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.
|Spanish Expedition to Borneo / "Castilian" War |
Expedición española a Borneo
|Bruneian Empire||pro-Spanish Bruneians|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Sultan Saiful Rijal||
Francisco de Sande|
Pengiran Seri Lela †
Pengiran Seri Ratna †
|1,000 Royal Guards||
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival to the Philippines of traders and proselytisers from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia.
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".
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. The campaign was one of many, which also included action in Mindanao and Sulu. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
Notwithstanding their retreat from Brunei, Spain managed to keep Brunei from regaining a foothold in Luzon. 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. 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.
The Battle of Cape St Vincent of 1337 took place on 21 July 1337 between a Castilian fleet commanded by Alfonso Jofre Tenorio and a Portuguese fleet led by the Luso-Genoese admiral Emanuele Pessagno (Manuel Pessanha). The fledgling Portuguese fleet was defeated, bringing a quick end to the brief Luso-Castilian war that begun in 1336.Battle of Manila (1500)
The Battle of Manilla (1500s) (Filipino: Labanan sa Maynila) was fought in Manila between forcess of the Kingdom of Tondo led by their Senapati, Lakan Sukwo, and the soldiers of the Sultanate of Brunei led by Sultan Bolkiah, the singing captain. The aftermath of the battle was the formation of an alliance between the newly established Kingdom of Maynila (Selurong) and the Sultanate of Brunei, to crush the power of the Kingdom of Tondo and the subsequent installation of the Pro-Islamic Rajah Sulaiman into power. Furthermore, Sultan Bolkiah's victory over Sulu and Seludong (modern day Manila), as well as his marriages to Laila Mecanai, the daughter of Sulu Sultan Amir Ul-Ombra (an uncle of Sharifa Mahandun married to Nakhoda Angging or Maharaja Anddin of Sulu), and to the daughter of Datu Kemin, widened Brunei's influence in the Philippines.Brunei
Brunei ( (listen) broo-NY), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace (Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: نڬارا بروني دارالسلام), 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.At the peak of the Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over most regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu Archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-day Manila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in the 1578 Castilian War.
During the 19th century, the Bruneian Empire began to decline. The Sultanate ceded Sarawak (Kuching) to James Brooke and installed him as the White Rajah, and it ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate and was assigned a British resident as colonial manager in 1906. After the Japanese occupation during World War II, in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962, a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British.Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, with the GDP increasing 56% from 1999 to 2008, transformed Brunei into an industrialised country. It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a "developed country". According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.Brunei Civil War
The Brunei Civil War was a civil war fought in the Bruneian Empire from 1660 to 1673.Bruneian Empire
The Bruneian Empire or Empire of Brunei ( brew-NYE), 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. Scholars have theorised that the Bruneian population originated from the Mongols who settled in Northern Borneo sometime before or after their failed invasion of Java in the 13th century. Bruneians coincidentally share a lot of Mongoloid features to this day.Castilian nationalism
Castilian nationalism, or "Castilianism" (Spanish: Castellanismo), is a political movement that advocates for the national recognition of Castile, and in some cases, its independence.
Some Castilian nationalists defend the traditions and values from the rebels of the Castilian War of the Communities, so they call themselves "comuneros". Some of them also contend for the union of the present-day Spanish Autonomous Communities of Cantabria, Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, La Rioja and Madrid.
April 23 is commemorated as Castilian National Day after the defeat of the comuneros at the Battle of Villalar, in 1521.Hernán Núñez
Hernán Núñez de Toledo y Guzmán (Valladolid, 1475 - Salamanca, 1553) was a Spanish humanist, classicist, philologist, and paremiographer. He was called el Comendador Griego, el Pinciano (from Pintia, the Latin name of Valladolid) or Fredenandus Nunius Pincianus. He earned his degree in 1490 from the Spanish College of San Clemente in Bologna. He returned to Spain in 1498 and served as a preceptor to the Mendoza family, in Granada. In this city, he studied classical languages as well as Hebrew and Arabic. Cardinal Gonzalo Ximénez de Cisneros hired him as censor of the cardinal’s press at Alcalá de Henares. There, Nuñez worked on the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, specifically on the Septuagint. Nuñez was named professor of rhetoric at the Universidad Complutense, which had recently been founded. He then taught Greek from 1519. During the Castilian War of the Communities, Nuñez sided with the comuneros but avoided execution. He then taught at the University of Salamanca, occupying the post once filled by Antonio de Nebrija. At the age of 50, he retired from teaching to dedicate himself fully to research, although he seems to have still given classes on Hebrew at the University of Salamanca.Juan Bravo
Juan Bravo (c. 1483, Atienza–24 April 1521, Villalar de los Comuneros) was a leader of the rebel Comuneros in the Castilian Revolt of the Comuneros.
