Today in Philippine history, June 3, 1568, Andres de Urdaneta, pilot of the Legazpi expedition and prelate of the Filipinas died in Mexico

Sunday February 21, 2016 ()

Andres de Urdaneta
(Friar Andres de Urdaneta)

On June 3, 1568, Andres de Urdaneta who accompanied Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in the expedition to the Filipinas died in the City of Mexico, Mexico at the age of 70. Urdaneta acted as pilot of this expedition and was later appointed prelate of the Filipinas islands with the title "Protector of the Indians".

Andres de Urdaneta was born in 1498, at Villafranca de Oria, Spain. He received a liberal education, but his parents dying, he chose a military career and won distinction in the wars of Germany and Italy, attaining the rank of captain. Returning to Spain, he devoted himself to the study of mathematics and astronomy, and became proficient in navigation.

Today in Philippine history, June 3, 1568, Andres de Urdaneta, pilot of the Legazpi expedition and prelate of the Filipinas died in Mexico

Joining the Loaisa's expedition in 1525, he was one of the survivors of this failed expedition. He remained in the Moluccas contending with the Portuguese there as prisoner. In 1535 he managed to return back to Spain. Going thence to Mexico in about 1540, he was offered command of the expedition then fitting out for the Moluccas, "but on terms which he could not accept", Ruy Lopez de Villalobos was given command of the fleet in his stead.

In 1552 Urdaneta became a friar, entering the Augustinian order, in which he made his profession on March 20, 1553 in the City of Mexico. There he remained until the fleet of Legazpi departed on November 21, 1564 from La Navidad, Mexico, for the Philippine Islands. Urdaneta accompanied this expedition, with four other friars of his order. In the following year he was dispatched back to Spain, to give an account to the government of what Legazpi had accomplished. This mission fulfilled, he desired to return to the Filipinas , but was dissuaded by his friends where he returned to Mexico and lived there until his death.

Urdaneta was endowed with a keen intellect, and held to his opinions and convictions with great tenacity. To his abilities and sagacity are ascribed much of Legazpi's success in the conquest of the Filipinas.

Sources:

  1. Expedition of Loaisa, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, Volume 2, Emma Helen Blair, A. H. Clark company, 1903, Cleveland, Ohio
  2. Andrés de Urdaneta, Encyclopædia Britannica online
  3. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons


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