Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Brief History of the Philippines

History of the Philippines
Stilted houses, fishing villages, active volcanoes and fertile soils. These were the strange and exotic new sights that greeted Magellan and the five Spanish expedition ships that approached the island of Samar on March 16, 1521.

As was the islands custom, Magellan and his men were warmly welcomed by the islanders and the two Rajas, Kolambu and Siagu. For Ferdinand Magellan and his men, the sight of the island was a relief after having sailed around the world for 2 years. The expeditions progress to claim new land for Spain had indeed being slow, daunting and somewhat unsuccessful. Such was the stress and tension of the voyage that Magellans captains even attempted mutiny. The mutiny was unsuccessful, and the mutineers were marooned, executed or clapped in chains.

Since 982, foreign expedition had come to trade with the Philippines from as far away as China, India, Japan, Borneo, Java, Siam and Sumatra. The traders were warmly welcomed into the towns and ports along the coast of Luzon, Mindoro and Sulu. For centuries, a peaceful trade route existed between the Philippines and these islands... but the arrival of the Spanish expedition was about to change the history of this peaceful trade relations forever.

Shortly after landing his fleet on the island of Samar, Magellan erected a cross and proceeded to claim the new islands for Spain. He christianed the island as the "Archipelago of San Lazaro". And so began the dawn of a new era for the Spanish colony, and the beginning of the end of the Pilipino culture.

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