Integration of Spanish Empire

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Spanish colonization

The invasion of the Filipinos by Spain did not begin in earnest until 1564, when another expedition from New Spain, commanded by Miguel López de Legaspi, arrived. Permanent Spanish settlement was not established until 1565 when an expedition led by Miguel López de Legazpi, the first Governor-General of the Philippines, arrived in Cebu from New Spain. Spanish leadership was soon established over many small independent communities that previously had known no central rule. Six years later, following the defeat of the local Muslim ruler, Legazpi established a capital at Manila, a location that offered the outstanding harbor of Manila Bay, a large population, and closeness to the sufficient food supplies of the central Luzon rice lands. Manila became the center of Spanish civil, military, religious, and commercial activity in the islands. By 1571, when López de Legaspi established the Spanish city of Manila on the site of a Moro town he had conquered the year before, the Spanish grip in the Philippines was secure which became their outpost in the East Indies, in spite of the opposition of the Portuguese, who desired to maintain their monopoly on East Asian trade. The Philippines was administered as a province of New Spain (Mexico) until Mexican independence (1821).

Manila revolted the attack of the Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574. For centuries before the Spanish arrived the Chinese had traded with the Filipinos, but evidently none had settled permanently in the islands until after the conquest. Chinese trade and labor were of great importance in the early development of the Spanish colony, but the Chinese came to be feared and hated because of their increasing numbers, and in 1603 the Spanish murdered thousands of them (later, there were lesser massacres of the Chinese). 

The Spanish governor, made a viceroy in 1589, ruled with the counsel of the powerful royal audiencia. There were frequent uprisings by the Filipinos, who disliked the encomienda system. By the end of the 16th cent. Manila had become a leading commercial center of East Asia, carrying on a prosperous trade with China, India, and the East Indies. The Philippines supplied some wealth (including gold) to Spain, and the richly loaded galleons plying between the islands and New Spain were often attacked by English freebooters. There was also trouble from other quarters, and the period from 1600 to 1663 was marked by continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their rich empire in the East Indies, and with Moro pirates. One of the most difficult problems the Spanish faced was the defeat of the Moros. Irregular campaigns were conducted against them but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th century. As the power of the Spanish Empire diminished, the Jesuit orders became more influential in the Philippines and obtained great amounts of property.

Occupation of the islands was accomplished with relatively little bloodshed, partly because most of the population (except the Muslims) offered little armed battle initially. A significant problem the Spanish faced was theinvasion of the Muslims of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The Muslims, in response to attacks on them from the Spanish and their native allies, raided areas of Luzon and the Visayas that were under Spanish colonial control. The Spanish conducted intermittent military campaigns against the Muslims, but without conclusive results until the middle of the 19th century.

Church and state were inseparably linked in Spanish policy, with the state assuming responsibility for religious establishments. One of Spain's objectives in colonizing the Philippines was the conversion of Filipinos to Catholicism. The work of conversion was facilitated by the absence of other organized religions, except for Islam, which predominated in the south. The pageantry of the church had a wide plea, reinforced by the incorporation of Filipino social customs into...
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