; then after they had embraced each other and made a friendly compact, the Mono entered his fort…
  4. 4. The next morning the Mono Mahomete returned with the same ambassador who had first come. The latter bore a message from Raxa Soliman to the effect that he had been informed that a tribute was to be asked of him and that consequently he would not allow the Spaniards to enter the river. The master-of-camp – as one desirous of peace and in view of the orders of the governor to make peace with the said town of Menilla–in his requested the messenger to tell his lord not to believe such reports, for hitherto he had not asked for any tribute from him. He added that they would see each other again and make a friendly settlement which would be to his taste. Then he dismissed the messenger, and he himself, after a little thought, went ashore with only the Spanish and Moro interpreters without notifying any one of what he was going to do. He entered the palisade, whose gates were guarded by many Moros, and was led by the Moros straightway to a small house, where he was bidden to await King Soliman. As soon as the latter heard that the master-of-camp was within the fort, he hastened to him, and both went to a house where they made a friendly compact after the fashion of the land, namely, in this wise: the master-of-camp drew blood with the two chiefs, uncle and nephew, both called raxa, which in the Malay language signifies king. The Moros drank the blood of the master-of- camp mixed with wine, and the master-of-camp drank that of the Moros in a similar way. Thus the friendship was established on the terms that the Moros of Menilla were to support the Spaniards who came to settle there, and ding this they should pay no other tribute. The blood compact did not allay Soliman’s suspicious that the Spaniards meant to impose rule and tribute on him, nor the Spaniards’ fears that Soliman was plotting a treacherous attack. Cannon shot from one of Goiti’s ships precipitated hostilities. The Spaniards and their Visayan auxiliaries stormed the town, which the defenders left burning. Goiti, returned to Panay to report. At his recommendation Legazpi decided to transfer his headquarters to Manila. On 19 May 1571 he took formal possession of Soliman’s town, and on 24 June gave it a city charter and a gridiron street plan which it has preserved to this day, and made it the capital of the Philippines. He died the following year and was succeeded by Guido de Lavezaris. The conquistadores, fanning out from Manila, experienced little difficulty in subjugating the unorganized clan settlements of the lowlands of Luzon. The most enterprising and successful of them was Legazpi’s grandson, Juan de Salcedo, who took for his province the Ilocos, in the northwest of the island. There, in 1574, his presence of mind saved Manila from capture by a Chinese corsair named Limahong. Here is a contemporary account of the episode by one of Salcedo’s officers; Miguel de Loarce. 4 He [Limahong] steered a course for Manila which took him past the Ilocos coast where Captain Juan de Salcedo was getting settled and where as lieutenant gover- nor he had just founded Villa Fernandina… Seeing this fleet sailing past some distance from shore and suspecting its objective to be Manila, Captain Juan de Salcedo promptly decided to go in pursuit of it, outstrip it if possible, and so alert Manila. Taking 54 Spaniards with and leaving the rest with suitable instructions, he embarked with all speed; but since his boats were small and he had to stop from to time to get a meal on shore, he did not arrive in time to give warning and save the city from injury. Nevertheless his arrival was so opportune that through him, by God’s grace, the city and the land was saved. Limahong entered Manila Bay on the eve of St. Andrew. Before he could be sighted from the city or its environs, that very night, he sent four hundred men with their officers to effect a landing, instructing them to fall upon the city before daybreak while
  5. 5. he came up with reinforcements. But a strong offshore wind prevented the landing craft from beaching that night, by God’s favor, for have taken the city. As it was, they came ashore at eight o’clock in the morning one league from Manila and on the same side of the river. Limahong came before daybreak, ranged his ship before the stockade and sent some six hundred troops ashore. They set fire to the city, so much so that some, leaping over the barrels, managed to enter the stockade, though they never got out again. And the defenders put up such a fight that they threw back the assult with 200 Chinese dead. Only two Spaniards were killed, Ensign Sancho Ortiz and Captain Francisco de Leon. No one was wounded. Seeing the valor of the Spaniards and realizing that they were a different breed of men from those with whom he had done battle up to that time, Limahong recalled his men and returned to the port of Cavite, where he tarried two days burying his dead. Then, setting sail, he made off in the direction he had come. One of Legazpi’s first cares after landing at Cebu was to dispatch a ship to seek what all previous Spanish expeditions across the Pacific had failed to find–the way back. He committed this enterprise to Fray Andres de Urdancia, the superior of the Augustinian friars accompanying the expedition. As a young man, prior to his taking the religious habit, Fray Andres had followed the sea. He had shipped on Loaisa’s expedition to the Moluccas, and was one of the few to return from it. Philip II himself called him out of his Mexican convent to join Legazpi as part chaplain, part pilot. He now took the San Pedro and steered it through San Bernardino Strait northeast until, near the 39th parallel, he came upon a region of westerly winds. They bore him to the California coast, whence it was a simple enough matter to drop down to the Mexican port of Acapulco. He had found the route by which violating the Tordesillas Line. He had made it possible to retain the Philippines as an outpost of the Spainish Empire. News now began to get to Spain of how Legazpi’s men had fared on the