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Luzon Empire

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Luzon Empire (呂宋國) (1279-1571 AD) was an ancient empire once located
around the Manila Bay region of the Philippines. Its capital was Tondo
(東都). Its territories covered most of what is now Central Luzon,
extending from the delta region that surrounds Manila Bay, all the way
into the interior along head waters of the surrounding rivers in the
provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan.

History of the Song Dynasty (宋史) was compiled under Mongol Prime

Minister Toktoghan (脫脫) in 1345 AD. In it, the Mongols recount the

final and complete destruction of Nan Song (南宋國, "Southern Song

Empire") (1127-1279 AD), where in 1279 AD:

* The Mongol Fleet crushed the Nan Song Navy at the Naval Battle of Yamen (崖門戰

The loyal Minister of the Left Liu Xiufu (陸秀夫) committed suicide with

last Nan Song Emperor, the child Songdi Bing (宋帝 ) rather than be
captured by the Mongols.
* The Grand Admiral Zhang Shijie (張世傑)
escaped with his grand armada but were later annihilated by a typhoon
while crossing the seas.

Alternative sources refute the

accounts of the destruction of Zhang Shijie's grand armada as nothing
more than Mongol propaganda since there were no eyewitness accounts of
its destruction nor were there traces left of its remains. For most
historians, the fate of Zhang Shijie and his grand armada remains a

Contemporary Chinese historians in Guangdong are now

even questioning the Mongolian accounts regarding Emperor Bing's death.
Even though Mongol sources claimed that the corpse of the last emperor
has been found washed ashore along the coast of Shenzen, his actual
grave is yet to be found. Cantonese folklore expressed in the
traditional Cantonese opera narrates an alternative account where the
loyal Minister Liu Xiufu tricked the Mongols by committing suicide with
his own son disguised as the young emperor. The real emperor was said
to have been smuggled out of the scene of battle by Grand Admiral Zhang
Shijie, who will eventually return to redeem the empire from the
invaders. The Travels of Marco Polo also recounts the escape of the
last Song emperor across the ocean. Zhang Shijie's fleet and the last
Song emperor may have escaped to pre-colonial Philippines and
established the Luzon Empire (呂宋國) or the ''Lesser Song Empire''.
the conjectures regarding its origins, the Ming Annals (明史) are clear
on the actual existence of the Luzon Empire. It records that in 1373
AD, the Luzon Empire sent its first among the many succeeding
diplomatic mission to the Great Ming Empire (大明國) (1368]]-1644) ,
accompanied by the embassies of India's Chola Empire.

The Ming
chroniclers added the character for "kingdom" or "empire" (國, pinyin:

Guó) after Luzon (呂宋, Lǚsòng), indicating that it was once an

independent and sovereign kingdom. Her rulers were acknowledged as
kings (王) and not mere chieftains. The Ming Empire treated the Luzon
Empire more favorably than Japan by allowing it to trade with China
once every two years, while Japan was only allowed to trade once every
11 years.

The Luzon Empire
flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty when China closed
its doors to foreign trade. Foreigners were forbidden to send trade
missions to China. Chinese merchants were likewise forbidden to trade
beyond the borders of the Ming Empire. Yet clandestinely, merchants
from Guangzhou and Quanzhou regularly delivered trade goods to Tondo.
Luzon merchants then traded them all across Southeast Asia and were
considered "Chinese" by the people they encountered.

Portuguese who came to Asia much earlier than the Spaniards recorded
their encounter with the inhabitants of the Luzon Empire and called
them Lucoes. The Portuguese records that the Luzon Empire played an
active role in the politics and economy of 16th century Southeast Asia,
especially in controlling the trade traffic at the Straits of Malacca.

Luzon Empire's powerful presence in the trade of Chinese goods in 16th
century East Asia was felt strongly by Japan, whose merchants had to
resort to piracy in order to obtain much sought after Chinese products
such as silk and porcelain. Famous 16th century Japanese merchants and
tea connoisseurs like Shimai Soushitsu (島井宗室) and Kamiya Soutan (神屋宗湛)
established their branches here. One famous Japanese merchant, Luzon
Sukezaemon (呂宋助左衛門), went as far as to change his surname from Naya

(納屋) to Luzon (呂宋).

Tondo (東都, Cantonese:
Tūngdū) or the "Eastern Capital" has always been the traditional
capital of the Luzon Empire. Its traditional rulers were the Lakandúlâ
(Kapampangan: “Lord of the Palace”). During the reign of Paduka Sri
Baginda Rajah dan yang di Pertuan Bulkiah (1485-1521) the Kingdom of
Brunei decided to break the Luzon Empire's monopoly in the China trade
by attacking Tondo and establishing the city state of Mainílâ as a
Burneian satellite. A new dynasty under the Salalila was established in
Manila to challenge the House of Lakandúlâ in Tondo.

When the
Spaniards arrived in 1571, the unity of the Luzon Empire was already
threatened by the uneasy alliance of the Three Kings of Luzon: the
Rajah Matanda of Sapa, the Lakandula of Tondo, and Rajah Suliman III,
the rajah muda or "crown prince" of Mainílâ and laxamana or "grand
admiral" of the Macabebe Armada. Powerful states like Lubao, Betis and
Macabebe became bold enough to challenge the traditional leadership of
Tondo and Mainílâ. The Spaniards took advantage of the chaos, played
favourites with one ruler and pitted them against the other.

has it that the Spaniards had poisoned the Rajah Matanda of Mainílâ so
as to win the support of the Lakandula of Tondo. Disregarding the
legitimacy of Rajah Suliman III as rajah muda, the Spaniards installed
the child Rajah Bago as the new king of Mainílâ.

