Battle of Mactan

Battle of Mactan

Overview
The Battle of Mactan was fought in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 on April 27, 1521. The warriors of Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu was the ruler of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted the Spanish colonization...

, a native chieftain of Mactan Island
Mactan Island
Mactan is an island located a few kilometres from Cebu Island in the Philippines. The island is part of Cebu Province and it is divided into Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova...

, defeated Spanish forces under the command of Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, who was killed in the battle.


On 16 March 1521 (Spanish calendar), Magellan sighted the mountains of what is now Samar
Samar
Samar, formerly and also known as Western Samar, is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland...

 while on a mission to find a westward route to the Moluccas Islands for Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. This event marked the arrival of the first Europeans in the Archipelago.
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Encyclopedia
The Battle of Mactan was fought in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 on April 27, 1521. The warriors of Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu was the ruler of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted the Spanish colonization...

, a native chieftain of Mactan Island
Mactan Island
Mactan is an island located a few kilometres from Cebu Island in the Philippines. The island is part of Cebu Province and it is divided into Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova...

, defeated Spanish forces under the command of Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, who was killed in the battle.

Background



On 16 March 1521 (Spanish calendar), Magellan sighted the mountains of what is now Samar
Samar
Samar, formerly and also known as Western Samar, is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland...

 while on a mission to find a westward route to the Moluccas Islands for Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. This event marked the arrival of the first Europeans in the Archipelago. The following day, Magellan ordered his men to anchor their ships on the shores of Homonhon Island
Homonhon Island
Homonhon Island is an island in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines, on the east side of Leyte Gulf. It is about 20 km long.-History:...

. There, he befriended Rajah Kulambu and Rajah Siagu the chieftain of Limasawa, who guided him to Cebu. He, and his queen were baptized into the Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 faith, taking the Christian names Carlos, in honor of King Charles of Spain, and Juana, in honor of King Charles' mother. To commemorate this event, Magellan gave Juana the Santo Niño, an image of the infant Jesus, as a symbol of their new alliance. As a result of Magellan’s influence with Rajah Humabon
Rajah Humabon
Rajah Humabon was the Rajah of Cebu at the time of Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan's arrival in the Philippines in 1521. There is no official record of his existence before the Spanish arrival, but extensive narration by Italian historian Antonio Pigafetta was made on Humabon and the...

, an order had been issued to the nearby chiefs that each of them were to provide food supplies for the ships, and convert to Christianity.

Most chiefs obeyed the order. However, Datu Lapu-Lapu, one of the two chiefs within the island of Mactan, was the only chieftain to show his opposition. Lapu-Lapu refused to accept the authority of Rajah Humabon in these matters. This opposition proved to be influential when Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer from the Republic of Venice. He travelled with the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew on their voyage to the Indies. During the expedition, he served as Magellan's assistant and kept an accurate journal which later assisted him...

, Magellan’s voyage chronicler, writes,
Rajah Humabon and Datu Zula suggested that Magellan go to the island of Mactan and force his subject chieftain Datu Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu was the ruler of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted the Spanish colonization...

 to comply with his orders. Magellan saw an opportunity to strengthen the existing friendship ties with the ruler of the Visaya region and agreed to help him subdue the rebellious Lapu-Lapu.

The battle


According to the documents of Italian historian Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta
Antonio Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer from the Republic of Venice. He travelled with the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew on their voyage to the Indies. During the expedition, he served as Magellan's assistant and kept an accurate journal which later assisted him...

, Magellan tried to convince Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu
Lapu-Lapu was the ruler of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted the Spanish colonization...

 to comply with Rajah Humabon's orders the night before the battle,
Pigafetta writes how next morning Magellan deployed forty-nine armored men with swords, axes, shields, crossbows and guns, and sailed for Mactan in the morning of April 28. Filipino historians note that because of the rocky outcroppings, and coral near the beach, the Spanish soldiers could not land on Mactan. Forced to anchor their ships far from shore, Magellan could not bring his ships' firepower to bear on Datu Lapu-Lapu's warriors, who numbered more than 1,500.
Magellan then tried to scare them off by burning some houses in what is now Buaya, known then as Bulaia.
Many of the warriors attacked Magellan; he was wounded in the arm with a spear and in the leg by a kampilan
Kampilan
The kampílan is a type of single-edged long sword of the Filipino people. Being ancient origin, it has been used in the Philippine islands of Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon for centuries, used for head-chopping....

