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The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803

explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and
their peoples, their history and records of the catholic missions,
as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the
political, economic, commercial and religious conditions of those
islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the
beginning of the nineteenth century

Volume II, 1521-1569

Edited and annotated by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson
with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord

Contents of Volume II

Expedition of García de Loaisa - 1525-26

[Résumé of contemporaneous documents - 1522-37]

Voyage of Alvaro de Saavedra - 1527-28.

[Résumé of contemporaneous documents - 1527-28]

Expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos

[Résumé of contemporaneous documents - [1541-48]

Expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi - 1564-68.

[Résumé of contemporaneous documents - 1559-68]

Warrant of the Augustinian authorities
in Mexico establishing a branch of their
brotherhood in the Philippines - 1564

Act of taking possession of Cibabao, Fernando
Riquel; Cibabao, February 15, 1565

Proclamation ordering the declaration of
the gold taken from the burial-places of the
Indians. M.L. de Legazpi; Çubu, May 16, 1565

Letters to Felipe II of Spain. M.L. de
Legazpi and others; Cubu, May 27 and 29,
and June 1, 1565

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. Guido de
Labecares and others; Cubu, May 28, 1565

Relation of the voyage to the
Philippines. M. L. de Legazpi; Cubu, [1565]

[1]Copia de vna carta venida de Seuilla a
Miguel Saluador de Valencia. (Barcelona,
Pau Cortey, 1566)

Letters to Felipe II of Spain. M.L. de Legazpi;
Cubu, July 12, 15, and 23, 1567 and June
26, 1568

Negotiations between Legazpi and Pereira
regarding the Spanish settlement at
Cebú. Fernando Riquel; 1568-69

Bibliographical Data


Portrait of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi; photographic
reproduction from painting in Museo-Biblioteca de Ultramar,
Madrid. _Frontispiece_

Portrait of Fray Andrés de Urdaneta; photographic reproduction
from painting by Madrazo, in possession of the Colegio de
Filipinas (Augustinian), Valladolid.

Signatures of Legazpi and other officials in the Philippines;
photographic facsimile from original MS. of their letter of
June 1, 1565, in the Archivo general de Indias, Seville.

The Santo Niño of Cebú (image of the child Jesus found there
by Legazpi's soldiers in 1565); from a plate in possession
of the Colegio de Filipinas, Valladolid.


The next attempt to reach the Spice Islands is made by García Jofre
de Loaisa. A synopsis of contemporary documents is here presented:
discussion as to the location of the India House of Trade; concessions
offered by the Spanish government to persons who aid in equipping
expeditions for the Moluccas; instructions to Loaisa and his
subordinates for the conduct of their enterprise; accounts of their
voyage, etc. Loaisa's fleet departs from Spain on July 24, 1525, and
ten months later emerges from the Strait of Magellan. Three of his
ships have been lost, and a fourth is compelled to seek necessary
supplies at the nearest Spanish settlements on the west coast of
South America; Loaisa has remaining but three vessels for the long
and perilous trip across the Pacific. One of the lost ships finally
succeeds in reaching Spain, but its captain, Rodrigo de Acuña, is
detained in long and painful captivity at Pernambuco. The partial
log of the flagship and an account of the disasters which befell
the expedition are sent to the emperor (apparently from Tidore) by
Hernando de la Torre, one of its few survivors, who asks that aid be
sent them. Loaisa himself and nearly all his officers are dead - one
of the captains being killed by his own men. At Tidore meet (June
30, 1528) the few Spaniards remaining alive (in all, twenty-five out
of one hundred and forty-six) in the "Victoria" and in the ship of
Saavedra, who has been sent by Cortés to search for the missing fleets
which had set out from Spain for the Moluccas. Urdaneta's relation
of the Loaisa expedition goes over the same ground, but adds many
interesting details.

Various documents (in synopsis) show the purpose for which Saavedra
is despatched from Mexico, the instructions given to him, and letters
which he is to carry to various persons. Among these epistles, that
written by Hernando Cortés to the king of Cebú is given in full;
he therein takes occasion to blame Magalhães for the conflict with
hostile natives which resulted in the discoverer's death. He also asks
the Cebuan ruler to liberate any Spaniards who may be in his power,
and offers to ransom them, if that be required. Saavedra's own account
of the voyage states that the time of his departure from New Spain
was October, 1527. Arrivingat the island of Visaya, he finds three
Spaniards who tell him that the eight companions o Magalhães left at
Cebú had been sold by their captors to the Chinese.

