Philippine Spanish Colonial Period – Part 1


China: Bro, can I take these Islands? Philippines: No China: Oh, come one! These are just a few islands. I’m sure you’d still have a lot left. What could possibly go wrong? Philippines: Still No ** China: Finders keepers. PH: What the f… China: This is totally nothing compared to what they did before conquering Philippine islands was cool. Spain: Huh? The Philippines. And it’s 1521. This is the time when the archipelago, has a thriving society which engages in trade, advanced agriculture and sophisticated finance system. Then on March 17, after a year and a half of shipwrecks, discovering bodies of water, and shaming flat earthers, Fernando de Magallanes made his landfall on the Philippine islands with the main objective of finding a new route to the Spice Islands. On his arrival, he met a local chief, with awesome looking tattoos, and was like –
Magellan: “Hey. What’s your religion?”
Rajah Humabon: Uhm… Magellan: Now you’re a catholic. We can now be friends! Magellan: And from now on, you’re “Don Carlos.” He also planted a cross on a hill, because that’s a cool thing to do, and came up with a very cool name for the islands. Magellan loves island hopping so he went to the island of Cebu and was immediately noticed by the locals. Datu Zula: Hey. Let’s be friends.
Datu Lapu-Lapu: Dude. Datu Zula: And I’ll give you two goats.
Magellan: Hang on. Just a sec. Magellan: We’re now officially friends. Datu Zula: I’m-a gonna help you defeat Lapu-Lapu, if you want. And on April 27, with combined forces of Magellan and Datu Zula’s men, they attacked Mactan with canons and stuff. They were met by one and a half thousand fierce warriors. And there, legends say that he was struck by a poison arrow on the leg, badly hurt, and mobbed. Eight of his own men, and four native allies died with him. However, the expedition around the globe went on and finally went full circle on September 6, 1522. Spain was so ecstatic and was like – Spain: the Treaty of Tordesillas is made by dumb people so they updated it. And Portugal got pissed, so they attacked and attacked until they didn’t. Afterwards, Spain sent different expeditions to the newly discovered islands and one of them is famous for coming up with the islands’ official name. King Philip: Alright. I am going to send an expedition to “discover the islands of the west.” Miguel Lopez de Legazpi: Is it purely “to discover the islands of the west”, not conquer some islands? King Philip: Yep. Purely “to discover the islands of the west” and not conquer some islands. And they were the first to conquer the islands before it was cool. On February 1565, this fierce looking man came by the islands with 380 men. He did not meet much resistance and in fact made friends with different island chiefs. A few months later, he went to Cebu also to make friends. However, when the chief in that island heard of the Spanish return, he immediately ran away to the mountains. The Spanish, who is now getting angry at the time, reminded that the Cebuanos had submitted to Spanish authority 40 years ago, and are now rebellious Spanish subjects. The town was sacked and they began construction of a camp. And after a few days, Tupas finally went down the mountain and presented himself at the Spanish fort and agreed to sign a treaty. Of course, not everybody is happy about this. So a chief from another island sailed to Cebu and hid themselves in the camp because they are thirsty for some Spanish blood. The following day at dawn, Legazpi’s personal aide went out alone, probably to get some fresh air after a long night of partying hard, and was speared and beheaded. This is the first known revolt against the Spanish and it was brutally suppressed when Dagami, and his company, was captured and executed. Legazpi realized that Cebu is kind of a pain in the ass so in 1569 he hopped to another island and built a settlement along the river. He sent his grandson to clean up an island of some naughty Muslim Moro pirates who had been plundering the villages. The next year, this man who turned out to be great in battles, were sent north to the island of Luzon along with 120 Spanish and 600 locals. Goiti arrived in Pasig River and destroyed the cannons mounted at the bank. The King of Manila… *Cough* I mean, the king of Manila, along with other chiefs were defeated and they retreated to the other side of the river. Maynilad was conquered on May 24, 1570 and settlements were sacked. However, guerrilla offensives went on for another 10 months so Goiti went back to Panay and told Legazpi that Goiti: “hey, there’s a kingdom in the island in the North.”
