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Kahariang Tundun or Kaharian ng Tondo
(Kingdom of Tondo)
Former Philippine Kingdom
1st millennium–1589 AD


Capital Tondo
Religion Hinduism, Islam and Shamanism
Government Rajahnate monarchy
 - 1390- Rajah Gambang
 - 1430-1450 Rajah Lontok
 - 1558-1571 Rajah Lakandula
Historical era High Middle Ages
 - Established 1st millennium
 - Conquest by Spain 1589 AD
History of Philippines
Philippine History Collage.jpg

This article is part of a series
Early History(pre-900)
Tabon Man
Arrival of the Negritos
Austronesian expansion
Angono Petroglyphs
Classical Epoch (900-1521)
Country of Mai
Dynasty of Tondo
Confederation of Madyaas
Kingdom of Maynila
Kingdom of Namayan
Rajahnate of Butuan
Rajahnate of Cebu
Sultanate of Maguindanao
Sultanate of Sulu
Colonial Era (1565-1946)
Spanish period (1521–1898)
British Rule
Spanish East Indies
Philippine Revolution (1896-1898)
First Philippine Republic
American period (1898–1946)
Philippine–American War
Commonwealth of the Philippines
Japanese Occupation (1942–1944)
Second Philippine Republic
Contemporary Period (1946-present)
Third Republic
Marcos Dictatorship
Fifth Republic
Military history
Communications history
Demographic history
Transportation history

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Tondo, also referred to as Tundo, Tundun, Tundok, (Chinese characters: 東都) was a Philippine fortified kingdom whose capital was located in the Manila Bay area, specifically north of the Pasig river, on Luzon island. It is one of the settlements mentioned by the Philippines' earliest historical record, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. Originally an Indianized kingdom in the 10th century, Tondo initiated diplomatic ties with China during the Ming Dynasty, and thus became a dominant force in regional trade. (See Luções). Its regional prominence in trade and alliance with Brunei's Sultan Bolkiah in 1500 led to its peak age as a thalassocratic force in the northern archipelago. 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.


The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (900 A.D.)

Laguna Copperplate Inscription (circa 900 AD)

The first reference to Tondo occurs in the Philippines' oldest historical record — the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI). This legal document, written in Kawi, dates back to Saka 822 - the year 900 AD. The first part of the document says that:

On this occasion, Lady Angkatan, and her brother whose name is Bukah, the children of the Honourable Namwaran, were awarded a document of complete pardon from the Commander in Chief of Tundun, represented by the Lord Minister of Pailah, Jayadewa.

Apparently, the document was a sort of receipt that acknowledged that the man named Namwaran had been cleared of his debt to the chief of Tundo, which in today's measure would be about 926.4 grams of gold.[1]

The article mentioned that other places in the Philippines and their chiefs: Pailah (Lord Minister Jayadewa), Puliran Kasumuran (Lord Minister), Binwangan (unnamed). It has been suggested that Pailah , Puliran Kasumuran, and Binwangan are the towns of Paila, Pulilan, and Binwangan in Bulacan,[1] but it has also been suggested that Pailah refers to the town of Pila, Laguna. More recent linguistic research of the Old Malay grammar of the document suggests the term Puliran Kasumuran refers to the large lake now known as Laguna de Ba'y (Puliran), citing the root of kasumuran, *sumur as Old Malay for well, spring or freshwater source. Hence ka-sumur-an defines a water-source (in this case the freshwater lake of Puliran itself).[2] While the document does not describe the exact relationship of the chief of Tundun with these other chiefs, it at least suggests that he was of higher rank.[3]

Diplomacy with the Ming dynasty

The next historical reference to Ancient Tondo can be found in the Ming Annals (明史 [2]), which record the arrival of an envoy from Luzon to the Ming Dynasty (大明朝) in 1373 AD.[4] Her rulers, based in their capital, Tondo (traditional Chinese: pinyin: dōngdū) were acknowledged not as mere chieftains, but as kings ().[5] This reference places Tondo into the larger context of Chinese trade with the peoples of the Philippine archipelago.

Theories such as Wilhelm Solheim's Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) suggest that cultural links between what are now China and the nations of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, date back to the peopling of these lands.[6] But the earliest archeological evidence of trade between the Philippines and China takes the form of pottery and porcelain pieces dated to the Tang and Song Dynasties.[7]

The rise of the Ming dynasty saw 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 in their veins.[7]

This connection was important enough that when the Ming Dynasty emperors enforced the Hai jin laws which closed China to maritime trade from 1371 to about 1567, trade with the Philippines was officially allowed to continue, masqueraded as a tribute system, through the seaport at Fuzhou.[8] Aside from this, a more extensive clandestine trade from Guangzhou and Quanzhou also brought in Chinese goods to Luzon.[9]

Luzon and Tondo thus became a center from which Chinese goods were traded all across Southeast Asia. Chinese trade was so strict that Luzon traders carrying these goods were considered "Chinese" by the people they encountered.[9]

This powerful presence in the trade of Chinese goods in 16th century East Asia was also felt strongly by Japan. The Ming Empire treated Luzon traders more favorably than Japan by allowing them to trade with China once every two years, while Japan was only allowed to trade once every 10 years. Japanese merchants often had to resort to piracy in order to obtain much sought after Chinese products such as silk and porcelain. Famous 16th century Japanese merchants and tea connoisseurs like Shimai Soushitsu (島井宗室) and Kamiya Soutan (神屋宗湛) established branch offices on the island of Luzon. One famous Japanese merchant, Luzon Sukezaemon (呂宋助左衛門), went as far as to change his surname from Naya (納屋) to Luzon (呂宋).