His father was Gonzalo Ortega Bravo de Laguna, and his mother was María de Mendoza, daughter of the Count of Monteagudo. In 1504 he married Catalina del Río, they went to live in Segovia, and they had a daughter called María de Mendoza.
In 1510 he married a second time, to María Coronel, grand daughter of Abraham Seneor, a converso. They had two sons, Andrea Bravo de Mendoza and Juan Bravo de Mendoza.
He took part in the Castilian War of the Communities, and he was a leader of the rebel army which was defeated at the Battle of Villalar. He was captured, and beheaded the day after the battle.
There is now a monument to him in Segovia.Juan López de Padilla
Juan López de Padilla (1490 – April 24, 1521) was an insurrectionary leader in the Castilian War of the Communities, where the people of Castile made a stand against policies of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his Flemish ministers.Medina del Campo
Medina del Campo is a town located in the province of Valladolid, Castile and León autonomous region, 45 km from Valladolid. It is the capital of a farming area, far away from the great economic centres.Military history of the Philippines
The military history of the Philippines is characterized by wars between Philippine kingdoms and its neighbors in the precolonial era and then a period of struggle against colonial powers such as Spain and the United States, occupation by the Empire of Japan during World War II and participation in Asian conflicts post-World War II such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Philippines has also battled a communist insurgency and a secessionist movement by Muslims in the southern portion of the country.Navalcarnero
Navalcarnero is a municipality in the Community of Madrid, Spain, located about 31 km from Madrid.
Sights include the church of Inmaculada Concepción.Revolt of the Comuneros
The Revolt of the Comuneros (Spanish: Guerra de las Comunidades de Castilla, "War of the Communities of Castile") was an uprising by citizens of Castile against the rule of Charles I and his administration between 1520 and 1521. At its height, the rebels controlled the heart of Castile, ruling the cities of Valladolid, Tordesillas, and Toledo.
The revolt occurred in the wake of political instability in the Crown of Castile after the death of Queen Isabella I in 1504. Isabella's daughter Joanna succeeded to the throne. Due to Joanna's mental instability, Castile was ruled by the nobles and her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, as a regent. After Ferdinand's death in 1516, Joanna's sixteen-year-old son Charles was proclaimed king of both Castile and Aragon. Charles had been raised in the Netherlands with little knowledge of Castilian. He arrived in Spain in October 1517 accompanied by a large retinue of Flemish nobles and clerics. These factors resulted in mistrust between the new king and the Castilian social elites, who could see the threat to their power and status.
In 1519, Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor. He departed for Germany in 1520, leaving the Dutch cardinal Adrian of Utrecht to rule Castile in his absence. Soon, a series of anti-government riots broke out in the cities, and local city councils (Comunidades) took power. The rebels chose Charles' own mother, Queen Joanna, as an alternative ruler, hoping they could control her madness. The rebel movement took on a radical anti-feudal dimension, supporting peasant rebellions against the landed nobility. On April 23, 1521, after nearly a year of rebellion, the reorganized supporters of the emperor struck a crippling blow to the comuneros at the Battle of Villalar. The following day, rebel leaders Juan López de Padilla, Juan Bravo, and Francisco Maldonado were beheaded. The army of the comuneros fell apart. Only the city of Toledo kept alive the rebellion led by María Pacheco, until its surrender in October 1521.
The character of the revolution is a matter of historiographical debate. According to some scholars, the revolt was one of the first modern revolutions, notably because of the anti-noble sentiment against social injustice and its basis on ideals of democracy and freedom. Others consider it a more typical rebellion against high taxes and perceived foreign control. From the 19th century onwards, the revolt has been mythologized by various Spaniards, generally liberals who drew political inspiration from it. Conservative intellectuals have traditionally adopted more pro-Imperial stances toward the revolt, and have been critical of both the motives and the government of the comuneros. With the end of Franco's dictatorship and the establishment of the autonomous community of Castile and León, positive commemoration of the Comunidades has grown. April 23 is now celebrated as Castile and León Day, and the incident is often referred to in Castilian nationalism.Rodrigo Ponce de León, Duke of Cádiz
Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, Marquis de Cadiz (1443-1492) was one of the Castilian military leaders in the conquest of Granada. In 1482 he led the Castilian forces that captured Boabdil. He had earlier been one of the military leaders in the Castilian War of Succession. Juan Pacheco was his father-in-law. He was made 1st Duke of Cádiz in 1484 and succeeded briefly by his heir Francisca Ponce de León y de la Fuente.
