Philippine History Trivia


Battle of Mactan Marks Start of Organized Filipino Resistance Vs. Foreign Aggression


The Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521 marked the first organized resistance of the Filipinos against foreign invaders. Raha Lapu-Lapu, a chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Spanish sailors under Portuguese sea captain and explorer Ferdinand Magellan.





















The site of the battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521 where Datu Lapu-Lapu killed Ferdinand Magellan on the island of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu is the first Filipino to resist foreign invaders.

Raha Lapu-Lapu

It is widely believed that Humabon and Lapu-Lapu bore grudges toward each other and were constantly fighting for control of land. Some historians say that Magellan went to Mactan to subdue Datu Lapu-Lapu who refused to pay tribute to the Spanish colonizers.

According to the accounts of Antonio Pigaffeta, Magellanís voyage chronicler, the Portuguese sea captain deployed 48 armored men, less than half his crew, with swords, axes, shields, cross-bows and guns. Filipino historians note that because of the rocky outcroppings and coral near the beach, he could not land on Mactan. Forced to anchor far from shore, Magellan could not bring his shipís firepower to bear on Lapu-Lapuís warriors.

As the crew were retreating, Pigaffeta records that Magellan was surrounded by warriors. His crew had to wade through the surf to make landing, Pigaffeta narrates. Eight crewmen were killed. Pigafetta, the supernumerary on the voyage who later returned to Seville, Spain, records Lapu-Lapu had at least 1,500 native warriors in the battle.

Historians debate the accuracy of this report, of which the tone and exaggeration was questionable. His allies Rajah Humabon and Datu Zula were said not to have been part of the battle at all, and would have watched from a distance. Pigafetta says Magellan was wounded on the leg, while still on the surf, with a poison arrow or lance.

To date there is no official record of what happened, so no one knows the real story of how the firepower of the Spaniards was defeated by the native warriors of Lapu-Lapu.óSource:

After Magellan landed on the island of Homonhon on March 16, 1521, he parleyed with Rajah Calambu of Limasawa, who guided him to Cebu on April 7. Through Magellanís interpreter, a Malay servant by the name of Enrique, Rajah Humabon of Cebu became an ally. Impressed by Magellanís artillery (consisting of guns, swords, body armor, 12 cannons, and 50 cross-bows), Rajah Humabon and Datu Zula suggested to Magellan that they go to the nearby island of Mactan and punish Lapu-Lapu.

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