Undaunted by these failures, another expedition sets forth (1542) to
gain a footing for Spanish power on the Western Islands - that commanded
by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos; it is under the auspices of the two most
powerful officials in New Spain, and is abundantly supplied with men
and provisions. The contracts made with the king by its promoters
give interesting details of the methods by which such enterprises were
conducted. Various encouragements and favors are offered to colonists
who shall settle in those islands; privileges and grants are conferred
on Alvarado, extending to his heirs. Provision is made for land-grants,
hospitals, religious instruction and worship, and the respective
rights of the conquerors and the king. The instructions given to
Villalobos and other officials are minute and careful. At Navidad
Villalobos and all his officers and men take solemn oaths (October 22,
1542) to carry out the pledges that they have made, and to fulfil
their respective duties. In 1543 complaint is made that Villalobos
is infringing the Portuguese demarcation line, and plundering the
natives, which he denies. An account of his expedition (summarized,
like the other documents), written by Fray Jerónimo de Santistéban
to the viceroy Mendoza, relates the sufferings of the Spaniards from
hardships, famine, and disease. Of the three hundred and seventy men
who had left New Spain, only one hundred and forty-seven survive to
reach the Portuguese settlements in India. The writer justifies the
acts of Villalobos, and asks the viceroy to provide for his orphaned
children. Another account of this unfortunate enterprise was left
by García Descalante Alvarado, an officer of Villalobos; it also is
written to the viceroy of New Spain and is dated at Lisbon, August 1,
1548. Like Santistéban's, this too is a record of famine and other
privations, the treachery of the natives, and the hostility of the
Portuguese. Finally, a truce is made between the Castilians and
the Portuguese, and part of the former embark (February 18, 1546)
for the island of Amboina, where many of them perish.

Nearly twenty years elapse before any further attempt of importance is
made to secure possession of the Philippine Archipelago. In 1564 this
is begun by the departure from New Spain of an expedition commanded by
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, with which enterprise begins the real history
of the Philippine Islands. Synopses of many contemporaneous documents
are here presented, covering the years 1559-68. This undertaking has
its inception in the commands of Felipe II of Spain (September 24,
1559) to his viceroy in New Spain (now Luis de Velasco) to undertake
"the discovery of the western islands toward the Malucos;" but those
who shall be sent for this are warned to observe the Demarcation
Line. The king also invites Andrés de Urdaneta, now a friar in Mexico,
to join the expedition, in which his scientific knowledge, and his
early experience in the Orient, will be of great value. Velasco thinks
(May 28, 1560) that the Philippines are on the Portuguese side of the
Demarcation Line, but he will follow the royal commands as far as he
safely can. He has already begun preparations for the enterprise, the
purpose of which he is keeping secret as far as possible. By the same
mail, Urdaneta writes to the king, acceding to the latter's request
that he accompany the proposed expedition. He emphasizes the ownership
of "the Filipina Island" (meaning Mindanao) by the Portuguese, and
thinks that Spanish ships should not be despatched thither without the
king's "showing some legitimate or pious reason therefor." Velasco
makes report (February 9, 1561) of progress in the enterprise;
the ships have been nearly built and provisioned, and Legazpi has
been appointed its general. Urdaneta advises (also in 1561) that
Acapulco be selected for their embarcation, as being more convenient
and healthful than Navidad. He makes various other suggestions for
the outfit of the expedition, which show his excellent judgment and
practical good sense; and asks that various needed articles be sent
from Spain. He desires that the fleet depart as early as October,
1562. Legazpi in a letter to the king (May 26, 1563) accepts the
responsibility placed upon him, and asks for certain favors. Velasco
explains (February 25 and June 15, 1564) the delays in the fleet's
departure; he hopes that it will be ready to sail by the following
September, and describes its condition and equipment. Velasco's death
(July 31) makes it necessary for the royal _Audiencia_ of Mexico to
assume the charge of this enterprise. Their instructions to Legazpi
(September 1, 1564) are given in considerable detail. Especial stress
is laid on the necessity of discovering a return route from the
Philippines; and Urdaneta is ordered to return with the ships sent
back to New Spain for this purpose. By a letter dated September 12,
the members of the _Audiencia_ inform the king of the instructions
they have given to Legazpi, and their orders that he should direct
his course straight to the Philippines, which they regard as belonging
to Spain rather than Portugal. In this same year, Juan de la Carrión,
recently appointed admiral of the fleet, writes to the king, dissenting
(as does the _Audiencia_) from Urdaneta's project for first exploring
New Guinea, and urging that the expedition ought to sail directly
to the Philippines. He says that he has been, however, overruled by
Urdaneta. Legazpi announces to the king (November 18) his approaching
departure from the port of Navidad; and Urdaneta writes a letter of
similar tenor two days later. On that date (November 20) they leave
port; and on the twenty-fifth Legazpi alters their course so as to
turn it from the southwest directly toward the Philippines. This
displeases the Augustinian friars on board; but they consent to go
with the fleet. After various difficulties and mistakes in reckoning,
they reach the Ladrones (January 22, 1565), finally anchoring at
Guam. The natives prove to be shameless knaves and robbers, and
treacherously murder a Spanish boy; in retaliation, their houses
are burned and three men hanged by the enraged Spaniards. Legazpi
takes formal possession of the islands for Spain. Proceeding to the
Philippines, they reach Cebú on February 13, and thence make various
journeys among the islands. They are suffering from lack of food,
which they procure in small quantities, and with much difficulty,
from the natives - often meeting from them, however, armed hostility. A
Spanish detachment succeeds in capturing a Moro junk, after a desperate
engagement; its crew are set at liberty, and then become very friendly
to the strangers, giving them much interesting information about the
commerce of those regions. Finally the leaders of the expedition decide
to make a settlement on the island of Cebu. It is captured (April 28)
by an armed party; they find in one of the houses an image, of Flemish
workmanship, of the child Jesus, which they regard as a valuable prize,
and an auspicious omen for their enterprise. The fort is built, and
a church erected; and a nominal peace is concluded with the natives,
but their treachery is displayed at every opportunity.

On May 28, 1565, the officials of the Western Islands write a report
of their proceedings to the _Audiencia_ of New Mexico. They have
ascertained that the hostility of the natives arises from the cruelty
and treachery of the Portuguese, who in Bohol perfidiously slew five
hundred men and carried away six hundred prisoners. The Spaniards ask
for immediate aid of soldiers and artillery with which to maintain
their present hold, and to relieve the destitution which threatens
them. They advise the speedy conquest of the islands, for in no other
way can trade be carried on, or the Christian religion be propagated.

Another account of the expedition is given by Esteban Rodriguez, pilot
of the fleet; it contains some interesting additional details. On
June 1, 1565, the ship "San Pedro" is despatched to New Spain with
letters to the authorities, which are in charge of the two Augustinian
friars, Urdaneta and Aguirre. The log of the voyage kept by the pilot
Espinosa is briefly summarized. When they reach the coast of Lower
California the master of the vessel and Esteban Rodriguez, the chief
pilot, perish from disease. The ship reaches Navidad on October 1,
and Acapulco on the eighth, "after all the crew bad endured great
hardships." Of the two hundred and ten persons who had sailed on the
"San Pedro," sixteen died on the voyage, and less than a score were
able to work when they arrived at Acapulco, all the rest being sick.