In 1571, Rajah
Suliman III, the rajah muda of Mainílâ and laxamana of the Macabebe
armada, challenged the Spaniards to a naval battle at the estuary of
Bangkusay. The Spaniards were able to crush Rajah Suliman III and his
Macabebe armada due to the lack of support from the other rulers of the
empire. The Luzon Empire was quickly overtaken by the Spaniards. Its
territories were carved out and distributed as spoils among themselves.
The province of Pampanga was the first Spanish colonial province carved
out of the Luzon Empire and the people who spoke one language from
Tondo to the rest of Pampanga are now called Kapampangan.

the collapse of the Luzon Empire, the Spaniards were finally able to
create their first colony in Asia, the Philippines, named in honor of
the Spanish King Philip II of Spain. The name Luzon was given to the
entire northern Philippine island, in memory of the former Luzon Empire.

Luzon Empire was said to have finally ended in 1571 according to
Spanish records. Yet the fortified cities of Lubao and Betis continued
to thrive as independent principalities of the Luzon Empire till 1572.

1575, the Spaniards executed the child king Rajah Bago and his cousin
Lumanlan. The Lakandula of Tondo also died in the same year.

1586, the Spaniards crushed the revolt of former nobles of the Luzon
Empire in the province of Pampanga. The revolt was based in Candaba
under the leadership of Don Nicolas Mananguete and Don Juan de Manila.

1588, the Spaniards crushed the revolt of the nobles of the Luzon
Empire in Tondo. It was led by the descendants of the Lakandula and
their kinsmen with the assistance of Japanese merchants. Many of them
were executed or exiled and their properties confiscated.

1590, the King Sattha of Cambodia sent two elephants to the "King of
Luzon" through his Portuguese ambassador and requested the Luzon
Empire's assistance in their battle against Siam. In the same year, the
"lords" of the Luzon Empire were said to have been corresponding with
the Taikou-sama of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, begging for assistance to
help liberate the Luzon Empire from the Spaniards. Hideyoshi responded
by sending a letter to the Spanish governor of Manila, demanding that
the Spaniards leave Luzon quietly or else face a full scale invasion
that would force them out. Ill prepared for a Japanese invasion, the
Spanish governor of Manila decided to appease Hideyoshi by sending
gifts from the Americas, including the two elephants sent by the King
of Cambodia.
The rulers of the old Luzon Empire who cooperated
with the Spanish overlords became the principalia of the new Spanish
colony. To this day, their descendants still play an influential role
in Philippine society.


============ ========= =====
study of Philippine history has for many years been Eurocentric, most
Philippine historians have gone as far back at the earliest Spanish
records but have failed to look into the archives of neighboring
countries, such as Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam,
Japan and China. Their dependence on the English language limits the
majority of Philippine historians from accessing volumes of materials
written in Chinese and other Asian languages. As a result, the History
of the Luzon Empire remains mythical in their scholastic psyche and
still virtually non-existent in mainstream Philippine history.

宋史 (History of the Song) original Chinese text: http://www.yifan. net/yihe/
novels/history/ songshiytt/ sshi.html

明史 (Ming Annals) original Chinese text: http://www.yifan. net/yihe/

novels/history/ msqztyz/ms. html

東西洋考 (A study of the Eastern and Western Oceans) original Chinese texts at the
Kobe University Library Website: http://www.lib. jp/directory/
sumita/5A- 161/index. html

新書太閣記 (Shinsho Taiko-ki) by 吉川 英治 (Yoshikawa Eiji)

Giles, Herbert Allen, A Chinese Biographical Dictionary (1898). Reprinted by Cheng

Wen Publishing, Taipei, 1975

Henson, Mariano A. 1965. The Province of Pampanga and Its Towns: A.D. 1300-1965.
4th ed. revised. Angeles City: By the author.
Virginia Benitez & Jose Llavador Mira, The Philippines Under Spain:
a compilation and translation of original documents, Book IV
(1583-1590), The National Trust for Historical and Cultural
Preservation of the Philippines, Quezon City, 1993.

Loarca, Miguel de, Relacion de las Yslas Filipinas, Blair and Robertson volume 5,
page 34 - 187.

Antonio de, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, obra publicada en Mejico el
año de 1609 nuevamente sacada a luz y anotada por Jose Rizal y
precedida de un prologo del Prof. Fernando Blumentritt, Impresion al
offset de la Edicion Anotada por Rizal, Paris 1890. Manila: Historico
Nacional, 1991.

Miyamoto, Kazuo, Vikings of the Far East, New York: Vantage Press, 1975. pp. 88-
89. See also: http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Luzon_Sukezaemon

Agustin, Gaspar de, Conquistas de las Islas Philipinas 1565-1615,
Translated by Luis Antonio Mañeru, 1st bilingual ed. [Spanish and
English], published by Pedro Galende, OSA: Intramuros, Manila, 1998.

Luciano P.R., The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman
[1571-1898]: Genealogy and Group Identity, Philippine Quarterly of
Culture and Society 18 [1990].

Scott, William Henry, Barangay:

Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society, Quezon City: Ateneo
de Manila University Press, 1994.

Tolentino, Aurelio. 1914. Kasulatang Gintû. Manila: Imprenta y Litografia de Juan


Yule, Henry {ed.}, The Travels of Marco Polo, Dover Publications, New York, 1983.

For online reference on the history of Japanese piracy see http://en.wikipedia

.org/wiki/ Wokou

Siuala ding Meangubie / Mike Pangilinan / âV•”?_ˆÐ Shugyousha (?C?sŽñ) ~ Bushido,

Aikido, Iaido Kapampangan National Liberation Advocate 10 ICAL Paper on
Kapampangan Orthography Essays on Kapampangan Nationalism Essays on Kapampangan
Spirituality Essays on Kapampangan Philosop hy and Culture Lusung Empire:
Kapampangan & China

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