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Tondo

also referred to as Tundo, Tundun, Tundok, Lusung


a fortified kingdom which was located in the Manila Bay area, specifically north
of the Pasig River, on Luzon island
one of the settlements mentioned by the Philippines' earliest historical record, the
Laguna Copperplate Inscription.
originally an Indianized kingdom in the 10th century
built upon and capitalized on being central to the long-existing ancient regional
trading routes throughout the archipelago to include among others, initiating
diplomatic and commercial ties with China during the Ming Dynasty.
became an established force in trade throughout Southeast Asia and East Asia.
Tondo's regional prominence further culminated during the period of its
associated trade and alliance with Brunei's Sultan Bolkiah, when around 1500 its
peak age as a thalassocratic force in the northern archipelago was realized.
When the Spanish first arrived in Tondo in 1570 and defeated the local rulers in
the Manila Bay area in 1591, Tondo came under the administration of Manila (a
Spanish fort built on the remains of Kota Seludong), ending its existence as an
independent state. This subjugated Tondo continues to exist today as a district of
the city of Manila.

INDIAN INFLUENCES
Tondo, referred to also as Tundo, Tundun and Tundok, was a fortified Philippine
kingdom whose capital was located north of the Pasig river which flows into the Manila
Bay on the archi-pelagos largest island of Luzon.
It is one of the older settlements mentioned in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription
which dates back to 900 AD. Tondo was an Indianized kingdom in the 10th century. It
was based essentially on Hindu and Buddhist cultural and economic influences that
permeated most of Southeast Asia at the time. Despite being culturally akin to Hindu
cultures, kingdoms like Tondo were truly indigenous and independent of India but they
nevertheless enthusiastically adopted elements of raja-dharma (Hindu and Bud-dhist
beliefs, codes and court practices) to legitimate their own rule and constructed cities.
Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia developed a close affinity with India by internalizing Indian religious, cultural and economic practices without significant direct input
from Indian rulers of the sub-continent themselves. A present-day example of an
Indianized culture that has survived is that now found on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

Balinese are people of Malay stock whose majority practice the Hindu religion in a
somewhat familiar but localised form one amidst a modern nation which is otherwise
dominated by Islamic religious beliefs.
An obvious attribute of the cultural links between Southeast Asia and the Indian
subcon-tinent is the spread and absorption of ancient Indian Vedic/Hindu and Buddhist
philoso-phies and culture into present-day nation states such as Myanmar, Thailand,
Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia. Indian scripts are also found in Southeast Asian islands
ranging from Sumatra, Java, Bali, south Sulawesi and most of the Philippine
Archipelago.

DOMINANT REGIONAL FORCE


What is now known about the Kingdom of Tondo is that it initia-ted diplomatic ties with
China during the Ming Dynasty which ruled China from 1368 to 1644 AD, following the
collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming Annals record the arrival of an
envoy from Luzon in 1373 AD. From these records, it is ap-parent that the rulers of
Tondo were acknowledged not as mere chieftains, but as kings. This reference places
Tondo into the larger context of Chinese trade with the peoples of the Philippine
archipelago and explains why it also became a do-minant force in regional trade.
From that view-point, Luzon and Tondo thus became a centre from which Chinese
goods were traded all across Southeast Asia. Chinese trade was so strict that Luzon
traders car-rying these goods were considered Chinese by the people they
encountered.
Cultural links between what are now China and the Philippines date back to the
peopling of these lands. But the earliest archeological evidence of trade between the
Philippines and China takes the form of pottery and porcelain pieces dated to the Tang
(618-907 AD) and Song (960-1279 AD) Dynasties. Tondos existence has already been

established and the archeological evidence indicates that both it and the older Namayan
Kingdom in Luzon were part of this trade.
The rise of the Ming dynasty also witnessed the arrival of the first Chinese settlers in the
Philippines. They were well received and lived together in harmony with the existing
local population eventually intermarrying with them such that today, numerous
Philippine people have Chinese blood running in their veins.

THE BRUNEIAN CONNECTION


Tondos regional prominence in trade and alliance with Brunei Darussalams Sultan
Bolkiah (1485 AD-1524 AD), however, led to its peak age as a maritime trading force
even as relations bet-ween them date farther back in history. The political, economic,
religious as well as socio-cultural relations between these two countries have existed for
more than five centuries and height-ened even more during the period when the
Spanish, the Portuguese and the Dutch were contesting supremacy over territories
comprising the Malay Peninsula and large swaths of Southeast Asia. In that aspect, a
more important relationship had been cemented through a stronger bond of bloodbased affinities between the Bruneian royal families with mem-bers of the Filipino
nobility of the 15th century.
The Kingdom of Tondo became so prosperous that around the year 1500 AD, Sultan
Bol-kiah (an ancestor of the present ruling Sultan Bolkiah Hassanal) merged with it by
a royal marriage of Gat Lontok, who later became Rajah (Lord) of Namayan, and
Dayang Kay-langitan (or Princess of the Heavens) to establish a city with the Malay
name of Seludong (later on to become the city of Maynila) situated on the opposite bank
of the Pasig River. The traditional rulers of Tondo the Lakandula (literally, the Lords
of the Palace), re-tained their titles and property but the real political power now
resided in the House of So-liman, the Rajahs of Maynila whose line eventually formed
the Tagalog Maginoo ruling caste of Tondo.

Years after Magellans death in 1521 at the hand of a tribal


chieftain named Lapu-lapu, the Spanish belatedly returned in force 50-years later and
defeated the local rulers whose domin-ions surrounded the Manila Bay by 1591. Spanish
records men-tion three rulers who played significant roles after the arrival of Miguel
Lopez de Legaspi y Gurruchtegui (1502-1572 AD) on the island of Cebu in the Visayas
region of the Philippines to-wards the latter part of 1570 but more particularly related
to his two much younger Lieutenant-commanders Martn de Goiti and Juan de
Salcedo both who, pursuant to the orders of King Philip of Spain to colonize the
Philippines, ex-plored the northern region of Luzon (see map) where the Kingdoms of
Tondo, Namayan and Maynila were all situated.

The Filipino rulers at that time were Rajah Matanda referred to


as El Viego (the Old Man), and also known as Ache; Rajah Lakan Dula; and, their
nephew Rajah Sulayman III referred to as Rajah Mura or the Young Rajah. Rajah
Matanda and Rajah Sulayman III were joint-rulers of the Malay-speaking Moslem
Kingdom of Maynila, while Rajah Lakan Dula ruled over the Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom
of Tondo.
The Spanish conquest of Luzon culminated in the Battle of Bankusay which occurred on
03 June 1571. After that episode, the area comprising the Kingdoms of Tondo and
Namayan also came under the administration of Spanish Manila ending their existence
as indepen-dent states. Under Spain, the City of Manila became the colonial entrept in
the Far East. Tondo as a place today continues to exist as a district of the city of Manila,
which is part of the larger Metro Manila.

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