The previous record of the expedition is now continued. Legazpi makes
a treaty with the chiefs of Cebú, who acknowledge the king of Spain
as their suzerain. Gradually the natives regain their confidence
in the Spaniards, return to their homes, and freely trade with the
foreigners. Legazpi now is obliged to contend with drunkenness and
licentiousness among his followers, but finds that these evils do not
annoy the natives, among whom the standard of morality is exceedingly
low. They worship their ancestors and the Devil, whom they invoke
through their priests (who are usually women). Legazpi administers
justice to all, protects the natives from wrong, and treats them
with kindness and liberality. The head chief's niece is baptized, and
soon afterward marries one of Legazpi's ship-men, a Greek; and other
natives also are converted. The Spaniards aid the Cebuans against their
enemies, and thus gain great prestige among all the islands. They
find the Moros keen traders, and through them obtain abundance of
provisions; the Moros also induce their countrymen in the northern
islands to come to Cebú for trade. An attempt to reduce Matan fails,
except in irritating its people. A dangerous mutiny in the Spanish
camp is discovered and the ringleaders are hanged. The Spaniards
experience much difficulty in procuring food, and are continually
deceived and duped by the natives, "who have no idea of honor," even
among themselves. Several expeditions are sent out to obtain food,
and this opportunity is seized by some malcontents to arouse another
mutiny, which ends as did the former. On October 15, 1566, a ship from
New Spain arrives at Cebu, sent to aid Legazpi, but its voyage is a
record of hardships, mutinies, deaths, and other calamities; it arrives
in so rotten a condition that no smaller vessel could be made from
it. A number of men die from "eating too much cinnamon." Portuguese
ships prowl about, to discover what the Spaniards are doing, and the
infant colony is threatened (July, 1567) with an attack by them.

A petition (probably written in 1566), signed by the Spanish officials
in the Philippines, asks for more priests there, more soldiers and
muskets ("so that if the natives will not be converted otherwise,
they may be compelled to it by force of arms"), rewards for Legazpi,
exemptions from taxes for all engaged in the expedition, grants
of land, monopoly of trade, etc. A separate petition, by Legazpi,
asks the, king for various privileges, dignities, and grants. Still
other requests are made (probably in 1568) by hit son Melchor, who
claims that Legazpi had spent all his fortune in the service of Spain,
without receiving any reward therefor.

Certain documents illustrative of this history of Legazpi's
enterprise in 1565 are given in full. An interesting document - first
published (in Latin) at Manila in 1901, but never before, we think,
in English - is the official warrant of the Augustinian authorities in
Mexico establishing the first branch of their order in the Philippines
(1564). It was found among the archives of the Augustinian convent
at Culhuacan, Mexico; and is communicated to us in an English
translation made by Rev. T. C. Middleton, of Villanova College. The
other documents are: the act of taking possession of Çibabao (February
15); a proclamation that all gold taken from the burial-places of the
natives must be declared to the authorities (May 16); several letters
written (May 27 and 29, and June 1) by Legazpi and other officials
to the king; a letter (May 28) from the officials to the _Audiencia_
at Mexico, with a list of supplies needed at Cebu. To these is added
a specially valuable and interesting document - hitherto unpublished,
we believe - Legazpi's own relation of his voyage to the Philippines,
and of affairs there up to the departure of the "San Pedro" for
New Spain. As might be expected, he relates many things not found,
or not clearly expressed, in the accounts given by his subordinates.

Next is presented (in both original text and English translation)
a document of especial bibliographical interest - _Copia de vna carta
venida de Sevilla a Miguel Salvador de Valencia_. It is the earliest
printed account of Legazpi's expedition, and was published at Barcelona
in 1566. But one copy of this pamphlet is supposed to be extant; it
is at present owned in Barcelona. It outlines the main achievements
of the expedition, but makes extravagant and highly-colored statements
regarding the islands and their people.

In a group of letters from Legazpi (July, 1567, and June 26, 1568)
mention is made of various interesting matters connected with the
early days of the settlement on Cebú Island, and the resources and
commerce of the archipelago. He asks again that the king will aid his
faithful subjects who have begun a colony there; no assistance has
been received since their arrival there, and they are in great need
of everything. The Portuguese are jealous of any Spanish control in
the Philippines, and already threaten the infant colony. He sends
(1568) a considerable amount of cinnamon to Spain, and could send
much more if he had goods to trade therefor with the natives. Legazpi
advises that small ships be built at the Philippines, with which to
prosecute farther explorations and reduce more islands to subjection;
and that the mines be opened, and worked by slave-labor.

