Castilian War

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Spanish Expedition to Borneo / "Castilian" War
Expedición española a Borneo [1]
Perang Kastila
ڤراڠ كستيلا
DateMarch–June 1578
Location
Result Status quo ante bellum
Belligerents
Old Flag of Brunei.svg Bruneian Empire

Flag of the Tercios Morados Viejos.svg Spanish Empire

Commanders and leaders
Old Flag of Brunei.svg Sultan Saiful Rijal Flag of the Tercios Morados Viejos.svg Francisco de Sande
Old Flag of Brunei.svg Pengiran Seri Lela  
Old Flag of Brunei.svg Pengiran Seri Ratna  
Strength
1,000 Royal Guards 400 Spaniards
1,500 Filipinos
300 Borneans
Part of a series on the
History of Brunei
Emblem of Brunei.svg
Pre-Sultanate
Bruneian Empire
1368
to 1888
House of Bolkiah
(15th century – present)
Sultanate of Sulu
1405
to 1578
Rajahnate of Maynila
1500s
to 1571
Tondo
1500s
to 1571
Castilian War 1578
Civil War 1660–1673
Sarawak
15th century
to 1841
Labuan
15th century
to 1846
Sabah (North Borneo)
15th century
to 1865
British protected state 1888–1984
Japanese occupation 1942–1945
Borneo campaign 1945
1945–1946
Revolt 1962

The Spanish Expedition to Borneo, also known locally as the Castilian War (Malay: Perang Kastila; Jawi: ڤراڠ كستيلا; Spanish: Expedición española a Borneo), was a military conflict between Brunei and Spain in 1578.

Malay language Austronesian language

Malay is an Austronesian language spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as parts of Thailand. A language of the Malays, it is spoken by 290 million people across the Strait of Malacca, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. It is also used as a trading language in the southern Philippines, including the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza and Balabac in Palawan.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and in the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Brunei Southeast Asian coastal sovereign state

Brunei, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 423,196 in 2016.

Contents

Background

Since the middle of the 16th century, Europeans were eager to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia, the source of supply for spices. Spain also wanted to forcibly spread the acceptance of Christianity, the overwhelmingly dominant faith in Europe. Since the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the land routes from the Eastern Mediterranean to Southeast Asia through Central Asia and the Middle East, were controlled by the Ottomans, Persians, Arabs, Indians and the Malays.

Southeast Asia Subregion of Asia

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China and Japan, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. The region is the only part of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere, although the majority of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

  1. Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising parts of Northeast India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and West Malaysia.
  2. Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as Nusantara, the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, comprises the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

Fall of Constantinople 1453 capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire

The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital city of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army on the Sunday of Pentecost, 29 May 1453. The attackers were commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II, who defeated an army commanded by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos and took control of the imperial capital, ending a 53-day siege that had begun on 6 April 1453. After conquering the city, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of the Ottoman State from Edirne to Constantinople and established his court there.

The Portuguese and later the Spaniards, tried to find an alternative route by sea to Southeast Asia, so they could trade in spices and other products with the Malays. The Portuguese in particular did this by conquering Malacca in 1511, two years after its arrival in the region.

Portuguese Empire Global empire centered in Portugal

The Portuguese Empire, also known as the Portuguese Overseas or the Portuguese Colonial Empire, was composed of the overseas colonies and territories governed by Portugal. One of the largest and longest-lived empires in world history, it existed for almost six centuries, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the handover of Portuguese Macau to China in 1999. The empire began in the 15th century, and from the early 16th century it stretched across the globe, with bases in North and South America, Africa, and various regions of Asia and Oceania. The Portuguese Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Spanish Empire.

The Spaniards arrived later in the mid-16th century. Their arrival to the archipelago now part of the modern day Philippines as well as the Spain's intention to spread Christianity caused a conflict with Brunei, then ruled by Sultan Saiful Rijal, which eventually led to the Castilian War. At the time, Brunei Darussalam was a loose empire extending from Borneo Island, also claiming but not rarely controlling parts of the Philippines.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

Bruneian Empire Malay sultanate, centred in Brunei on the northern coast of Borneo island in Southeast Asia from 1368 to 1888

The Bruneian Empire or Empire of Brunei, also known as Sultanate of Brunei, was a Malay sultanate, centred in Brunei on the northern coast of Borneo island in Southeast Asia. Bruneian rulers converted to Islam around the 15th century, when it grew substantially since the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese, extending throughout coastal areas of Borneo and the Philippines, before it declined in the 17th century.

Borneo island

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.

Spanish arrival in the Philippines

From their ports in Mexico, Spain sent several expeditions to the Philippines and in 1565 under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, settled in Cebu. For a time Cebu became the capital of the archipelago and the main trading post. It was also the first city for spreading Christianity in the islands.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fourth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 129 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states plus Mexico City (CDMX), which is the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the country include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León.