other side of the world. Hernando Riquel, notary of the expedition, wrote to a friend in Mexico of the way the conquest was starting to pay off. A copy of the letter found its way to Seville, and by 1572 people in the streets were reading all about it in the broadsheets which were the newspapers of the time. 5 To perpetuate these settlements, the Governor has distributed a few villages of Indians in the district of this city of Manila & a settlement has been made of what each tributary has give in the year, which is a fringed cloth four ells long and two wide (it is fine stuff of which they use to clothe themselves), and a hen; this they can give without pain. At present matters are conducted lightly with regard to them; later, when they are able to bear the yoke, they will give tribute of more importance. But Riquel did not tell the whole story, for tribute was not always extracted from the natives “without pain.” Indeed, if we are able to believe the Augustinian friars who came with the expedition, it was more often than not with pain, tears and blood that the country was–in the euphemism Philip II preferred to instead of “conquer”–pacified. 6 This is how this land and the towns thereof are being pacified. A captain with soldiers and interpreters goes to a town which is either known only by report, or which other Spaniards have already plundered. They tell the towns-people that if they want to be friends of the Spaniards they must pay tribute at once. If the people say yes, they stop to work out what each man must give, and demand that he give it immediately.
  6. 6. Sometimes the people refuse to give what is asked; then sack the town. They also think they have a right to sack it if the people do not wait for them but abandon their houses. They do all this without performing any service for them in return, without telling them for what purpose they have been sent by His Majesty, and without giving them any religious instruction… The war council consider it grounds for a just war if the natives say they do not want the friendship of the Spaniards or if they build fortifications to defend themselves. Those who do this are killed or made prisoners, and their houses plundered and burned. This is why war was waged on Betis and Lubao, and on the strongholds stormed by Juan de Salcedo, and on the town of Cainta, where the night before the battle a native who had climbed to top of a palm tree called out, “Spaniards, what did out fathers do to you, or what debt did they owe you, that you now come to rob us?” and the war in Papagan’ was no different. In all these wars the Spaniards killed many, and captures many and sold them into slavery, particularly in the Papagan war, where they say the natives challenged the Spaniards to fight. But the fact is that an all of them there was no resistance to speak of… With no more pacification than the foregoing, the land has been divided and continues to be divided in to encomiendas. An encomendero takes a number of his comrades with him to be town or towns which have been assigned to him, and this is the proclamation that he makes to them: “Understand that I am your master, for the Governor has given you to me, I will see to it that other Spaniards do you no wrong.” Most of them give no further account of themselves than this, with no mention made of either God or King. Forthwith they proceed to demand tribute, each one as much as he is able to extort, without measure… It is easy to sympathize with the conquered, compelled at sword’s point give whatever was demanded of then: but it is only fair to look at the matter also from the conquerors’ point of view. In a pathetic memorial of 1581 they laid predicament before the King. 7 We have rendered service in the conquest and pacification of these islands and their settlement some of us ten years, other twelve, others fifteen, & this with only the grant-in-aid which Your Majesty’s treasury officials of New Spain gave us for the first and only time in Mexico when we crossed over to these parts. Since this did not last us very long, owing to the many expenses we incurred in pacifying these natives, we felt free to rob them and impose on them in other ways thus burdening our consciences simply in order to support ourselves. This is why our souls are so guilt-ridden, and because we see no way of freeing ourselves from guilt in our present state of utter poverty, we live in great anguish of mind, not knowing which way to turn, realizing that the chief means by which we can assure our souls’ salvation is beyond our reach. How derive revenue from a conquered people without violating simple justice? The solution to this problem which the architects of Spanish imperial policy gradually elaborated was the encomienda. The term, derived from the verb encomendar, to entrust is almost the exact equivalent of our “trust territory.” It signified a royal grant to a deserving colonist not of property but of jurisdiction over a definite territory and its native inhabitants. By the terms of this grant the encomendero undertook the defense of his encomienda from external attack, the maintenance of peace and order within it, and the support of missionaries who
  7. 7. teach Christian doctrine to the people. In consideration of these services he acquired the right to collect tribute in the amount and form determined by the royal government. So much we may clearly read in a Philippine encomienda grant of 1598. 