The Philippines Before Spain
Damon Yeow, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Apr 9, 2006 "Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here." MORE:PhilippinesFilipinos
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Contrary to popular historical beliefs, the Philippines had a rich culture prior to its discovery by the Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Often it is depicted as just a chaotic mix of primitive tribes at odds with each other owing its civilization to Spain. It was in fact a thriving society that had established relations with its' other Asian neighbors. It bartered gold, pearls, corals, cotton and rattan with the Arabs, Chinese and Japanese traders as early as the 10th century. A copper artifact discovered in 1989 which was dated to 900 B.C. proves the existence of a written script, a distinguishing mark of any civilization. What we now know as the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines was once the Malay Archipelago. Prehistoric aborigines, a cross of Afro-Asiatic and Austro-Aborigines, now called Negritos (Aeta, Agta, Ayta) was the first to explore the archipelago around 15,000 to 30,000 B.C. Using land bridges this nomadic tribe settled the Pacific islands including the Philippines. In its midst, other ancient civilizations were also evolving. The Proto-Malays, a Mongol Asiatic race, arrived around 2500 B.C. Unlike the Negritos, who were hunters and gatherers, the Proto-Malays were seafarers and farmers. They built their houses in trees and created fire for cooking. More advanced, they drove the Negritos into the mountains. The next to arrive were the Duetero-Malays, of India-Asiatic race (Indian, Chinese, Siamese, Arabic), that prevailed with a more superior and advanced culture. They have their own alphabet and were able to read and write. They possessed knowledge in metallurgy allowing them to use it for swords, arrows and other weapons. They also used it to fashion jewelry and other...