. With this advantage, the Lapu-Lapu's troops finally overpowered, and killed him. He was stabbed, and hacked by spears and swords. Pigafetta and the others managed to escape,
According to Pigafetta, several of Magellan’s men were killed in battle, and a number of natives converted to Christianity who had come to their aid, were killed by warriors, and soldiers. There are no official records of the number of casualties in the battle, although Pigafetta mentions at least 3 Christian soldiers killed including Magellan.

Magellan's allies, Humabon and Zula, were said not to have taken part in the battle due to Magellan's bidding, and watched from a distance. Pigafetta reports that the Christian king Humabon sent a message saying that if they return the bodies of Magellan and his crew, they would give as much merchandise as they wished. Magellan’s body, however, was never recovered from the natives.

Some of the soldiers who survived the battle and returned to Cebu were poisoned while attending a feast given by Humabon. Magellan was succeeded by Juan Sebastián del Cano as commander of the expedition, who ordered the immediate departure after Humabon's betrayal. Del Cano and his fleet sailed west and returned to Spain in 1522, completing the first circumnavigation of the world.

In Philippine culture



Today, Lapu-Lapu is retroactively honored as the first "Philippine national hero
Folk hero
A folk hero is a type of hero, real, fictional, or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by...

" to resist foreign rule, though formally the territory of the "Philippine Islands" had yet to be established or even named at the time. He is remembered by a number of commemorations: statues on the island of Mactan and the Cebu Provincial Capitol, a city bearing his name, and a local variety of red grouper
Grouper
Groupers are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus...

 fish. Kapampangan
Kapampangan people
The Kapampangans or Capampan͠gans are the sixth largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group, numbering about 2,890,000. The original Kapampangans may have descended from Austronesian-speaking immigrants to Luzon during the Iron Age.The province of Pampanga is traditional homeland of the Kapampangans...

 actor-turned-politician Lito Lapid starred in a film called Lapu-Lapu, and novelty singer
Novelty song
A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs. The term arose in Tin Pan Alley to describe one of the major divisions of popular music. The other two divisions...

 Yoyoy Villame
Yoyoy Villame
Yoyoy Villame born Roman Tesorio Villame, was a Filipino singer, composer, lyricist, and comedian. Villame was a native of Calape, Bohol and was the father of singer Hannah Villame. He died of cardiac arrest at the Las Piñas Medical Center in Metro Manila on May 18, 2007...

 wrote a folk song entitled "Magellan" that tells a humorously distorted story of the Battle of Mactan.

There is a spot in Mactan Island called the Mactan shrine where the battle is reenacted during its anniversary. In the same shrine, next to the Lapu-Lapu statue, there is a semi-destroyed obelisk erected in Magellan's honor by the Spanish colonial authorities and defaced shortly after the US military occupation of the Philippines.

Magellan is also honored for bringing Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to the Philippines in general and the Santo Niño (Child Jesus) to Cebu in particular. The Magellan's Cross
Magellan's Cross
Magellan's Cross is a Christian cross planted by Portuguese, and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines on April 14 or 21, 1521....

and the aforementioned Magellan's shrine were erected in Cebu City and Mactan Island. Many landmarks and infrastructures all over the Philippines bear Magellan's name, mostly using its Spanish spelling (Magallanes), which is also a widely used Filipino surname.

Legends


Some natives believe that in his final years, Lapu-Lapu did not die, but turned into a stone, and is forever guarding the seas of Mactan. Fishermen in the island city throw coins at a stone shaped like a man as a way of asking for permission to fish in the chieftain’s territory.

Another story passed on by the natives of the land says Lapu-Lapu became the statue placed on a pedestal at the center of the plaza. The statue faces the old city hall building where the mayors used to hold office and once held a crossbow in the immortal stance of someone about to shoot an arrow at an enemy. The people of the city decided to change this crossbow with a bolo after a succession of three mayors died due to a heart attack.

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