Today in Philippine History, November 1, 1542, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos started his expedition to the Philippines

Tuesday November 01, 2011 ()

On November 1, 1542, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos started his expedition to the Philippines from Barra de Navidad, New Spain or Nueva España (now Mexico). He was the brother-in-law of Antonio de Mendoza, then viceroy of New Spain, who appointed him to commander the expedition.

Villalobos reached Mindanao on February 2 of the following year, the first Spaniard to make explorations in that Island.

   Ruy Lopez de Villalobos
   (Ruy Lopez de Villalobos)

It was he who bestowed upon these islands the name "Felipinas" in honor of the Crown-prince, Don Felipe of Spain, who later became King Felipe II. He conferred this appellation sometime in 1543. Dr. Jose Rizal in his annotation to Morga's 1609 Philippine History, said that Villalobos initially gave the name "Felipinas" to one of the southern islands, Tandaya, now perhaps Leyte, and this name later was extended to the entire archipelago.

Pablo Pastells, S.J., said that the name "Felipinas" was confirmed by King Felipe II in a decree dated at Villadolid, Spain and directed to the (by now) viceroy of Nueva España, Don Luis de Velasco, on September 24, 1559.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese, then already established in the Moluccas, opposed any attempt of the Spaniards to settle in the neighboring islands and treated Villalobos as an enemy.

After two years of hardships and struggles, he was obliged to place himself in the hands of the Portuguese. He departed for Spain in one of their ships and was seized by a malignant fever which terminated his life at Amboina (Maluku) on Good Friday of 1546.

References:

  1. Philippine News Agency archives
  2. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, Volume 1, Number 2, page 48, Emma Helen Blair, James Alexander Robertson, Edward Gaylord Bourne, Cleveland, Ohio: The A. H. Clark company, 1903-09.
  3. Rizal's life and minor writings, Austin Craig, page 314, Philippine Education Co., Manila, 1927
  4. Photo credit: http://www.alainbernardenthailande.com/
  5. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, volume 1, number 12, page 79, Emma Helen Blair , James Alexander Robertson, Edward Gaylord Bourne, Cleveland, Ohio: The A. H. Clark company


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