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Port Cities in World History


Transforming Manila: China, Islam, and Spain in a Global Port City

Ethan Hawkley


     The year is 1588. Agustin de Legazpi, a Tagalog chieftain from Tondo, a suburb of Manila, is planning to overthrow Spain's Philippine colony, a colony that is only about 20 years old. His covert allies include dozens of other chieftains, locally known as datus, a band of Japanese merchants, and coalition of Muslim rulers from the nearby islands of Borneo and Jolo. If he succeeds, Spanish ships will stop coming to Southeast Asia with American silver, and the largest economy in the world, China's economy, will be cut off from a vital source of currency. Chinese economic growth will stagnate and poverty will increase.1 Spanish America will similarly never develop its Asian silk industry, an industry that will otherwise adorn its churches, decorate its colonial estates, dress its priests, clothe its governors, and employ thousands of its artisans. Then, of course, there is also the porcelain and ivory trade that will likewise never set Latin American tables with fine china or fill its churches with made-in-China images of Jesus and Mary.2

     Agustin's plot, in short, comes at a pivotal moment the history of Manila and in the history of the world. Will the port city return to what it had been before the Spaniards arrived? Or will it grow into a colonial capital and major focal point of world trade? Will the final link in truly global trade, the one connecting Asia and the Americas, continue to annually ship 2–4 million pesos of silver and Chinese goods across the Pacific?3 Or will the 250 year history of the Manila galleons be cut off in its infancy? As these questions suggest, the expansion of Spain's empire into Manila is fundamentally transforming Agustin's city, and Manila is in turn beginning to play a prominent role in a larger transformation of the world.4

     Transformation, however, does not mean starting from scratch. Agustin's plan to overthrow the Spanish colony, in fact, shows the continued presence of two vital precolonial layers of globalization. He is reaching out to a group of East Asian merchants, the Japanese, and to various Muslim rulers, those on Borneo and Jolo. The Japanese merchants are a legacy of an earlier China-centered network of world trade, and the Muslim rulers are similarly manifestations of Islam's medieval global expansion. These two previous layers of globalization, China and Islam, had converged on the archipelago before Spain's arrival, and they have as much to do with making Manila into a global port-city as does the arrival of the Europeans. The last piece of the puzzle, in other words, is not always the most important. Remove any one of these three networks—China, Islam, or Spain—and Manila would not become a global port city, and by extension the Philippines would likely never form into a unified political community.

     Taking this broader view, we can see Agustin's strategy for what it really is: he is mobilizing not only local but also traditional global channels of authority against the Spaniards. For their part, however, the Spaniards have also, by now, begun to incorporate themselves into precolonial Sino-Muslim networks at Manila. They have their own East Asian and formerly Islamic allies. Agustin's rebellion is, in summation, a final attempt to revive a dying world against the new one that is coming. It is a conflict over which network of global connections will survive, his or the Spaniards', and it is furthermore a conflict that will decide the historical trajectory of Manila and of the Pacific world for centuries to come. A brief examination of how China and Islam relate to both sides of this conflict will reveal the importance of these two precolonial layers of globalization, and it will also show how these laid the foundation for the arrival and establishment of a third and final layer: Spanish colonialism.5

Manila and China: The First Layer

     Agustin de Legazpi invites Juan Gayo, a Japanese merchant, and his followers to feast with him several times in 1588. In his culture, like many others, feasts are elaborate spectacles where political relationships are forged over conversation and alcohol. At one of these feasts, several other Tagalog chieftains are present: Magat Salamat, Agustin Manuguit, Felipe Salalila, and Geronimo Bassi, Agustin de Legazpi's brother. The Tagalog chieftains speak to Juan Gayo and his band of merchants through a Japanese interpreter named Dionisio Fernandez. They convince the Japanese that together they can defeat and kill all of the Spaniards. With the Spanish gone, Agustin adds, he will then become the new "king of the land," and he promises to divide his tribute with Gayo. The leaders make a traditional oath to one another by anointing their necks with a broken egg.6

     Agustin is certainly not the first Tagalog leader to feast or ally with Japanese merchants. Indeed, when the Spaniards arrived at Manila, there were already twenty Japanese residents living among the town's people. A unique combination of economic and political forces from East Asia had brought them there. In the fifteenth century, paper currency failed in Ming China, and a currency shortage threatened to halt the realm's economic growth. Merchants therefore began to fill this shortage with silver. But China did not have enough silver deposits to supply the merchants' needs, which increased its value dramatically. In the following century, silver in Ming China was twice as valuable as it was in Europe.7 Meanwhile, valuable deposits of silver were discovered in Japan. This silver, however, was not directly accessible to China's merchants because the Ming had banned direct trade with Japanese merchants.

