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Tondo Sultanate (Tongdo, Ytondo, Tundun, Tung-lio)

The Tondo became powerful and influential. In 1373, they visited China. Eventually, they became Muslim as Islam spread from Mindanao to the Visayas and Luzon over the centuries through warfare and subjugation. By some accounts Manila (Menila, Pásig, Pasig, Passig, Tondo) was formerly called Tondo (Tongdo, Tongdo, Ytondo, Tundun, Tung-lio), while by other accounts the two were separate jurisdictions separated by a few miles. Some sources claim that the first unified political state emerged in the Tondo dynasty around 900 BC, but others report that the Muslims introduced the concept of territorial states ruled by rajas or sultans.

Rajah Alon (1200- ?), King of Tondo and son of Lakan Timamanukum, expanded the Kingdom of Tondo by conquering neighboring territories such as Kumintang (Batangas) and Bicol. He was succeeded by his grandson Rajah Gambang. The Tondo dynasty lasted until the end of the 15th century, when the Sultanate of Brunei conquered it so as to strengthen Brunei's Chinese trade links. During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei decided to break the Dynasty of Tondo's monopoly in the China trade by attacking Tondo. It would seem that the Chinese knew of the Mohammedan settlements at Manila and Tondo prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, and must have carried on a lucrative trade with them, otherwise the pirate Li-Ma-hong would not have made such a desperate attempt to take the city so soon after its foundation in 1571.

Bellwood says there is no evidence that before the sultanates of Brunei and Sulu appeared in the late 15th century, Islam was being propagated in the Philippines. Eventually, it appears that Mindanao came under a single sultan. It was from Sulu and Mindanao that Islam was further spread by panditas and others to some parts of the Visayas and Luzon including Manila and Tondo. Muslim businessmen and missionaries brought this religion from Borneo to Manila, Tondo, and Mindoro.

It was a strange fate that made Christian Spain both the eastern and western frontier against Mahommedanism. After valiantly reconquering their beloved Spain from the Moors and proving their undying loyalty to the Catholic faith by the expulsion of the Jews and Moors from sunny Andalusia, from the thriving industries of Toledo and from the Moslem temples of old Granada itself, these crusaders of Catholic Spain scarcely had been given time to boast of the fervent orthodoxy of the Spanish nation before Legaspi, the colonizer, and Urdaneta, the priest, found the way of the Cross again blocked by the Crescent of Islam. This was when they set out from Mexico in 1568 to carry conquest and Catholicism to Spain's kingdom beyond the seas.

The land of King Philip, the Philippines, was discovered for the Christians in 1521 by Magellan, who lost his life there in a vainglorious fight with the natives. The Mahommedans were there before him. Mahommedanism, spreading eastward, had crossed India and the Malay Archipelago; then, turning northward from Borneo, had conquered the richest lands of the Philippines — Mindanao and Sulu — and was reaching out long arms for the remainder of the archipelago. By the year 1500, Islam was established not only in Mindanao but also as far as the kingdoms of Sulayman in Manila and Lakandula in Tondo.

When the Spaniards first reached the islands, from 1521 to 1565, Malay proas from Borneo cruised and traded throughout the Bisaya Islands, and there were flourishing Moro settlements and strongholds on Mindoro, Lubang, and the shores of Manila Bay. Manila, as well as Tondo, was a Mohammedan town ruled over by a Moro date.

Legaspi sailed into Manila Bay in 1570 to dispossess the Mahommedan sultan, Lacondola, who had only a short time before made himself ruler of the prosperous native village of Tondo beside the muddy waters of the Pasig. Rajah Soliman was the sovereign in Manila, but Lakan Dola ruled in Tondo over quite an extent of territory with a larger number of subjects and therefore more power than Soliman.

These dark-skinned followers of Mahomet in the Philippines were called by the Spaniards, Moros, the same name given to the swarthy Moslems of Africa in Spain. A permanent Spanish government was set up at Tondo (Manila), the sultan, Lacondola, was driven out, and the conquest and conversion of the Filipinos was undertaken by the fearless Conquistadores (conquerors) and the dauntless Spanish friars. The spread of Mahommedanism north of Mindanao was checked.

In May, 1570, Captain Juan Salcedo, Legaspi's grandson, was despatched to the Island of Luzon to reconnoitre the territory and bring it under Spanish dominion. The history of these early times is very confused, and there are many contradictions' in the authors of the Philippine chronicles, none of which seem to have been written contemporaneously with the first events. It appears, however, that Martin de Goiti and a few soldiers accompanied Salcedo to the north. They were well received by the native chiefs or petty kings Lacandola, Rajah of Tondo (known as Rajah Matanda, which means in native dialect the aged Rajah), and his nephew the young Rajah Soliman of Manila.

The sight of a body of European troops armed as was the custom in the 16th century, must have profoundly impressed and overawed these chieftains, otherwise it seems almost incredible that they should have consented, without protest, or attempt at resistance, to (for ever) give up their territory, yield their independence, pay tribute,1 and become the tools of invading foreigners for the conquest of their own race without recompense whatsoever.

By 1571 Martin de Goiti was actively employed in overrunning the Pampanga territory with the double object of procuring supplies for the Manila camp and coercing the inhabitants on his way to acknowledge their new liege lord. It is recorded that in this expedition Goiti was joined by the Rajahs of Tondo and Manila. Yet Lacandola appears to have been regarded more as a servant of the Spaniards nolens volens than as a free ally, for, because he absented himself from Goiti's camp "without licence from the Maestre de Campo" he was suspected by some writers of having favoured opposition to the Spaniards' incursions in the Marshes of Hagonoy (Pampanga coast, N. boundary of Manila Bay).

The system established by Juan Salcedo was to let the conquered lands be governed by the native caciques and their male successors so long as they did so in the name of the King of Castile. Territorial possession seems to have been the chief aim of the earliest European invaders, and records of having improved the condition of the people or of having opened up means of communication and traffic as they went on conquering, or even of having explored the natural resources of the colony for their own benefit, are extremely rare.

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Page last modified: 31-03-2012 18:56:57 ZULU