Cebu Province in Central Visayas, Philippines

Cebu is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas (Region VII) region, and consists of a main island and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Its capital is Cebu City, the Queen City of the South, the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines, which is politically independent from the provincial government.

Because of this, the Spanish aspirations came to clash with those of Brunei. Between 1485 and 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei led by Sultan Bolkiah had established the state of Kota Serudong (otherwise known as the Kingdom of Maynila) as a Bruneian puppet state opposed to the local Kingdom of Tondo. [2] Islam was further strengthened by the arrival to the Philippines of traders and proselytisers from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia. [3]

A puppet state, puppet régime, or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but de facto completely dependent upon an outside power, and does its bidding. Puppet states have nominal sovereignty, but a foreign or otherwise alien power effectively exercises control, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support. Puppet states are distinguished from allies in that allies choose their actions on their own, or in accordance with treaties they voluntarily entered.

Malaysia Federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

Indonesia Republic in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and 7th in the combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.

Despite the influence of Brunei, the multiple states that existed in the Philippines simplified Spanish colonisation. In 1571, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain attacked and Christianised Islamic Manila, which was made the capital of the Philippine Islands, also becoming a hub for trade and evangelisation. The Visayans, (people from the Kedatuan of Madja-as and Rajahnate of Cebu) which before the Spaniards came, had waged war against the Sultanate of Sulu and the Kingdom of Maynila, now became allies of the Spaniards against the Sultanate of Brunei.

The time the Castilian War broke out was a time of religious fervor in Europe and many parts of the world, when a single state religion was followed. In Spain, the state religion was Roman Catholicism obliging followers of other faiths such as Jews and Muslims to convert to this religion. Spain had recently finished a 700-year-old war to reconquer and re-Christianise Spain, which had been invaded by the Muslims under the Umayyad Caliphate since the 8th century AD. The long process of reconquest, sometimes through treaties, mostly through war, is known as the Reconquista. The hatred of Spaniards against the Muslims that once invaded Spain fuelled the Castilian War against the similarly Muslim Bruneians. This war also started the Spanish–Moro Wars in the Philippines against the Sultanate of Sulu and Sultanate of Maguindanao.

In 1576, the Spanish Governor in Manila Francisco de Sande had arrived from Mexico. He sent an official mission to neighbouring Brunei to meet Sultan Saiful Rijal. He explained to the Sultan that they wanted to have good relations with Brunei and also asked for permission to spread Christianity in Brunei (Roman Catholicism in Brunei was a legacy brought by Spaniards). At the same time, he demanded an end to Brunei proselytism of Islam in the Philippines. Sultan Saiful Rijal would not agree to these terms and also expressed his opposition to the evangelisation of the Philippines, which he deemed part of Dar al-Islam. In reality, De Sande regarded Brunei as a threat to the Spanish presence in the region, claiming that "the Moros from Borneo preach the doctrine of Mahoma, converting all the Moros of the islands". [4] [5]

The war

Spain declared war in 1578. In March that year, the Spanish fleet, led by De Sande himself, acting as Capitán General, started their journey towards Brunei. The expedition consisted of 200 Spaniards and 200 Mexicans, 1,500 Filipino natives and 300 Borneans. [6] The campaign was one of many, which also included action in Mindanao and Sulu. [7] [8] The racial make-up of the Christian side was diverse since it were usually made up of Mestizos, Mulattoes and Native Americans (Aztecs, Mayans and Incans) who were gathered and sent from Mexico and were led by Spanish officers who had worked together with native Filipinos in military campaigns across the Southeast Asia. [9] The Muslim side though was also equally racially diverse. In addition to the native Malay warriors, the Ottomans had repeatedly sent military expeditions to nearby Aceh. The expeditions were composed mainly of Turks, Egyptians, Swahilis, Somalis, Sindhis, Gujaratis and Malabars. [10] These expeditionary forces had also spread to other nearby Sultanates such as Brunei and had taught local mujahideen new fighting tactics and techniques on how to forge cannons. [11]

The fighting was fierce but Spain succeeded in invading the capital of Brunei at that time, Kota Batu, on 16 April 1578, with the help of two disgruntled Brunei noblemen Pengiran Seri Lela and Pengiran Seri Ratna. The former had travelled to Manila to offer Brunei as a tributary of Spain for help to recover the throne usurped by his brother, Saiful Rijal. [12] Spain agreed that if they succeeded in conquering Brunei, Pengiran Seri Lela would indeed become the Sultan, while Pengiran Seri Ratna would be the new Bendahara.