     The demand for silver was, nevertheless, more powerful than Ming decrees. Unable to trade in China itself, the Japanese traded with Chinese merchant smugglers at offshore locations, like Manila, and often under the jurisdiction of local rulers, like Agustin's ancestors. Already afoul of the law, this culture of smuggling later expanded to include raiding, looting, and other pirate activities. From the 1520s to the 1560s, independent Chinese and Japanese merchant-pirate companies plagued the China coast, and they became collectively known to the Ming as wokou, "Japanese pirates," a label that only further harmed Sino-Japanese relations. Japanese and Chinese merchant-pirates then also began trading directly with Manila's chieftain elites. That Agustin can still recruit a Japanese-Tagalog translator, almost twenty years after the Spaniards' arrival, and that he can still convince Juan Gayo to support him shows the persistence of autonomous Japanese-Tagalog relations into the early colonial period.

     Agustin does not, however, recruit help from the Chinese, despite centuries of Sino-Tagalog trade and cooperation in Manila. Beginning in ancient times, Chinese manufactured goods, especially silk, had traveled various routes throughout Eurasia and Africa, most famously along the silk roads; and in the ninth century Chinese merchants, called Sangleys, first carried these goods to the Philippine islands. The Sangleys came to the archipelago to obtain various Philippine products, including gold, wax, pearls, hardwoods, medicines, cotton, birds nests, animal skins, etc.; and the Philippine chieftains, who controlled this trade, sought Chinese porcelain, stoneware, iron, silks, perfumes, and even cannons.8 Chieftains from Manila had even periodically sent tribute missions to Chinese emperors.

     A generation before, Agustin's adoptive father, Rajah Soliman—the precolonial Muslim ruler of Manila—had himself tried to use his relationship with the Sangleys to overthrow the Spaniards. In 1574, only three years after the Spaniards and their local allies had subdued Soliman, a Sangley merchant-pirate named Limahong attacked Manila. Seeing this as his opportunity to throw off the Spanish yoke, Soliman allied with Limahong. But the Spaniards and their various indigenous allies expelled Limahong from Manila and pacified Soliman, once again, under colonial authority. Agustin is likewise turning to East Asians for help, and his alliance with the Japanese may well be inspired by Soliman's actions fourteen years ago.

     But things are different now. The Sangleys know, in 1588, that trade with the Spaniards will bring them more profit than conquest or looting. The Spaniards control a continuing supply silver, having recently discovered the most lucrative silver mines in history, and their silver attracts thousands of Sangleys to Manila. Many Sangleys have even moved to settle permanently in the colonial capital. In 1570, the year the Spaniards arrived, there had been roughly 40 Chinese living in Manila. Now there are some 10,000 frequenting the area, more than ten times the number of Spaniards in the colony. Though the two people are not always friendly with one another, they do share a common interest. The Chinese can count on making a steady 30 percent profit annually on their imports of silver to China, and the Spaniards might make as much as 100 percent or more on their shipments of silk and silver across the Pacific. Silver, after all, is two times more valuable in China than it is in Spanish America, while Chinese silk is far more precious in Mexico than it is in the Philippines.9

     It is this disparity in values that connects the Spaniards to China and to the first layer of Philippine globalization. The Spaniards need some way to fund their colonial project, and without China's demand for silver, they have no other means for profit in the islands, at least not enough to justify a permanent settlement there. The Spaniards' presence is thus changing Manila's relationship to the East Asian world. Agustin knows that he cannot turn to the Sangleys against the Spaniards, as Soliman had, because of their craving for silver. But the Japanese have their own interests. They are, like the Spaniards, silver suppliers, and they likewise want fine Chinese silks, porcelains, and other manufactured goods. With the Spaniards out of the way, the supply of silver will go down and its value will go up, and the Japanese stand to make a significant profit. So Agustin turns to Juan Gayo, they swear their oath, and the plan continues.

