Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day 2021 | Exchanges and Engagements: The Philippines from the Sixteenth to the Late Eighteenth Century
The Magellan-Elcano Expedition that reached the Philippines in 1521 did not only spur its eventual colonization, but it also paved the way for early globalization. The historic voyage ushered in the creation of multiple hubs of interaction not only between Europe and the Americas but with Asia as well. Inevitably, these interactions amongst various cultures and people resulted in significant changes in both the Iberian and Pacific worlds.
This year marks the 5th centenary celebration of the said expedition that saw the first circumnavigation of the world and the victory of the Filipinos in the Battle of Mactan. In line with the quincentennial commemoration, this year’s Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Conference aims to extend the discussion of last year’s theme by interrogating the “hispanization” of the Philippines from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century. Although it seeks to interrogate the historical and cultural ties between Spain and the Philippines, there is a need as well to locate the Philippine experience within the larger Iberian-Pacific realm. This examines the polycentric nature of Philippine-Spanish relations rather than view these dynamics from the lens of the traditional center-periphery binary. In this emerging historiographical direction that aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of these relations, the Philippines, traditionally viewed as the westernmost frontier of the Iberian empire, can now emerge at the center of commercial and cultural networks in the Pacific and play a pivotal role in the overall process of globalization.
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