The invasion of the Filipinos by Spain did not begin in earnest until 1564, when another expedition from New Spain, commanded by Miguel López de Legaspi, arrived. Permanent Spanish settlement was not established until 1565 when an expedition led by Miguel López de Legazpi, the first Governor-General of the Philippines, arrived in Cebu from New Spain. Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule. Six years later, following the defeat of the local Muslim ruler, Legazpi established a capital at Manila, a location that offered the outstanding harbor of Manila Bay, a large population, and closeness to the sufficient food supplies of the central Luzon rice lands. Manila became the center of Spanish civil, military, religious, and commercial activity in the islands. By 1571, when López de Legaspi established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of a Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish grip in the Philippines was secure which became their outpost in the East Indies, in spite of the opposition of the Portuguese, who desired to maintain their monopoly on East Asian trade. The Philippines was administered as a province of New Spain (Mexico) until Mexican independence (1821).
Manila revolted 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).
The Spanish governor, made a viceroy in 1589, ruled with the counsel of the powerful royal audiencia. There were frequent uprisings by the Filipinos, who disliked the encomienda system. By the end of the 16th cent. Manila had become a leading commercial center of East Asia, carrying on a prosperous trade with China, India, and the East Indies. The Philippines supplied some wealth (including gold) to Spain, and the richly loaded galleons plying between the islands and New Spain were often attacked by English freebooters. There was also trouble from other quarters, and the period from 1600 to 1663 was marked by continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their rich empire in the East Indies, and with Moro pirates. One of the most difficult problems the Spanish faced was the defeat of the Moros. Irregular campaigns were conducted against them but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th century. As the power of the Spanish Empire diminished, the Jesuit orders became more influential in the Philippines and obtained great amounts of property.
Occupation of the islands was accomplished with relatively little bloodshed, partly because most of the population (except the Muslims) offered little armed battle initially. A significant problem the Spanish faced was theinvasion of the Muslims of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The Muslims, in response to attacks on them from the Spanish and their native allies, raided areas of Luzon and the Visayas that were under Spanish colonial control. The Spanish conducted intermittent military campaigns against the Muslims, but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th century.
Church and state were inseparably linked in Spanish policy, with the state assuming responsibility for religious establishments. One of Spain’s objectives in colonizing the Philippines was the conversion of Filipinos to Catholicism. The work of conversion was facilitated by the absence of other organized religions, except for Islam, which predominated in the south. The pageantry of the church had a wide plea, reinforced by the incorporation of Filipino social customs into religious observances. The eventual outcome was a new Christian majority of the main Malay lowland population, from which the Muslims of Mindanao and the upland tribal peoples of Luzon remained detached and separated.
At the lower levels of administration, the Spanish built on traditional village organization by co-opting local leaders. This system of indirect rule helped create in a Filipino upper class, called the principalía, who had local wealth, high status, and other privileges. This achieved an oligarchic system of local control. Among the most significant changes under Spanish rule was that the Filipino idea of public use and ownership of land was replaced with the concept of private ownership and the granting of titles on members of the principalía.
The Philippines was not profitable as a colony, and a long war with the Dutch in the 17th century and intermittent conflict with the Muslims nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury. Colonial income derived mainly from entrepôt trade: The Manila Galleons sailing from Acapulco on the west coast of Mexico brought shipments of silver bullion and minted coin that were exchanged for return cargoes of Chinese goods. There was no direct trade with Spain.
The Spanish period
Spanish colonial motives were not, however, strictly commercial. The Spanish at first viewed the Philippines as a stepping-stone to the riches of the East Indies (Spice Islands), but, even after the Portuguese and Dutch had foreclosed that possibility, the Spanish still maintained their presence in the archipelago. The Portuguese navigator and explorer Ferdinand Magellan headed the first Spanish foray to the Philippines when he made landfall on Cebu in March 1521; a short time later he met an untimely death on the nearby island of Mactan. After King Philip II (for whom the islands are named) had dispatched three further expeditions that ended in disaster, he sent out Miguel López de Legazpi, who established the first permanent Spanish settlement, in Cebu, in 1565. The Spanish city of Manila was founded in 1571, and by the end of the 16th century most of the coastal and lowland areas from Luzon to northern Mindanao were under Spanish control. Friars marched with soldiers and soon accomplished the nominal conversion to Roman Catholicism of all the local people under Spanish administration.