Manila and Islam: The Second Layer

     Agustin de Legazpi sends four clandestine ambassadors to Borneo. They are traveling on a Spanish merchant ship. They are Magat Salamat, Agustin Manuguit, Felipe Salalila, and Antonio Surabao. Though three of them have Christian names, all four almost certainly have personal ties with the Muslim elites of Brunei. Agustin de Legazpi is himself married to the Brunei Sultan's daughter.10 The Tagalog diplomats are tasked with convincing Brunei's Sultan to send a large fleet against Manila. When the Bornean ships arrive at the colonial capital, the Spaniards, heavily outnumbered, will do what they always do in times of crisis. They will call on the Tagalog datus and on the Japanese for military assistance. The datus and their East Asian allies will feign their support until they get within the walls of the Spanish fort, and then they will strike. Surrounded by Bornean Muslims from without, and inundated with Tagalog and Japanese adversaries from within, the thousand or so Spanish residents of Manila will be easily wiped out.

     But one of Agustin's four diplomats, Antonio Surabao, has a relationship with the ship's Spanish captain, Pedro Sarmiento. Sarmiento is Surabao's encomendero, his Spanish overlord. For unknown reasons, Surabao approaches Sarmiento. The chieftains of Manila, he explains, have "plotted and conspired with the Borneans…to kill the Spaniards." Brunei, he goes on, is preparing seven galleys and other warships, as well as ammunition and other supplies.11 Alarmed by this report, Sarmiento reroutes his ship and returns to Manila. An investigation begins. Agustin's ambassadors never arrive in Brunei. The battle is over before it has begun.

     Just as Agustin is not the first to make an alliance with Japanese merchants, Antonio is not the first Tagalog chieftain to side with the Spaniards in a Muslim-Spanish conflict. Indeed, when the Spaniards arrived, Manila was ruled by Muslim chieftains, or 'Moros' as the Spaniards called them, and several of these allied with the Spanish against others. After those resisting the Spaniards were defeated, most of the chieftains were baptized and christened with new European names. But many still maintained their political connections to the region's other Muslim rulers, especially to those on Borneo. Some have even continued certain Muslim practices. Agustin, for example, was imprisoned in 1585 for giving his mother an Islamic burial.12 Manila, in other words, almost 20 years after Spanish settlement, is still in transition away from Islam and toward Catholicism.

     Surabao's presence among those being sent to Brunei suggests that he too has connections there, and that he has Muslim heritage. Brunei has, after all, long been the Islamic capital of the region. Before the Spaniards arrived, many of Manila's Moros were abstaining from pork because Bornean preachers had taught them that eating it was a sin. These preachers had also circumcised, ritualistically cleansed, and given Islamic names to several Tagalog chieftains. Brunei was in fact so closely associated with Islam, that some of Manila's Muslims had believed avoiding pork was optional until one had actually traveled to Borneo, and those Manila Moros who had been to Brunei were known to be more familiar with the Qur'an than those who had not.13

     But Islam in Manila, as with the rest of Southeast Asia, was more than just a missionary movement. It was also an economic and political one. The religion had come to the region in the eighth century, traveling across the Indian Ocean with Muslim merchants seeking Chinese goods. These merchants spread Islam into the area through preaching, political alliances, and intermarriage with local peoples. The political importance of the religion was further elevated in the region during the early fifteenth century when Melaka's rulers embraced it, and during this same era Islam was also incorporated into Brunei's elite political culture.

     From there, it was later adopted by many Manila chieftains, and it brought these datus important advantages over their non-Muslim neighbors. In a region defined by political fragmentation, for example, Islam connected Manila's datus to a powerful network of other Muslim rulers through intermarriage, alliances, and trade. Agustin's marriage to the Brunei Sultan's daughter is perhaps the clearest indication that several Tagalog chieftains still maintain, in 1588, their precolonial connections to this older Muslim network. Even though the Spaniards have formally removed the veneer of Islam, there remains an undercurrent of old Moro authority in the town.

