By Richard Rivera
The middle 18th century in the Philippines was a period of perpetual destabilization. The islands are slowly being reconfigured—both physically and in socio-economic terms. On the surface, geophysical forces are making physical transformations, complimenting the deeper and more serious reconstruction happening within the colonial society.
A new socio-economic class composed of Chinese mestizos and Indio professionals is emerging, and starting to dominate both the economic and political landscape. Creoles, pure-blooded Spaniards assigned to administer these groups of islands in the Far East, are slowly being eased out. Socio-economic relations are starting to assume a different form. Traders are slowly weakening the hold of the Spanish military and religious aristocracy over the colony. Those who traditionally dominated the affairs of the state are now being challenged by a new aristocracy, whose claims to possessions and ownership are based on land and capital, not solely on blood neither on royal patronage. Intense trade has precipitated the creation of newer forms of production and this has substantially changed the relations between the dominant and the conquered classes.
As the colonial society grapples with the entry of capitalism, and the traditional ways are gradually being transplanted by newer things, the old order tries to impose itself upon the emerging classes. Resistance was fierce, with the old order using superior arms and the cross. Unbeknownst, the newer form of production comes with it, new thinking and new ways of doing things.
The synthesis of the old feudalist order with that of nascent capitalism comes with it the more dominant thinking of trade regardless of race or religious beliefs. Racial and religious lines are becoming blurred, as fresh, often, liberal ideas are permeating the vulnerable social membrane. The conquered peoples are... [continues]
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