The Spanish settlement on Cebu was regarded with great jealousy by
the Portuguese established in the Moluccas, and they sent an armed
expedition (1568) to break it up. As the two nations were at peace,
the Portuguese commander and Legazpi did not at once engage in war,
but carried on protracted negotiations - a detailed account of which is
here presented, from the official notarial records kept by Legazpi's
chief notary, and transmitted to the home government. Legazpi claims
that he has come to make new discoveries for his king, to propagate
the Christian religion, and to ransom Christians held captive by the
heathen in these regions; and that he had regarded the Philippines as
being within the jurisdiction of Spain. If he has been mistaken, he
will depart from the islands at once, if Pereira will provide him with
two ships. The latter refuses to accept Legazpi's excuses, and makes
vigorous complaints against the encroachments of the Spaniards. Pereira
summons all the Spaniards to depart from the islands, promising to
transport them to India, and offering them all aid and kindness, if
they will accede to this demand; but Legazpi declines these proposals,
and adroitly fences with the Portuguese commander. These documents
are of great interest, as showing the legal and diplomatic formalities
current in international difficulties of this sort.

_The Editors_

Documents of 1525-1528

_Expedition of García de Loáisa_
_Voyage of Alvaro de Saavedra_

[Résumé of contemporaneous documents, 1522-37]

Translated and synopsized by James A. Robertson, from Navarrete's
_Col. de viages_, tomo v, appendix, pp. 193-486.

Expedition of García de Loaisa

[These documents are all contained in Navarrete's _Col. de viages_,
tomo v, being part of the appendix of that volume (pp. 193-439). They
are here summarized in even briefer form than were the documents
concerning the voyage of Magalhães, indicating sources rather than
attempting a full presentation of the subject. Navarrete precedes
these documents with an account of Loaisa's voyage covering one
hundred and ninety pages - compiled, as was his account of Magalhães,
from early authors and the documents in the appendix.]

A memorandum without date or signature [2] describes to the king
the advantages that would arise from establishing the India House of
Trade at Corunna rather than at Seville: the harbor of Corunna is more
commodious; it is nearer the resorts of trade for the northern nations;
much trade now going to Portugal will come to Corunna; larger ships can
be used and better cargoes carried; it is nearer to sources of supply,
and expeditions can be fitted out better from this place; and it will
be impossible for the captains or others to take forbidden merchandise,
or to land articles on the return voyage - as they could do at Seville,
because of having to navigate on the river. (No. i, pp. 193-195.)

1522. The king and queen, after the return of the "Victoria" issue
a document with thirty-three concessions to natives of their kingdom
who should advance sums of money, etc., for fitting out expeditions
for the spice regions; these privileges are to cover the first five
expeditions fitting out. The interests and rights of the sovereigns
and of the contributors are clearly defined. These fleets are to trade
in the Moluccas, or in any other lands and islands discovered within
Castile's demarcation. The House of Trade for the spice regions is
to be established at Corunna. (No. ii, pp. 196-207.)

Madrid, April 5, 1525. Fray García Jofre de Loaisa, a commander of
the order of St. John, [3] is appointed captain-general of the fleet
now fitting out at Corunna for the Moluccas, and governor of those
islands. His powers are outlined, being such as were usually given
in such expeditions. As annual salary he is to have, during the
voyage, "two thousand nine hundred and twenty ducats, which amount
to one million, ninety-four thousand five hundred maravedis." He
is to have certain privileges of trade, being allowed to carry
merchandise. Rodrigo de Acuña is appointed captain of the fourth ship,
with a salary of three hundred and seventy-five thousand maravedís. He
may invest fifty thousand maravedís in the fleet, such sum being
advanced from his salary. The accountant for the fleet, Diego Ortiz de
Orue, is instructed to fulfil the duties incident to his office (these
are named), and to keep full accounts. Instructions are issued also
to the treasurer, Hernando de Bustamante, who is ordered "to obey our
captain and the captain of your ship, and try to act in harmony with
our officials, and shun all manner of controversy and discord." He must
discuss with the captains and officials questions pertaining to his
duty, for the better fulfilment thereof. (Nos. iii-vi, pp. 207-218.)

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Online LibraryUnknownThe Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 — Volume 02 of 55 1521-1569 Explorations by Early Navigators, Descriptions of the Islands and Their Peoples, Their History and Records of the Catholic Missions, as Re → online text (page 1 of 22)