The strategic location of Manila along the bay and at the mouth of Pasig River made it an ideal location for the Tagalog and Kapampangan tribes and kingdoms to trade with merchants from China, India,Borneo and Indonesia. Before the first arrival of Europeans on Luzon island, the island was part of the Majapahit empire around the 14th century, according to the epic eulogy poem Nagarakretagama which described its conquest byMahārāja Hayam Wuruk. The region was invaded around 1485 by Sultan Bolkiah and became a part of the Sultanate of Brunei. The site of Intramuros then became a part of the Islamic Kingdom of Maynilaruled by various Datus, Rajas and the Sultan.
Spanish conquest of Manila
In 1564, Spanish explorers led by Miguel López de Legazpi sailed from New Spain (now Mexico), and arrived on the island of Cebu on February 13, 1565, establishing the first Spanish colony in the Philippines. Having heard of the rich resources in Manilafrom the natives, Legazpi dispatched two of his lieutenant-commanders, Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo to explore the island of Luzon. The Spaniards arrived on the island of Luzon in 1570. After quarrel and misunderstandings between the Islamic natives and the Spaniards, they fought for the control of the land and settlements. After several months of warfare, the natives were defeated, and the Spaniards made a peace pact with the tribal councils of Rajah Sulaiman III, Rajah Lakandula, and Rajah Matanda who handed over Manila to the Spaniards. Legazpi declared the area of Manila as the new capital of the Spanish colony on June 24, 1571 because of its strategic location and rich resources. He also proclaimed the sovereignty of the Monarchy of Spain over the all the archipelago. King Philip II of Spain delighted at the new conquest achieved by Legazpi and his men, awarded the city a coat of arms and declaring it as: Ciudad Insigne y Siempre Leal (English: "Distinguished and Ever Loyal City"). Intramuros was settled and became the political, military and religious center of the Spanish Empire in Asia.
Construction of the wall
The Bastion of San Diego Constructed in 1644.
The city was in constant danger of natural and man-made disasters and worse, attacks from foreign invaders. In 1574, a fleet of Chinese pirates led by Limahong attacked the city and destroyed it before the Spaniards drove them away. The colony had to be rebuilt again by the survivors. These attacks prompted the construction of the wall. The city of stone began during the rule of Governor-General Santiago de Vera. The city was planned and executed by Jesuit Priest, Antonio Sedeno and was approved by King Philip II's Royal Ordinance that was issued in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain. The succeeding governor-general, Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas brought with him from Spain the royal instructions to carry into effect the said decree stating that "to enclose the city with stone and erect a suitable fort at the junction of the sea and river". Leonardo Iturriano, a Spanish military engineer specializing in fortifications, headed the project. Chinese and Filipino workers built the walls. Fort Santiago was rebuilt and a circular fort, known as Nuestra Senora de Guia, was erected to defend the land and sea on the southwestern side of the city. Funds came from a monopoly on playing cards and fines imposed on its excessive play. Chinese goods were taxed for two years. Construction of the walls began on 1590 and continued under many governor-generals until 1872. By the middle of 1592, Dasmarinas wrote the King about the satisfactory development of the new walls and fortification. Since the construction was carried on during different periods and often far apart, the walls were not built according to any uniform plan. Improvements continued during the terms of the succeeding Governor-Generals. Governor-General Juan de Silva executed certain work on the fortifications in 1609 which was improved byJuan Niño de...
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