Philippines Precolonial Native Canons
Manila was witness to the evolution of warfare and the weapons of war in its more than 500 years of existence.
Here are some examples of weapons from each important time period in Manila’s history prior to the Second World War.
Special thanks to Sir Alexandre Avila of the Republica Filipina Reenactment Group for additional information regarding arms of the 19th century and the Filipino-American War.
Weapons of war were already present in Maynila before the arrival of the Spaniards. Fights, raids, and wars were already being fought between warring barangays and communities in those pre-colonial times.
What Maynila boasted, aside from its warships, was its native canons. Know popularly as lantakas, these small-caliber bronze canons were ornate but effective weapons of war. They fired cannonballs depending on the caliber of the canon and were mounted on ships, as well as forts such as the fort of Rajah Sulayman in Maynila.
Spanish accounts mention that Maynila’s fort was defended with pieces of artillery. It was actually through the openings for the canons that Spanish soldiers were able to storm and destroy the fort.
The Spaniards will encounter these canons as their empire-building brought them in contact with other Muslim sultanates and communities in Mindanao.
You may want to read: