Monday, July 4, 2011

10 Notable Kingdoms Established During the Pre-colonial Philippines

Not known to many Filipinos, several kingdoms have been established somewhere else in the archipelago before the Spaniards conquered the Philippines.

Cultural achievements of pre-colonial PhilippinesImage via Wikipedia

1.) Kingdom of Namayan

Ming dynasty porcelain

The Kingdom of Namayan is an ancient kingdom that dominated the area around the upper portion of the Pasig River and the coast of Laguna Lake. It is older than the Kingdom of Tondo and Kingdom of Maynila.  This kingdom, which was formed by a confederation of barangays, reached its peak in 1175 CE. It is also alternately referred to as the Kingdom of Sapa, Maysapan or Nasapan after its capital which goes by those names.

2.) Kingdom of Maynila

A portrayal of the Tagalog Maginoo class. From the Boxer Codex, c.1595 CE.

The Kingdom of Maynila, or more popularly known as Kingdom of Seludong or Saludung, is one of the 3 kingdoms that dominated the area now known as Metro Manila before the coming of the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century. After the Spanish colonization, it became Manila, capital of the Philippines. This kingdom was established south of the Pasig River area.

3.) Kingdom of Tondo

Laguna Copperplate Inscription (circa 900 CE)

The Kingdom of Tondo is one of the 3 kingdoms which were established in the Pasig River area before the arrival of the Spaniards. It is also referred to as Tundo, Tundun or Tundok. This fortified kingdom, whose capital was located in the Manila Bay area, north of the Pasig River area, was known to have diplomatic ties with China during the Ming Dynasty. It traded with Brunei and allied itself to Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei.

4.) Kingdom of Butuan

A golden vestment worn by the Hindu Brahmin Caste, found in Butuan Archeological Digs.

Another kingdom established before the coming of the Spaniards is the Kingdom of Butuan in Mindanao. This ancient Indianized kingdom centered on the present island city of Butuan was known for its mining of gold. The kingdom’s gold products were traded to Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Persia and Thailand.

5.) Country of Mai

Chinese porcelain-ware, Kangxi era (1662-1722), Qing Dynasty. Ancient Chinese porcelain excavated in Mindoro, Philippines; proves the existence of trade between the island and Imperial China.

The Country of Mai was a pre-Hispanic Philippine island state founded around 1225 in Mindoro. This kingdom traded with the kingdom of Ryukyu to the Yamato Empire. It had established a trade relationship with China and as evidence, a book entitled Chu Fan Chih, described that Fukien province traded with Countr4y Mai.

6.) Sultanate of Sulu

The official greater coat of arms of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu

The Sultanate of Sulu Dar al Islam is one of the most popular pre-Hispanic kingdoms established in the Philippines. This sultanate was an Islamic Tausug state that governed several islands of the Sulu Sea in Mindanao. This sultanate was founded in 1457 by Sayyid Abu Bakr Abirin, an Arab explorer and religious scholar.

7.) Sultanate of Maguindanao

Flag of Maguindanao Sultanate

Another well-known sultanate established in Mindanao prior to the arrival of the Spaniards is the Sultanate of Maguindanao. This Bangsamoro state that ruled parts of the island of Mindanao in the southern part of the country had established a vast kingdom that stretched from the Zamboanga peninsula to the bay of Saranggani. During its peak, the sultanate covered the entire island of Mindanao including nearby islands.

8.) Lanao Confederation

Sarimanok is a legendary bird of the Maranao that has become a ubiquitous symbol of their art

The Sultanates of Lanao is a kingdom established in the 16th century in Mindanao. The founding of this sultanate was through the influence of Shariff Kabungsuan. This sultanate is uniquely decentralized compared to the sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao

9.) Confederation of Madya-as
The pre-Hispanic Philippine state known as the Confederation of Madya-as within the Visayas island region was established in the 13th century by rebel datus or chiefs led by Datu Puti, who had fled from Rajah Makatunao of Borneo. Datu Puti established a semi-democratic confederation and reached its peak during the 15th century under the leadership Datu Padojinog. The kingdom warred against the Chinese Empire, the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu, the Rajahnate of Butuan and was feared by the people of the Kingdom of Tondo and Maynila. The confederation was toppled down by the Spaniards in 1569.

10.) Rajahnate of Cebu
Cebu City is regarded as the oldest Philippine city. Prior to the coming of the Spaniards, a classical state is already in existence - the Rajahnate of Cebu. The kingdom was established by Sri Lumay who was also known as Rajamuda Lumaya. He is a minor prince of the Chola dynasty that also occupied Sumatra during those days. This rajahnate allied with Butuan Rajahnate and warred with the Sultanate of Sulu.

There were several kingdoms established befored the arrival of the Spaniards. The above list were amongst the most notable once.

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