Legazpi: Ok Goiti: And I have partially conquered it but guerilla offensives are now going on for 10 months
Legazpi: Ok Goiti: And it’s rich
Lagazpi: Let’s go Then Legazpi went with a big force of 27 ships along with 280 Spanish and 600 local soldiers which surely will result to someone definitely getting hurt. Legazpi: Hey, I’m thinking, let’s think about peace and let’s be friends.
Lakan Dula: and… Legazpi: In exchange, I’m going to exempt you guys and other of your fellow local nobility from taxes. Lakan Dula: I like the sound of that. Go on… Goiti: …and let’s marry our children together!
Legazpi: Genius! And as a result, on May 18, 1571, Legazpi had completely conquered the Kingdom of Maynilad and simplified its name. He even made the city capital on June 24, 1571. The king of Spain then even granted a coat of arms to the city which is still being used up to this day only with few modifications. Legazpi became the first governor of the colony until his death and was succeeded by governors who will further expand the colony. After his death, Legazpi was succeeded by a man who was like Guido de Lavezaris: “what tax exemptions!” and blatantly revoked the native nobles’ privileges. Lakan Dula and Sulayman were like – Lakandula: “you’re a jerk” so a revolt occurred which was brutally suppressed. Afterwards… Datu: Hey uhm… Just wondering. It looks like you’re the one in control now. But I think it won’t hurt if we’re still to retain our title. Spanish: Yes. You can still retain your title. Totally cool with it. Datu: Alright. That’s good. That’s good. So that means, we can still collect taxes, right? Spanish: Nope. Datu: Nope? Spanish: Nope. The local nobles soon realized what’s going on and conspired with each other to kick the Spanish butt out of the islands. They even asked the help of a Japanese to help assault Manila. However, more than a year has passed and their plot still has not been finalized. In the end, their plan was discovered by the Spaniards when a traitor revealed their plans. As a result, the conspirators were all punished with some put to death and others exiled. The Tondo Conspiracy will turn out to be the second largest revolt plotted against the Spanish. (Next to the Philippine Revolution) The natives seeing their leaders executed were shocked which may be one of the reasons why no revolts of such scale will be put together for the next 300 years. Spain: Alright, now everything looks settled. Spain: We know this is your land so we want to be fair. Spain: Let’s have a vote on whether or not you want the King of Spain to rule over you. Those in favor? Those are not? It’s decided – the King of Spain will rule over these islands. After the 1599 referendum, Spain’s rule over the islands was sealed. Now, let’s install a government! The first task was to relocate the locals into settlements that looks very identical to each other. And then next is to establish a government system which resembled the feudal system in medieval Europe because why not. Some selected Spanish people were granted estates, in exchange for their services to the King, and were given the privilege to collect taxes from its inhabitants. In return, that person was tasked to provide military protection to its inhabitants, justice and governance. So in times of war, they were duty bound to provide soldiers for the King. in particular, for the complete defense of the colony from invaders such as the Dutch, British and Chinese. But there’s one thing they forgot to put in the list of responsibilities – which is “don’t be a jerk to your people.” So in the end, many encomenderos committed abuses that made the people very unhappy. And this eventually led to conflicts between them and the priests. To make matters worse, the Spanish were like – Spain: it’s in our standard operating procedure of colonization to make the locals suffer. Spain: And you are no exception!
Philippines: Me? Spain: “Suggestions?” Spaniard: Let us force 16-60 year olds to work for us 40 days a year! Let us force the farmers to sell their harvest to the government and let’s not pay for it! Let’s ask them to pay for their personal identification! History taught us well that oppression brings hardships. And hardships lead to angry people. And oh boy they sure did. Revolts, after revolts, after revolts spring up across the islands. But there is a big problem. These revolts are not united. And as a matter of fact, there were a lot of times where fellow Filipinos became instruments in suppressing them. In the end, all of these revolts were brutally suppressed. Meanwhile… Gaspar Morales: Sorry, I’m afraid your brother cannot have a christian burial. Because he died in a duel. And duel is prohibited by the church. Filipino: Unacceptable! And that triggered the longest revolt in Philippine history that will last 85 years.

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