     Another advantage of Islam had been, before the 1570s, its commercial connection to the precolonial China trade. Before the Spanish arrived, Moro merchants dominated Southeast Asia's China trade, a trade that reached from Manila to Melaka, and this Southeast Asian network was, in turn, connected to an Indian Ocean and Islamic world that reached all the way to Spain itself. This second layer of early Philippine globalization, Islam, in other words drew much of its power from its relationship to the first, China. Prominence in the China trade not only brought raw wealth to Manila's datus, but Chinese products also conferred status on the town's chieftains. The porcelains, silks, stoneware, etc., that Moro merchants imported from China through Manila represented the finest commodities available to Philippine peoples, and as such they were powerful symbols of prestige and authority. Moro and non-Moro datus alike who obtained these goods displayed them in their homes, used them in feasting rituals, and gifted them to their dependents and allies. Indeed, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Chinese goods had enabled Philippine chieftains to build the largest chiefdoms and inter-datu alliance networks in their history.14

     In precolonial times, Agustin's Moro ancestors had made themselves into the region's most powerful chieftains because they obtained a near monopoly over the archipelago's China trade. Chinese merchants who traveled to the archipelago came to Manila first, where they traded the bulk of their goods. Manila's Moro merchant-rulers would then sail throughout the region trading these goods to others. The Moros, in fact, traded so much in Chinese goods that merchant boats from Manila came to be known throughout the region as the China ships, and soon Manila's Moros had learned the archipelago's many other dialects so they could conduct their trade with diverse Philippine ethnic groups. Ultimately, through translation and trade early Philippine Moros gained control not only over local Chinese commerce but also over almost all other inter-ethnic/inter-island exchanges.15

     In a sense, Manila's Moros had woven together an informal trading colony throughout the Philippine islands before the Spaniards even got there. Their monopoly over Chinese goods coupled with the prestige connected to those goods gave them influence over this informal network through a clear and specific chain of demand. Chieftains throughout the region demanded Chinese products to expand their authority, and Moros demanded Chinese products of the East Asian merchants who came to Manila. The influence of this chain of demand was particularly visible among the islands' non-Muslim datus who were completely dependent on the Moros for their links to foreign trade.

     When, for instance, the Spaniards had first arrived and tried to trade near Butuan, a settlement on Mindanao, Moro merchants there would not allow the Butuan people to accept just any Spanish products. They insisted that the people of Butuan trade only for silver, and the non-Moro people of Butuan obeyed.16 Later, speaking of a powerful Moro chieftain, one Spaniard noted that "he was well known [throughout the islands]; and so much faith was put in him that he was obeyed as little less than a king."17 Chinese products had expanded the power of local datus over their subjects, and by extension the Manila Moros' near monopoly over Chinese products had expanded their power over those other chieftains.

     When the Spanish colonizers arrived in 1565, they initially relied heavily on this informal Muslim trade network. Having brought an interpreter with them from Portuguese Melaka, the Spaniards soon discovered that the Moros of the Philippines could speak both Malay, the language of Melaka, and the region's various local dialects. Moros thus became indispensable translators, and as translators, they also served the Spaniards in critical diplomatic roles. A Moro interpreter, in fact, was crucial in negotiating and establishing the first Spanish settlement at Cebu.

     The Spaniards also assimilated into the Moros' local trade network, which was essential to their early survival in the islands. One Manila Moro in partcular, named Mahomar— an early Tagalog rendering of the word Muhammad—was especially important in this process. Hearing that the Spaniards had silver, he arrived to trade at their Cebu settlement as they were on the brink of starvation. For the next five years, between 1565–1570, as Muhammad made his regular trading rounds through the islands, he frequently traveled from Manila to Cebu and back carrying desperately needed local supplies to the Spaniards in exchange for more Latin American silver. Mahomar then took that silver to Manila where he traded it for Chinese commodities, making him the founder of the galleon trade: the first to discover and profit from the exchange of American silver for Chinese goods. And it was Mahomar's regular trade with the Spaniards that began to create the new world Agustin was now, in 1588, attempting to overthrow. As early as 1565, Mahomar's actions had begun to stitch together and to transform the worlds of China, Islam, and Spain in the Philippines.

