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The Conquistadores

After returning of Victoria Sanlúcar in September 6, 1522, four other Spanish expeditions to the Philippines were very unsuccessful. It was not succeeded until 1565 Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, sailing along from Mexico (or New Spain as it was then called), took foot on Cebu. He claim the islands of the archipelago in the name of King Philip II of Spain and created the name PHILIPPINES. Over the next couple of years, the Spaniards came stubbornly toward the north and ultimately defeated the Muslim leader Sulayman. They took his fort, surrounded by palisades, at the mouth of Maynilad at the mouth of the Pasig River, known as the great sheltered harbor, later on so called the Manila Bay. Legazpi founded Manila in June 1571, as a sheltered walled town in the Spanish style.

Hordes of conquistadors arrived from Mexico in Manila, and fanned out to conquer Luzon and the Visayas to. They encountered persistent but not overwhelming resistance. It was not long before they were billeted in large estates, which were managed by Filipino laborers, and set themselves up as masters. The monks who accompanied the Conquistadores, converted the population to Catholicism at lightning speed, built churches, schools, villages, built roads and bridges, and amassed vast estates on behalf of the church. The various religious orders vied with each other and with the officials and the military to power, prestige, privilege and wealth.

A Spanish governor general, who was responsible to the viceroy of Mexico, was responsible for leading, supervising Intramuros (the walled city of Manila) and the rival civil, religious and military hierarchies on the islands. Intramuros, in which lived enclosed not more than 1000 European soldiers during the first decades, were threatened from the outset. Not of the Filipinos but of other enemies.

The Chinese pirate Limahong attacked them in 1574, a Japanese expedition in 1583 and committed to unity threatened four fleets of Holland (the Netherlands) coming from Batavia (Jakarta) between 1600 to 1647 attacked the city. The biggest challenge, however, represented the Chinese community, which was located immediately outside the walls. Their five-to ten thousand members instigated repeatedly uprisings in 1602, 1639, 1662 and 1772).

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