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Maynila / Ma-li-lu / Ma-Ni-Lu- / Manila / Luzon

Luzon ships were also plying the Manila, Fujian, Timor, and Malacca route during this period. By this time, the tung-yang chen-lu, the eastern route from the South China Sea to Sulu, Borneo, and the Moluccas was fairly well established.

Patanne noted that : Toward the end of the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368 AD) Ma-i / Mait is replaced on Chinese maps with Lu-sung (probably referring to Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines), which during the previous period the Ming Annals recorded (as having) sent tribute missions to China. Lu-song - Luzon sent a tribute envoy named Ko-cha-lao in 1405, as recorded in the Ming Shih.( Annals of the Ming Dynasty). In The Chinese in the Philippines, 1570-1770, historian Milagros C. Guerrero wrote: Although the Chinese lost a large part of the Philippine trade during the middle of the 14th century, at the time when the Javanese and Madjapahit empires were most powerful, they nevertheless regained the trade during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yung Lo (1402-1424).

Admiral Cheng Ho was chosen to undertake huge trade expeditions be-tween 1405 and 1433. It was during one of his voyages that the island of Luzon in northern Philippines became China's tributary state.The Ming annals mention that in the second year of his reign, the emperor sent an Admiral Cheng Ho to Luzon to establish Chinese suzerainty over the island. Some accounts claim that in 1405, an official was sent by the Ming Emperor to govern Luzon. In addition, a special revenue center was set up in Fujian province to deal with traders who plied this undoubtedly lucrative route. Cheng Hos fleet of 60 vessels thrice attempted to reduce Luzon and the neighboring islands to vassalage. However, this attempt at dominion was discontinued after the death of Yung Lo and his admiral.

Half a century passed away after Ferdinand Magellan before a new expedition was sent out to annex the island discovered by Magellan and the group known to be adjacent from information received from the crews of Magellan's fleet. The conquest of the Filipinos by Spain did not begin in earnest until 1564. The leadership was confided to Miguel Lpez de Legaspi.

On November 21, 1564 Legazpi's fleet sailed from Navidad, Mexico. There were five ships and 380 men. Legazpi reached Cebit February 13, 1565. He did not land at this time, as the natives were unfriendly, and brought him little food. For two months he sent boats from island to island to get provisions and find the best place to settle. Negros, Panay, Leyte, and Mindanao were visited. The Spaniards had several sea-fights with Moros. In Butuan they traded with Luzon boats for gold and wax. Finally it was decided to settle in Cebu. The Cebuans fled. One hundred houses were burned, either by a shot from the vessels, or because the Cebuans set fire to them.

On 08 May 1565 the fort was begun, and Legazpi took formal possession of the town in the name of Spain. He called it "San Miguel." A palisade of stakes was built, enclosing a triangular village. A church was erected. Tupas, the chief of Cebu, was much alarmed when reminded of the massacre of Magellan's men. He was promised forgiveness if he remained peaceable. In June, 1569, Juan de la Isla arrived at Cebu from Cadiz with three ships. He brought a letter from King Philip for Legazpi, ordering him to take possession of the Philippines for Spain. Legazpi was made governor of all the Philippines with the title of Adelantado.

Boats had often come with stories of the richer island of Luzon to the north. So Legazpi now determined to send an expedition to explore it. Having heard that there was a kingdom of Maynila within a few days' sail, he went in search of it and found himself in Borneo, in the Sultanate of Brunei. There he was informed that traders came down with all sorts of fine goods, including silks and other fabrics. In the flourishing sultanate of Maynila, Rajah Soliman and Rajah Matanda stoutly resisted the determined assaults of Spain to establish a foothold in Luzon.

In 1570, Legazpi captured the small Mohammedan polity of Maynila on the largest island of Luzon. On 08 May, 1570, one hundred and twenty Spaniards and fifteen paraos manned by Visayans left the River of Panay for Luzon. Martin de Goiti commanded. On 19 May 1570, they entered the Pasig River. The town was defended by a palisade of stakes, and small cannon were at the gates. Hundreds of warriors waited at the water's edge. De Goiti landed, and first met Lacandola, the chief of Tondo, uncle of Soliman. De Goiti and the two chiefs pledged their faith to each other in a blood compact.

A few days later the natives fired upon the Spanish boats without warning. It is said that Soliman fired the first cannon-shot with his own hand. The Spaniards landed at once and captured the fort. They burned the town, killing one hundred natives and capturing eighty. They found the clay and wax mold for a cannon over five meters long. The inhabitants fled up the Pasig in boats, and left Manila deserted. De Goiti, fearing that the winds would become contrary, returned at once to Panay. The battle of Manila and the formal taking possession of Luzon occurred 06 June 1570, after a bloody fight with Radja Soliman.

The day after Easter, 1571, Legazpi with twenty-seven boats and 280 men again sailed for Luzon. When the people of Manila saw another Spanish fleet coming, they burned the town, which had been rebuilt since its destruction the year before. Then they crossed the river to Tondo, and sent back the chief Alcandora to make terms with Legazpi. The Adelantado promised forgiveness and friendship. The next day Soliman and Lacandola met Legazpi and promised to be subjects of the King of Spain.

On the site of the former domain of Rajahs Matanda and Soliman, Legazpi laid the foundations of the Spanish city of Manila. The place then was desolate and in ruins. It had been put to the torch twice in the period of one year. When Lpez de Legaspi established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of the Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish foothold in the Philippines was secure, despite the opposition of the Portuguese, who were eager to maintain their monopoly on the trade of East Asia. Legaspi proclaimed Manila to be the capital of the Philippines in lieu of Ceb, which place, however, remained thenceforth an episcopal city. Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule.

It was found that the Chinese, from time immemorial, were in the habit of coming down to Manila, with the northwest monsoon, in their junks laden with Canton goods, and the natives went out in canoes to barter alongside. The Chinese would not trust themselves on land. With the southwest monsoon they returned to Cebu. Legaspi encouraged this trade, and little by little, under a more settled government, the Chinese ventured ashore. They became so numerous that they had to be specially located, and an establishment, the Alcayceria, was erected for them outside the city. It resembled a big circus, with pigeon-holes all around for their dwellings. Later on they were admitted inside the city, and the particular place allotted to them was called the Parian. The city gate there is still known as the Puerta del Parian.

Manila repulsed the attack of the Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574. For centuries before the Spanish arrived the Chinese had traded with the Filipinos, but evidently none had settled permanently in the islands until after the conquest. Chinese trade and labor were of great importance in the early development of the Spanish colony, but the Chinese came to be feared and hated because of their increasing numbers, and in 1603 the Spanish murdered thousands of them (later, there were lesser massacres of the Chinese).

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Page last modified: 31-03-2012 18:56:56 ZULU