Ponce de León is also related to:
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León II
Juan Ponce de León y LoayzaVillalar de los Comuneros
Villalar de los Comuneros is a municipality located in the province of Valladolid, Castile and León, Spain. According to the 2004 census (INE), the municipality had a population of 449 inhabitants.
In its vicinity there was a crucial defeat of the rebels in the Castilian War of the Communities in 1521, the Battle of Villalar.Villanueva de la Jara
Villanueva de la Jara, popularly called La Jara, is a town and municipality in the Manchuela Conquense cormarca, this in turn is part of the La Manchuela comarca, province of Cuenca, in Castile-La Mancha, Spain. It is known for the cultivation of portobellos which is the main economic activity of the locality and other edible fungis.War of the Castilian Succession
The War of the Castilian Succession, more accurately referred to as "Second War of Castilian Succession" or simply "War of Henry IV's Succession" to avoid confusion with other Castilian succession wars, was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile fought between the supporters of Joanna 'la Beltraneja', reputed daughter of the late monarch Henry IV of Castile, and those of Henry's half-sister, Isabella, who was ultimately successful.
The war had a marked international character, as Isabella was married to Ferdinand, heir to the Crown of Aragon, while Joanna was strategically married to King Afonso V of Portugal, her uncle, after the suggestion of her supporters. France intervened in support of Portugal, as they were rivals with Aragon for territory in Italy and Roussillon.
Despite a few initial successes by the supporters of Joanna, a lack of military aggressiveness by Afonso V and the stalemate in the Battle of Toro (1476) led to the disintegration of Joanna's alliance and the recognition of Isabella in the Courts of Madrigal-Segovia (April–October 1476):
"In 1476, immediately after the indecisive battle of Peleagonzalo [near Toro], Ferdinand and Isabella hailed the result as a great victory and called Courts at Madrigal. The newly gained prestige was used to win municipal support from their allies ..." (Marvin Lunenfeld).The war between Castile and Portugal alone continued. This included naval warfare in the Atlantic, which became more important: a struggle for maritime access to the wealth of Guinea (gold and slaves). In 1478, the Portuguese navy defeated the Castilians in the decisive Battle of Guinea.The war concluded in 1479 with the Treaty of Alcáçovas, which recognized Isabella and Ferdinand as sovereigns of Castile and granted Portugal hegemony in the Atlantic, with the exception of the Canary Islands. Joanna lost her right to the throne of Castile and remained in Portugal until her death.
This conflict has also been called the Second Castilian Civil War, but this name may lead to confusion with the other civil wars that involved Castile in the 14th and 15th centuries. Some authors refer to it as the War of Portugal; however, this name clearly represents a Castilian point of view and implicitly denies Juana's claim. At other times the term Peninsular War has been used, but it is easily confused with the Peninsular War of 1808–1814, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Some authors prefer the neutral expression War of 1475–1479.Íñigo Fernández de Velasco, 2nd Duke of Frías
Íñigo Fernández de Velasco, 2nd Duke of Frías, Grandee of Spain, (in full, Spanish: Don Íñigo Fernández de Velasco y López de Mendoza, segundo duque de la villa de Frías, cuarto conde de Haro, octavo Condestable de Castilla, mayorazgo y señor de la Casa de Velasco, Caballero del Toisón de Oro), (1462–17 September 1528), was a Spanish nobleman and Duke of Frias.
Fernández de Velasco was the son of Pedro Fernández de Velasco and of Mencía de Mendoza y Figueroa, and he inherited the titles from his older brother Bernardino, who had no legitimate male issue. He married María de Tovar, Lady of Berlanga, with whom he had six children.
Pedro Fernández de Velasco, 3rd Duke of Frías
Juan Sancho de Tovar, 1st Marquis of Berlanga
Mencía de Velasco
María de Velasco, nun
Isabel de Velasco
Juana de Velasco; married to Francisco Tomás de Borja y Centelles
Íñigo de Borja; married to Hélène de Bossu.He took part in the Castilian War of the Communities, and led the royalist army to victory at the Battle of Villalar.