     Not all Moros in that earlier era had, however, cooperated with the Spaniards. Mahomar and his family were eventually baptized into Catholicism, and in 1570 the Spaniards asked him to help them resettle at Manila. Mahomar agreed to help, and in that year he guided the Spaniards to his hometown. He even used his own manpower to back and support them. But Rajah Soliman, the most powerful Moro datu in Manila at the time, resisted Spanish settlement. When Mahomar came ashore from the Spanish ships to feast with Soliman, hoping perhaps to broker some permanent alliance, violence broek out between the two. Eventually, this violence spilled over into Manila Bay, and Spanish ships, unaware of what had started the conflict, began to fire on Soliman's Manila settlement.18 Mahomar and the Spaniards, shortly thereafter, defeated Soliman, who fled to the hills, and the following year Mahomar's Moros, accompanied by the Spanish, returned to Manila and began building the colony's new capital. In later years, one local Spanish historian would memorialize Mahomar as "the key to all the islands."19 Even the self congratulating Spaniards acknowledged—despite their intense opposition to Islam—that without their local Moro allies their colonial project in Asia would have been impossible.

     The Spanish settlement at Manila, however, did not put an end to the division between Moro supporters of colonization and Moro resisters, something that was becoming clear from Surabao's revelation about Agustin's plot. Though many Muslim datus throughout the region allied with the Spaniards and adopted Christianity, several of these Christian converts still sought opportunity to overthrow colonial authority, and some of these continued to turn to traditional Muslim channels of power to do it. Soliman's 1574 revolt, described above, for example, had involved not only a Chinese merchant-pirate, but he was also rumored to have sent a request to Brunei, asking that the Muslim sultan dispatch a fleet of ships to support his efforts.20 This fleet never arrived, but the rumor eventually helped to inspire a 1578–79 colonial expedition that attacked Brunei and other Moro settlements in the area, including Jolo and Mindanao.21 This expedition was the start of outright antagonism between Manila and its Muslim neighbors, an antagonism that would yet last for centuries, even into the twenty first century. In 1588, however, that antagonism is not yet complete. Agustin still has traditional allies on Borneo, and his envoy to reach out to them is reminiscent of his adoptive father's attempt to do the same fourteen years before.

     The Spaniards have, however, also built their own powerful network of allies among Manila's formerly Muslim datus. These principales, as the Spaniards call them, are now officials in the colonial government. In the Spanish system, the lower classes continue to be governed by their native principales, who now answer to Spanish encomenderos, who in turn answer to the Spanish gobernador, or governor. The role of principales is at the crux of this colonial system. These indigenous-rulers-turned-colonial-administrators are tasked with using traditional local channels of authority to mobilize resources and labor for the colony from below, and the Spanish colonial system rewards them with stable legitimacy from above. And it is here that we see the contribution of Islam to early Philippine colonization. Mahomar and those Moros who had first supported the Spaniards incorporated the European newcomers into their informal Muslim trading network, and the Spaniards are now, in 1588, in the process of converting that network into their own formal colony by converting Muslim datus into Christian principales.

     Agustin is himself one of these principales, as are most of his anti-Spanish allies. They have, however, become disillusioned with the colonial system because it is not working as it should. It is undermining instead of solidifying their local power. For one thing, since the Spaniards have arrived, their followers and slaves are less compliant than before, many even suing for their freedom in colonial courts. When they, furthermore, fail to collect the allotted amount of tribute from their now unruly subjects and slaves, the Spanish put them in prison.22

     On the other hand, Antonio Surabao is himself also a principal, and he is now without question the man most responsible for the colony's continued survival. Surabao's motives are, unfortunately, not entirely clear. He could be betraying Agustin for any number of personal, religious, political, and/or economic reasons. But whatever his exact motives, he continues the legacy of Mahomar among local Tagalog leaders. Given a choice between siding with the Spaniards or with older Muslim connections, he chooses the Spaniards. As it was with Mahomar, silver remains the most historically visible reason for his decision, though that decision is certainly far more complex. Mahomar had traded for Spanish silver in order to obtain prestige items from China, and with the arrival of more silver this pattern for obtaining Chinese goods is now becoming even more common, so common that it is fundamentally altering the local economy. Before the Spanish arrived, Philippine peoples had produced local goods to exchange directly for Chinese products. However, with the arrival of Spanish silver, by the boatload, the easiest way to obtain Chinese prestige goods is to serve the Spaniards, who pay in silver. One can then use this silver to trade directly with the Chinese.23 Chinese products can then be used, as before, by indigenous peoples as decorations, in feasts, and as gifts.