But the Muslims of Mindanao and Sulu, whom the Spanish called Moros, were never completely subdued by Spain. Spanish rule for the first 100 years was exercised in most areas through a type of tax farming imported from the Americas and known as the encomienda. But abusive treatment of the local tribute payers and neglect of religious instruction by encomenderos (collectors of the tribute), as well as frequent withholding of revenues from the crown, caused the Spanish to abandon the system by the end of the 17th century. The governor-general, himself appointed by the king, began to appoint his own civil and military governors to rule directly. Central government in Manila retained a medieval cast until the 19th century, and the governor-general was so powerful that he was often likened to an independent monarch. He dominated theAudiencia, or high court, was captain-general of the armed forces, and enjoyed the privilege of engaging in commerce for private profit. Manila dominated the islands not only as the political capital.
The galleon trade with Acapulco, Mex., assured Manila’s commercial primacy as well. The exchange of Chinese silks for Mexican silver not only kept in Manila those Spanish who were seeking quick profit, but it also attracted a large Chinese community. The Chinese, despite being the victims of periodic massacres at the hands of suspicious Spanish, persisted and soon established a dominance of commerce that survived through the centuries. Manila was also the ecclesiastical capital of the Philippines. The governor-general was civil head of the church in the islands, but the archbishop vied with him for political supremacy. In the late 17th and 18th centuries the archbishop, who also had the legal status of lieutenant governor, frequently won. Augmenting their political power, religious orders, Roman Catholic hospitals and schools, and bishops acquired great wealth, mostly in land. Royal grants and devises formed the core of their holdings, but many arbitrary extensions were made beyond the boundaries of the original grants.
The power of the church derived not simply from wealth and official status. The priests and friars had a command of local languages rare among the lay Spanish, and in the provinces they outnumbered civil officials. Thus, they were an invaluable source of information to the colonial government. The cultural goal of the Spanish clergy was nothing less than the full Christianization and Hispanization of the Filipino. In the first decades of missionary work, local religions were vigorously suppressed; old practices were not tolerated. But as the Christian laity grew in number and the zeal of the clergy waned, it became increasingly difficult to prevent the preservation of ancient beliefs and customs under Roman Catholic garb. Thus, even in the area of religion, pre-Spanish Filipino culture was not entirely destroyed. Economic and political institutions were also altered under Spanish impact but perhaps less thoroughly than in the religious realm.
The priests tried to move all the people into pueblos, or villages, surrounding the great stone churches. But the dispersed demographic patterns of the oldbarangays largely persisted. Nevertheless, the datu’s once hereditary position became subject to Spanish appointment. Agricultural technology changed very slowly until the late 18th century, as shifting cultivation gradually gave way to more intensive sedentary farming, partly under the guidance of the friars. The socioeconomic consequences of the Spanish policies that accompanied this shift reinforced class differences. The datus and other representatives of the old noble class took advantage of the introduction of the Western concept of absolute ownership of land to claim as their own fields cultivated by their various retainers, even though traditional land rights had been limited to usufruct. These heirs of pre-Spanish nobility were known as the principalia and played an important role in the friar-dominated local government.
The first people in the Philippines, the Negritos, are believed to have come to the islands 30,000 years ago from Borneo and Sumatra, making their way across then-existing land bridges. Subsequently, people of Malay stock came from the south in successive waves, the earliest by land bridges and later in boats called barangays. The Malays settled in scattered communities, also called barangays, which were ruled by chieftains known as datus. Chinese merchants and traders arrived and settled in the ninth century A.D. In the 14th century, Arabs arrived, introducing Islam in the south and extending some influence even into Luzon. The Malays, however, remained the dominant group until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Spanish Period
Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain in 1521, and for the next 377 years, the islands were under Spanish rule. This period was the era of conversion to Roman Catholicism. A Spanish colonial social system was developed, complete with a strong centralized government and considerable clerical influence. The Filipinos were restive under the Spanish, and this long period was marked by numerous uprisings. The most important of these began in 1896 under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo and continued until the Americans defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Aguinaldo declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.
The Philippines and Spain: AD 1521-1898
Like the other island groups of southeast Asia, the Philippines have very early human inhabitants – perhaps even as long as 60,000 years ago. No external power tries to dominate or unify the scattered islands (more than 7000 in the archipelago) until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Magellan, sailing on behalf of Spain, is the first European to reach the Philippines (in 1521). But the first permanent Spanish settlement is established in 1564 by Miguel López de Legazpi. Legazpi, appointed governor general, makes his capital at Manila in 1571. In the same year he names the new colony the Philippines in honour of the Spanish king, Philip II. Until the end of the 17th century Spanish rule is often precarious, with the main threat coming from the Dutch (as a rival colonial power in the far east) and from the Muslims (whose presence in the southern islands has preceded that of the Spanish).
The Muslims are known to the Spanish as Moros, linking them with Spain’s historic Muslim enemies in Europe – the Moors of Morocco. The colonizing of the Philippines for Spain is carried out as much by Roman Catholic friars as by any state administration. In addition to the Jesuits (the main missionary presence elsewhere in the east), the orders of friars active in the Philippines include the Franciscans, the Dominicans and the Augustinians. This most distant part of the Spanish empire remains within the fold longer than the more economically important regions of Latin America. Indeed the Philippines are a Spanish province for well over three centuries, until ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.
The Spanish Empire was the first truly global empire. It was also one of the largest empires in world history. In the 16th century Spain and Portugal were in the vanguard of European global exploration and colonial expansion and the opening of trade routes across the oceans, with trade flourishing across the Atlantic Ocean between Spain and the Americas and across the Pacific Ocean between East Asia and Mexico via the Philippines. Conquistadors toppled the Aztec, Inca, and Maya civilizations, and laid claim to vast stretches of land in North and South America. For a time, the Spanish Empire dominated the oceans with its experienced navy and ruled the European battlefield with its fearsome and well trained infantry, the famous tercios: in the words of the prominent French historian Pierre Vilar, “enacting the most extraordinary epic in human history”. Spain enjoyed a cultural golden age]] in the 16th and 17th centuries. Constant contention with rival powers caused territorial, commercial, and religious conflict that contributed to the slow decline of Spanish power from the mid-17th century.
In the Mediterranean, Spain warred constantly with the Ottoman Empire; on the European continent, France became comparably strong. Overseas, Spain was initially rivalled by Portugal, and later by the English and Dutch. In addition, English-, French-, and Dutch-sponsored piracy, overextension of Spanish military commitments in its territories, increasing government corruption, and economic stagnation caused by military expenditures ultimately contributed to the empire’s weakening. However, Spain maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire until the 19th century, when the shock of the Peninsular War sparked declarations of independence in Venezuela and Paraguay (1811) and successive revolutions that split away its territories on the mainland (the Spanish Main) of the Americas.
Spain retained significant fragments of its empire in the Caribbean (Cuba and Puerto Rico); Asia (Philippines), and Oceania (Guam, Micronesia, Palau, and Northern Marianas) until the Spanish–American War of 1898. Spanish participation in the Scramble for Africa was minimal: Spanish Morocco was held until 1956 and Spanish Guinea and the Spanish Sahara were held until 1968 and 1975 respectively. The Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla and the other plazas de soberanía on the northern African coast have remained part of Spain.