The earliest (Spanish) history of the Philippines?

John Newsome Crossley, Clive H Griffin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Antonio de Marga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas of 1609 is usually regarded as the earliest Spanish history of the Philippines. However, there is an almost entirely neglected manuscript in the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana, that predates de Morga significantly. (The present authors have transcribed it and are currently translating it into English with a view to publication.) The manuscript was noted by the Franciscan archivist, Fr. Lorenzo Perez, in the 1930s, but passed over by Charles Boxer. It seems to be the earliest history of the Philippines, covering the period from 1564 to 1596. What is more remarkable is that,
    unlike all the other early histories except Marga's, it appears it was written not by a priest, but by a layman, quite possibly a soldier. It is largely an eyewitness account.

    The first part is very much concerned with Legazpi's arrival in Cebu, but after that, it is predominantly concerned
    with Northern Luzon and the surrounding countries. There are no unknown events recorded, but the author offers a different point of view, presents previously unknown details, and gives new insights in his writing. His concerns are more with soldiers than with priests, but he also goes out of his way to mention the women involved and more earthy aspects of the Spaniards' behavior and interactions with the local people. So this manuscript gives us another, different, insight into the
    earliest years of the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)56 - 77
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of History
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Lilly Historia
    • earliest (Spanish) history
    • Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
    • Luis Perez Dasmariiias
    • Cambodia expedition

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