     Whether or not Surabao is directly participating in Mahomar's continued pattern of exchange is not known. But what is clear is that the Chinese, Islamic, and Spanish worlds that Mahomar had only stitched together twenty years before are now, in 1588, being permanently bound together. They are becoming one world in an emerging global network that brings new wealth to many Spanish, Chinese, and indigenous elites in Manila. Agustin and his allies are among those who have lost wealth and prestige in this process, and these are their reasons for trying to overthrow the Spaniards. Surabao, on the other hand, identifies with the colony's emerging core of indigenous defenders.

     Hereafter, the support of many Tagalog chieftains, like Mahomar and Surabao, will continue to remove Manila from the Muslim world and to transform it into a Christian colony. But this does not diminish Islam's original contribution to Spanish colonization. Mahomar and the Manila Moros had kept the Spaniards' 1565 colonizing expedition alive on Cebu, and they had helped them to settle in Manila. Surabao, likely a descendant himself of Muslim rulers, is now saving them from Agustin's attempt to reestablish some form of precolonial Moro authority. Surabao's betrayal will permanently sever all ties between the principales of Manila and the Muslim chieftains on Borneo, Jolo, and Mindanao, ties that will be replaced by a relationship of mutual raiding and warfare.

     When the Spaniards arrived Islam had already informally unified the Philippine archipelago economically, and at first the Spaniards were little more than a new addition to the Moros' local trade network. But when they moved to Manila, they began the takeover and political consolidation of that network, a takeover that Agustin was trying desperately to stop by turning to older Muslim channels of support: the Japanese and Borneo. And this might have worked. Had it not been for Antonio Surabao.

     The process is perhaps best exemplified by a newly Christianized word. Sometime between 1570 and 1588, the Spaniards began using the local term "binyag" to mean baptism among Philippine peoples. But this was not originally a Christian word at all. It was, rather, a term that had been introduced by Muslim preachers from Borneo to describe Ghusul, Islam's ritualistic cleansing of the body from impurities.24 Despite its Muslim heritage, it is during this time that "binyag" is becoming the Tagalog term for Christian baptism, and just as the Spaniards used and then redirected the meaning of a Muslim word toward Christian ends, they first used and then redirected Manila's precolonial Muslim network toward its Christian future.

Manila and Spain: The Third Layer

     The year is 1589. Agustin de Legazpi is tried and found guilty along with 22 other principales and 1 Japanese interpreter, Dionisio Fernandez. Of these 23, 4 are executed, 8 are exiled to New Spain, and 11 are exiled from Manila. Agustin and one of his closest associates are dragged through the streets of Manila, hanged, and then decapitated. Their heads are placed in metal cages and displayed on the gallows "as an example and warning against the said crime."25

     This is, however, more than just a punishment and a warning. It is a severing of old connections to the Japanese and to Brunei, a severing of independent Tagalog links with China and Islam. Most of those convicted are principales who had maintained and attempted to mobilize traditional relationships with the old layers of globalization, layers that hearkened back to the bygone era 'when Asia was the world.'26 But the Spaniards have their own allies from China and from what was once Muslim Manila, allies that thwarted Agustin. Now that Agustin and the others are gone, the old global networks that had made Spanish settlement possible are no longer needed, nor are they anymore a threat. They have been functionally redirected toward a colonial present and future, redirected toward the continued functioning of Manila as a major port city in an emerging global order.

     More than that, Manila is forming a stable and permanent government, one that will provide the security, laws, and labor necessary for the galleon trade to function for another two hundred years. In the end, Agustin's plan, known later as the Tondo conspiracy, is a testament to the importance of Manila's local history. Though the galleon trade was driven by a unique alignment of global supplies and demands, it depended just as much on the history of Manila, a history involving much more than the mere expansion of a single European power. Indeed, colonial power survived not only because the Spaniards conquered local Philippine peoples, but also because of silver's ability to redirect the global channels of authority flowing into the islands.

