Antonio de Morga Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas
Antonio de Morga Sánchez Garay (November 29, 1559-July 21, 1636, a renowned Spanish soldier, lawyer, and a high-ranking colonial official in the Philippines (from 1594 to 1604, was also a historian and published in 1609 Sucesos de las Islas, which was considered as one of the most important works on the early history of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. In 1869, the first English translation was published in London. Dr. Jose Rizal published another English translation with his annotation in 1890 in Paris and a prologue by Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt.
While in the Philippines he was the lieutenant-general of the Spanish governor-general and was appointed commander of the Spanish fleet that was hurriedly organized to combat Dutch intruders into Manila Bay in December 1600. Morga was the captain of the flagship San Diego while captain Olivier Van Noort commanded the Dutch flagship Mauritius. The two ships engaged in a battle for several hours until San Diego was defeated and sunk in Batangas waters. Both captains survived to write separate accounts of the battle.
The value of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas has long been recognized. It was a first-hand account of the early Spanish colonial venture into Asia and has since been re-edited on a number of occasions. Morga’s work is based on personal experiences, or on documentation from eye-witnesses of the events described. The Sucesos is the work of an honest observer, himself a major actor in the drama of his time, a versatile bureaucrat, who knew the workings of the administration from the inside. It is also the first history of the Spanish Philippines to be written by a layman, as opposed to the religious chroniclers. Morga’s book was praised, quoted, and plagiarized, by contemporaries or successors. It is a valuable account of the state of Filipino native culture upon the coming of the conquistadors.
LSP Lacsina and Rachelle Ureta/NMP MUCHD
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