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A History of the Philippines by David P. Barrows

Cause of Settlement and Conquest of the Philippines


of the Reformation in the Roman Catholic Church.--The reform movement, which lasted through the century, brought about a great improvement in the Roman Catholic Church. Many, who remained devoted to Roman Catholic orthodoxy, were zealous for administrative reform. A great assembly of Churchmen, the Council of Trent, for years devoted itself to legislation to correct abuses. The Inquisition was revived and put into force against Protestants, especially in the dominions of Spain, and the religious orders were reformed and stimulated to new sacrifices and great undertakings.

But greater, perhaps, than any of these agencies in re-establishing the power of the Pope and reviving the life of the Roman Catholic Church was the organization of a new order, the "Society of Jesus." The founder was a Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola, The Jesuits devoted themselves especially to education and missionary activity. Their schools soon covered Europe, while their mission stations were to be found in both North and South America, India, the East Indies, China, and Japan.

The Spanish Missionary.--The Roman Catholic Church, having lost a large part of Europe, thus strove to make up the loss by gaining converts in heathen lands. Spain, being the power most rapidly advancing her conquests abroad, was the source of the most tireless missionary effort. From the time of Columbus, every fleet that sailed to gain plunder and lands for the Spanish

kingdom carried bands of friars and churchmen to convert to Christianity the heathen peoples whom the sword of the soldier should reduce to obedience.

"The Laws of the Indies" gave special power and prominence to the priest. In these early days of Spain's colonial empire many priests were men of piety, learning, and unselfish devotion. Their efforts softened somewhat the violence and brutality that often marred the Spanish treatment of the native, and they became the civilizing agents among the peoples whom the Spanish soldiers had conquered.

In Paraguay, California, and the Philippines the power and importance of the Spanish missionary outweighed that of the soldier or governor in the settlement of those countries and the control of the native inhabitants. Churchmen, full of the missionary spirit, pressed upon the king the duties of the crown in advancing the cross, and more than one country was opened to Spanish settlement through the enthusiasm of the priest.



Cause of Settlement and Conquest of the Philippines.--The previous Spanish expeditions whose misfortunes have been narrated, seemed to have proved to the Court of Spain that they could not drive the Portuguese from the Moluccas. But to the east of the Moluccas lay great unexplored archipelagoes, which might lie within the Spanish demarcation and which might yield spices and other valuable articles of trade; and as the Portuguese had made no effective occupation of the Philippines, the minds of Spanish conquerors turned to this group also as a coveted field of conquest, even though it was pretty well understood that they lay in the latitude of the Moluccas, and so were denied by treaty to Spain.

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