     The Spanish were able to defeat Agustin for the same reasons that Manila became a global port city: because they and their allies successfully stitched together and bonded their third layer of globalization with the two layers that had come before. They came to a place where the worlds of Islam and China were already connected, where the Moro ancestors of Agustin and Antonio had been the primary distributers of valuable Chinese goods. The Spaniards then incorporated themselves into this system, took over the China trade, and then draped their layer of political authority over the economic networks that Muslim merchants had already created. Agustin was the old Islamic world's last attempt to throw off the Spanish layer of global authority. He had been preceded by his adoptive father, Rajah Soliman. With his trial and death, the legacy of Islam in Manila would disappear and long be forgotten. Antonio, on the other hand, was helping to solidify colonial authority over the archipelago, a process that had been started by Mahomar. His Manila, shared with the Spanish colonial masters, was completing its transformation into a new global port city. For better or for worse, it was taking its first steps toward its place in the emerging world of modernity.

Ethan Hawkley is Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Alabama in Huntsville. His areas of interest are Asia, the Pacific World and World History. His current book project, Philippine Encounters: China, Islam, Spain, and the Origins of the Pacific World, 1402–1662, describes how a convergence of three world systems in Southeast Asia brought about two independent processes: the birth of the Pacific world, and the unification of the Philippine islands into a single place. His research—conducted at archives in Spain, the Philippines, and the United States—has been generously supported by grants and fellowships from the Gillis Family Fund at Northeastern University, the Lilly Library, Spain's Ministry of Culture, and the Newberry Library. He can be reached at


1 William Atwell, "Ming China and the Emerging World Economy, C. 1470–1650," in The Cambridge History of China, edited by Denis C. Twitchett and Frederick W. Mote (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 376–416.

2 José Gasch-Tomás, "Asian Silk, Porcelain and Material Culture in the Definition of Mexican and Andalusian Elites, C. 1565–1630," in Global Goods and the Spanish Empire, 14921824: Circulation, Resistance and Diversity, edited by Bethany Aram and Bartolomé Yun-Castilla, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 153–173.

3 Arturo Giraldez, The Age of Trade: The Manila Galleons and the Dawn of the Global Economy (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 154.

4 Indeed, some historians cite 1571, the year the Spaniards settled at Manila, as the year that global trade began. See Dennis O. Flynn, and Arturo Giráldez. "Globalization Began in 1571," in Globalization and Global History, edited by Barry K. Gills and William R. Thompson, (New York: Routledge, 2006), 208–22.

5 For a discussion of Manila as a global city see D.R.M. Irving, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 8.

6 Santiago de Vera, et al., "Conspiracy against the Spaniards" (1589), translated into English and republished in The Philippine Islands 1493–1898, ed. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, 55 vols. (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1905), 7, 99. Documents quoted from this compilation will be cited hereafter as BR.

7 Giraldez, 145–146.

8 Laura Lee Junker, Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999), 196.

9 Charles Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (New York: Random House, 2011), 199.

10 Cesar Adib Majul, Muslims in the Philippines (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1999 [1973]), 80.

11 de Vera, et al., "Consipracy against the Spaniards," 103.

12 William Henry Scott, Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994), 193.

13 Ethan Hawkley, "Reviving the Reconquista in Southeast Asia: Moros and the Making of the Philippines, 1565–1662," Journal of World History 25, no. 2–3 (2014), 294.

14 Junker, Raiding, Trading, and Feasting, 15–25.

15 Hawkley, "Reviving the Reconquista in Southeast Asia," 296–298.

16 Guido Lavezaris, et al., "Letter from the royal officials of the Filipinas to the royal Audiencia at Mexico, accompanied by a memorandum of the necessary things to be sent to the colony" (1565), BR 2, 186–187.

17 Juan de Medina, "History of the Augustinian order in the Filipinas Islands" (1630), BR 23, 185.

18 "Relation of the voyage to Luzón" (1570), BR 3, 100.

19 Medina, "History of the Augustinian order in the Filipinas Islands," 185.

20 Hawkley, "Reviving the Reconquista in Southeast Asia," 293.

21 Francisco de Sande, et al., "Expeditions to Borneo, Jolo, and Mindanao" (1578–1579), BR 4, 149–150.

22 de Vera, et al., "Conspiracy against the Spaniards," 101.

23 Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, "Ordinance forbidding the Indians to wear Chinese stuffs" (1591), BR 8, 81.

24 Pedro de San Buenaventura, Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala (Laguna, Philippines: San Antonio de Padua College Foundation Inc, 2013 [1612]),

25 de Vera, et al., "Conspiracy against the Spaniards," 104.

26 Stewart Gordon, When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks who Created the "Riches of the East" (Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2008).

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