Sultan Saiful Rijal and Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Abdul Kahar were forced to flee to Meragang then to Jerudong, where they made plans to chase the conquering army away from Brunei. In the meantime, Spain suffered heavy losses due to a cholera or dysentery outbreak. [13] [14] They were so weakened by the illness that they decided to abandon Brunei to return to Manila on 26 June 1578, after just 72 days. Before doing so, they burned the mosque, a high structure with a five-tier roof. [15]

Pengiran Seri Lela died in August–September 1578, probably from the same illness that had afflicted his Spanish allies, although there was suspicion he could have been poisoned by the ruling Sultan. Seri Lela's daughter, Putri, a princess of Brunei who even though had a claim to the throne decided to leave with the Spanish group and abandon her crown and riches and went on to marry a Christian Tagalog (Tagalogs where from Manila and the Sultanate of Brunei had enslaved them when Sultan Bolkiah conquered their state, they grew weary of subjugation and joined the Spanish). The Christian Tagalog in question was a hidalgo (Knight) who proved his valor in combat, he was named Agustín de Legazpi of Tondo. Putri the imperial princess, bravely defied the Quranic punishment of stoning Muslim women who marry Non-Muslims to death and they fell deeply in love, they had children in the Philippines and lived a simple life in Manila. [16]

The local Brunei accounts differ greatly from the generally accepted view of events. The Castilian War entering the national conscience as a heroic episode, with the Spaniards being driven out by Bendahara Sakam, supposedly a brother of the ruling Sultan, and a thousand native warriors. This version, nevertheless, is disputed by most historians and considered a folk-hero recollection, probably created decades or centuries after. [17]

The aftermath

Notwithstanding their retreat from Brunei, Spain managed to keep Brunei from regaining a foothold in Luzon. [18] A few years later, relations improved and Spain began trading with the Sultanate, as evidenced by a letter from Don Francisco de Tello de Guzmán, Governor General of Manila, dated 1599 asking for a return of normal relationship. [19] The end of the Castilian War also allowed Spain to focus their attention on the Spanish-Moro war.

The Sultanate of Brunei would cease to be an empire at sea, eventually turning into a city-state, letting aside any previous territorial expansion policies, and had to give the territory to James Brooke because of the riots in Brunei territory until becoming one of the smallest nations in the world today. This new policy of sustained caution in their dealings with European powers allowed it to survive and become the oldest continuous Islamic political state. [20]

Notes

  1. Ollé, Manel (2000). La invencion de China / The invention of China: Percepciones Y Estrategias Filipinas Respecto a China Durante El Siglo XVI / Philippine Perceptions and Strategies Towards China During the Sixteenth Century. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 94. ISBN   3447043369 . Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  2. "Pusat Sejarah Brunei" (in Malay). Government of Brunei Darussalam. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  3. Agoncillo 1990 , p. 22
  4. McAmis 2002, p. 35.
  5. Nicholl, Robert (1975). European sources for the history of the Sultanate of Brunei in the Sixteenth Century. Muzium Brunei. OCLC   4777019.
  6. United States. War Dept (1903). Annual reports. 3. Government Printing Office. p. 379.
  7. McAmis 2002 , p. 33
  8. "Letter from Francisco de Sande to Felipe II, 1578". Archived from the original on 14 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  9. Letter from Fajardo to Felipe III From Manila, August 15 1620.(From the Spanish Archives of the Indies)("The infantry does not amount to two hundred men, in three companies. If these men were that number, and Spaniards, it would not be so bad; but, although I have not seen them, because they have not yet arrived here, I am told that they are, as at other times, for the most part boys, mestizos, and mulattoes, with some Indians (Native Americans). There is no little cause for regret in the great sums that reënforcements of such men waste for, and cost, your Majesty. I cannot see what betterment there will be until your Majesty shall provide it, since I do not think, that more can be done in Nueva Spaña, although the viceroy must be endeavoring to do so, as he is ordered.")
  10. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia by Nicholas Tarling p.39
  11. Cambridge illustrated atlas, warfare: Renaissance to revolution, 1492–1792 by Jeremy Black p.16
  12. Melo Alip 1964 , p. 201,317
  13. Frankham 2008 , p. 278
  14. Atiyah 2002 , p. 71
  15. Saunders 2002 , pp. 54–60
  16. Saunders 2002 , p. 57
  17. Saunders 2002 , pp. 57–58
  18. Oxford Business Group 2009 , p. 9
  19. "The era of Sultan Muhammad Hassan". The Brunei Times . 1 March 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  20. Donoso, Isaac (Autumn 2014). "Manila y la empresa imperial del Sultanato de Brunei en el siglo XVI". Revista Filipina, Segunda Etapa. Revista semestral de lengua y literatura hispanofilipina. (in Spanish). 2 (1): 23. Retrieved 29 December 2015.

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References