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Brief History of Manila

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Brief History of Manila

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  • September 2011
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BRIEF HISTORY OF MANILA
Before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, there already existed a small settlement at the mouth of the Pasig River. It was called Maynilad because of the proliferation of the nilad plant along its shores. At the time of Spanish contact, Maynilad was already a thriving community under the coordinated leadership of two rajahs, one called Matanda (“Old One"), and the other, his nephew, called Rajah Sulayman. Rajah Sulayman had considerable power: he controlled the traffic, into and out of the Pasig, of Chinese vessels that conducted trade with settlements in the interior. Archaeological evidences and ancient documents reveal that Manila was an established entrepot and a political and military nerve center of the region around the Manila Bay long before the coming of the Spaniards. When the conquistadores arrived in 1565, they found large, prosperous pallisaded communities. As soon as news of these settlements reached Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, head of the Spanish expedition, he set out to conquer them. Two battles were fought over Maynila, 'the second ending with a decisive victory for the Spaniards. Recognizing the strategic position of Maynila as a trading center and military outpost, Legaspi promptly declared the area the capital of Spain's new colonies on June 24, 1571. The King of Spain, delighted over its new territory, awarded the City a coat of arms and the grandiose title MThe Noble and Ever Loyal City." A plan for the City was first drafted based on King Philip II's Royal Ordinance issued on July 3, 1573 in San Lorenzo, Spain. The families who were displaced from Sulayman's fort established a new settlement south of the new Spanish

stronghold. This area came to be known as Bagumbayan and was located in the area now occupied by the Rizal Park. The Spanish settlement was perenially threatened by piracy and attempts at invasion. This necessitated the building of walls. What began as a wooden enclosure became a...