Spain’s desire to find riches and spices, as well as to spread Christianity to the world, leads them to conquer the Philippines.
When the Legazpi Fleet landed at Cebu, they established the first Spanish Community in the country. The constructed a triangle-shaped community in a land given by Raha Tupaz. The first two sides faces the sea and has a fence that was made up of hard wood, while each side bears several cannons for protection. They also constructed a deep-well to which they gather their drinking water. Legazpi named it “San Miguel”. But he changed it to “City of the Holy Jesus”.
This is the first town and Spanish community in the Philippines. This also signals the formal invasion of Spain to the Philippines.
The Spanish Missionaries had preached and propagated the Christian religion in Cebu while Legazpi was arranging the Spanish Government in the province. After several months, he sent several troops to all nearby provinces of Cebu which includes Negros, Samar, Leyte and Panay. Legazpi also sent his grandson Juan de Salcedo in Mindanao to fight for the Muslim forces who are frequently attacking the Visayas region.
Legaspi heard that the Panay province was reached in food source. He then sailed to this province in 1569 along with his fleet. In the shore of Panay, Legaspi constructed the second Spanish community. Legazpi made Panay as the center of his operation. He also heard that there is a progressive community in the Luzon region. In his desire to invade as many provinces as possible, Legazpi send an expedition toward Manila in May 8, 1570.
The expedition was headed by Martin de Gioti, along with 120 Spanish soldiers and 600 native warriors. Manila was very advance and more progressive compared to the rest of the country during those era. Manila was under the leadership of a Muslim Datu named Raha Sulayman. His kingdom was located South of the Pasig River while in the North was the Kingdom of his step-father Raha Lakan Dula.
When Legazpi reached Manila, he imposes and ask Raha Sulayman to pay for taxes to Spain. Raha Sulayman refuses to pay the taxes which prompted Legazpi to attack the whole Manila area. Raha Sulayman and his warriors fought bravely against the Spanish soldiers. But because the foreigners had a better weapons, Raha Sulayman’s troops was beaten. This battle was held on May 24, 1570. Sulayman’s troops retreated through the other side of the Pasig River. While Goiti return to Panay to report to Legazpi.
This time, Legazpi headed the attack on the Northern side of Pasig River in the next year. When Raha Lakan Dula sees the very strong and very advanced weapons of the invaders, he did not attempt to fight back but rather invited Legaspi and make friend with him. He then convinces Raha Sulayman to accept the invaders but Sulayman refuses to abide. He then set fire the whole of Manila before retreating boarding at least 40 big boats towards the Manila Bay via the Pasig River. In route to the Pasig River, near Bankusay, Tondo, they encountered Legazpi’s forces and a battle begins. Sulayman’s warriors were defeated. There had been no recorded history on whether Raha Sulayman was able to escape or had died during this battle.
Legazpi was sadden to see that whole of Manila burn to ashes. He then constructed houses for the Spanish citizens, churches, and a palace to serve as his house and a camp for his Spanish soldiers. On June 24, 1571, he made Manila as the center of the country and was named as “Katangi-tangi at Laging Tapat na Lungsod”. After this, Legazpi founded the City Government of Spain which was called “ayuntamiento”. He also appointed a leader who will look after the new government. Legazpi then went on to invade more areas of the country. With this, Legazpi was denoted as the first Spanish Conqueror and the first Governor-general of the Philippines.
Because of the lack of unity of the native Filipino during that era, Spain had invaded the country with ease. The different tribes of the country had its own leaders which makes it more advantageous for the Spanish invaders. Every ethnic group then has its own culture and dialects so that they themselves do not understand each other. The Spanish settlers sees this and uses it as a weapon. They let these tribes fight against each other and help other tribes during a battle. They also convince their native allies to fight along their side to other tribes who do not want to be invaded.
They convinced many tribes that their motives in coming to our country was for the benefit of our people. They also easily conquered all of the Philippines because they were seasoned warriors with more advanced and modern weapons.
Author’s note: Another compiling story and history of my motherland and its citizens.
Because of the location and the natural beauty of our country, it was called as “Perlas ng Dagat Silangan” (Pearl of the Orient Seas) and “Hardin ng Pacific (Garden of the Pacific). And in 1544, our country was named Las Islas Felipinas, which is derived from the name of Prince Felipe II of Spain.
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