On this day, April 5

pangasinan map
Pangasinan map (1959)

On this day, April 5

Today in History, April 5, in 1580, 8 years after being organized into an encomienda, Pangasinan was organized under the Spanish colonial government into a province (Provincia de PangasinĂ¡n) ruled by an alcalde mayor. This was the acknowledged date of the founding of the said Philippine province.

Prior to the Spanish incursions on Philippines, the area that would be known as Pangasinan had multiple polities led by chiefs who were organized into a complex alliance. Many of these polities have long traded with China, India, and other foreign traders.

Upon Spanish conquest of what would be the Philippines, beginning in 1565, and the establishment of a colonial capital in 1571, Pangasinan was organized into 5 encomiendas in 1572. These were territories where an encomendero could extract labor/tribute from inhabitants.

An encomendero was a conqueror under the Spanish king who was “entrusted” with a land (encomienda) by the crown for his service. In exchange for the labor he would get from the inhabitants in the area, he was commanded to proselytize the Catholic faith to them and provide protection.

Due to Pangasinan’s strategic location, upon being repulsed by the Spanish contingent in Manila in attempts to invade it in 1574, Limahong took refuge and temporarily built a settlement in Pangasinan. Spanish forces again repulsed him and his men under Juan de Salcedo.

Upon its establishment as a province on this day, April 5, in 1580, Pangasinan was one of the earliest provinces established by the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines. Its 1st alcalde mayor (equivalent to provincial governor) was Don Pedro Manrique. At the time it included Zambales, parts of Tarlac, and La Union.

The name “Pangasinan” comes from the root word “asin” (salt), as the production of salt in the coastal province has remained a vital source of livelihood since pre-colonial times. Pangasinan has its own language, just one of the 130 languages (not dialects) spoken in the Philippines. (@indiohistorian | Kristoffer Passion)

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