8 By these presents, in the name of His Majesty, I grant in encomienda to you, the said Captain Toribio de Miranda and Captain Antonio Freyle the natives of the town and encomiendas which Juan Gutierrez del Real, deceased, held on the coast of Caraga, the island of Cibabao, Catubig, Calbiga and the Mapono River with its highlands and hills, for you to hold enjoy jointly and eually, the one as well as the other, in the same manner and form as they were held and enjoyed by the said Juan Gutierrez del Real, in accordance with the law of succession regarding Indians ordained by His Majesty, with the obligation or instructing them in our holy Catholic faith to the end they might attain to a true knowledge of it, and this matter I charge your conscience and discharge that of His Majesty and mine in his royal name…and most of all I enjoin you to treat said natives well, preserving them all vexation and trouble… The first bishop of the Philippines was a Dominican, Fray Domingo de Salazar. He was a disciple of the great Bartolome de las Casas, and, like him, a resolute defender of native rights. Almost from the time he took possession of his see (1581) he waged a relentless campaign against the injustices which the colonists imposed on the Filipinos. He directed his embarrassing attentions, in particular, on the encomenderos who exacted tribute without rendering the corresponding services of defense, government and religious instruction. In 1591, he caused to be read from the pulpits of Manila twenty-five “conclusions” which he had drawn up regarding the proper administration of encomiendas. The following are the most important ones. 9 First Conclusion. Tribute may not be collected from those encomiendas where religious instruction has not been & is not being given; which desire no temporal or spiritual benefit or advantage from their encomenderos; and which, aside from exacting tribe from them, the encomenderos leave in exactly the same condition as they were before. Most of the encomiendas in this diocese belong to this class. If the encomenderos do nothing more for them than they have collected or may in future collect. The same obligation falls on those who ought and could prevent them from collecting such tribute, but allowed, agreed or permitted them to do so. .Second Conclusion, this concerns those encomiendas in which no religious instruction whatever has been or is being given, or so little of it, or for so short a time, that it is as though they never had it. If, as a result of the activity and good example of their encomenderos, the inhabitants have been pacified and gentled to the extent one may safely go about and live among them and they are disposed to receive religious instruction if someone can be found to give it to them. Then the encomenderos may rightfully collect part of the tribute, say one-third, or one-half in the case of small encomiendas, understanding by “small” those with three hundred inhabitants or less. This concession is made as a contribution to the support of the encomenderos and the expenses they may have incurred in the said pacification. Third Conclusion. Everything collected from the natives before the state of affairs describe above was arrived at must be returned by those who collected them and those who permitted their collection, as indicated in the First Conclusion.
  8. 8. Fourth Conclusion. Whatever has been collected over and above the one-third of the tribute, or may in future be collected before the provision of adequate religious instruction, must likewise be restored by those who collect them or permitted their collection. Fifth Conclusion. The full tribe may be collected in those encomiendas where adequate religious instruction has been provided, where all or most of the inhabitants are Christians, and where those who are not are such by their own choice. But it must always be borne in mind that the non-Christians may not be compelled or forced to pay tribute, but only persuaded to do so on the grounds that the services rendered are for their benefit as well as that of the rest. And even this is on the understanding that they do not positively and formally refuse to be Christians, for in that case the tribute may not be demanded of them, at least not in full; and if they give anything it must ba freely…. Twelfth Conclusion. Although encomiendas are granted to encomenderos as a reward for the services they have rendered to our lord the King, the principal aim and object of His Majesty in granting them neither was nor is nor can be merely that the natives should pay them tribute and be of services to them, but that the encomenderos, in exchange for the tribute which they collect, should acknowledge the obligation of providing the natives with teachers of Christian doctrine, of looking after them, of protecting and assisting them, of preventing their being ill treated, and of being answerable for them when necessary. It follows from this that encomiendas are and ought to be established more for the benefit of the natives than of the encomenderos, and that encomenderos cannot be called, because they are not, lords of the natives, but rather their advocates, tutors and protectors. Doubtless many of the encomenderos simply laughed at the good bishop for being an incurable idealist. But there were others who look their responsibilities seriously, and even without his urging discharged the conscience of the King. Salcedo, for instance, the first encomendero of the Ilocos, seems to have established a pattern of paternal rule which his immediate successors strove to follow. The result are summarized in a sworn statement given by a headman of the province, Don Diego Manumbo, at the Agustinian missionaries stationed there. 10 He said that from the time a magistrate and friars and clergymen were assigned to these no longer receive from one another the vexations & injuries they used to the freemen from the chiefs, the little people from the great. Indeed, they have gone steadily from good to better, and today, because there are religious in all the provinces and the magistrate visits them regularly, no one can complain of being ill treated; rather, they are for the most part at peace and contented and many of the adults, and all the children, Christian. This peace they did not enjoy before the establishment of the missions and the civil government. Then, because there was neither respect for the law nor fear of God, any warrior or chief who had a mind to do so went out on the trails and into the farms of the other natives to kill them and rob them. After the coming of so many religious and of a magistrate to these provinces this is no longer done, and people can go safely from one place to another both by land and sea. This is the true state of affairs here at present.