Alliance with Brunei (1500 A.D.)

Tondo became so prosperous that around the year 1500 AD, the Kingdom of Brunei under Sultan Bolkiah merged it by a royal marriage of Gat Lontok, who later became Rajah of Namayan and Dayang Kaylangitan to established a city with the Malay name of Selurong (later to become the city of Maynila)[10][11] on the opposite bank of Pasig River. The traditional rulers of Tondo, the Lakandula, retained their titles and property but the real political power now resides in the House of Soliman, the Rajahs of Manila.[12]

The Spanish advent (1570–1591)

Spanish colonizers first came to the Manila Bay area and its settlements in June 1570, while Governor-General Legazpi was searching for a suitable place to establish a capital for the new territory. Having heard of a prosperous Muslim settlement on the island of Luzon, Legaspi had sent Martin de Goiti to investigate. When Maynila's ruler, Rajah Sulaiman II, refused to submit to Spanish sovereignty, De Goiti attacked. He eventually defeated Soliman, claimed Maynila in the name of the King of Spain, then returned to report his success to Legazpi, who was then based on the island of Panay.

Legazpi himself returned to take the settlement on June 19, 1591. When the Spanish forces approached the natives burned Maynila down and fled to Tondo and other neighboring towns.

Legaspi began constructing a fort on the ashes of Maynila and made overtures of friendship to Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, who accepted. The defeated Sulaiman refused to submit to the Spaniards, but failed to get the support of Lakandula or of the Pampangan and Pangasinan settlements to the north. When Sulaiman and a force of Tagalog warriors attacked the Spaniards in the battle of Bangcusay, he was finally defeated and killed.

This defeat marked the end of rebellion against the Spanish amongst the Pasig river settlements, and Lakandula's Tondo surrendered its sovereignty, submitting to the authority of the new Spanish capital, Manila.[13]

Historical theories associated with Ancient Tondo


Lakandula as a title

A portrayal of the Tagalog Maginoo class. From the Boxer Codex, c.1595 AD. Maginoo like these would have formed the ruling caste of Tondo at the time.

While most historians think of Lakan Dula as a specific person, with Lakan meaning "chief" and Dula being a proper name, one theory suggests that Lakandula is a hereditary title for the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Tondo.[14]

The heirs of Lakandula

In 1587 Magat Salamat, one of the children of Lakan Dula, and Augustin de Legazpi, Lakan Dula's nephew, and the lords of the neighboring areas of Tondo, Pandacan, Marikina, Candaba, Navotas and Bulacan were executed for secretly conspiring to overthrow the Spanish colonizers. Stories were told that Magat Salamat's descendants settled in Hagonoy, Bulacan and many of his descendants spread from this area.[15]

David Dula y Goiti, a grandson of Lakan Dula with a Spanish mother escaped the persecution of the descendants of Lakan Dula by settling in Isla de Batag, Northern Samar and settled in the place now called Candawid (Kan David). Due to hatred for the Spaniards, he dropped the Goiti in his surname and adopted a new name David Dulay. He was eventually caught by the Guardia Civil based in Palapag and was executed together with seven followers. They were charged with planning to attack the Spanish detachment.[15]

Notable monarchs of Tondo

Name Title held From Until
Lakan Timamanukum 1150? ?
Alon Rajah Alon 1200? ?
Gambang Rajah Gambang 1390? 1420?
Lontok Rajah Lontok 1430? 1450?
Kaylangitan/Kalangitan Dayang Kaylangitan, Queen of Namayan and Tondo 1450? ?
Sulayman Rajah Sulayman I 1515 1558
Matanda Rajah Matanda or Rajah Sulayman II or Rajah Ache, King of Namayan 1558 1571
Lakan Dula Rajah Lakan Dula, King of Tondo and Sabag 1558? 1571?
Sulayman II Rajah Sulayman III, King of Tondo, Namayan and Sabag 1571 1575
Magat Salamat 1575 1589

Connection to Mayi

There was a local Kingdom named Mayi, whose ruler used 30 people as human sacrifices in his funeral, the subordinates of Mayi were Baipuyan(Babuyan Islands),Bajinong(Busuanga),Liyin (Present day Lingayen, Pangasinan) and Lihan(Present day Lubang Island).[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Morrow, Paul (2006-07-14). "The Laguna Copperplate Inscription". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  2. ^ Tiongson, Jaime (2006-11-29). "Pailah is Pila, Laguna". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  3. ^ Santos, Hector (1996-10-26). "The Laguna Copperplate Inscription". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  4. ^ 明史
  5. ^ Volume 5 of 東西洋考 (A study of the Eastern and Western Oceans) mentions that Luzon first sent tribute to Yongle Emperor in 1406. [1]
  6. ^ Solheim, Wilhelm G., II (2006). Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. pp. 316. ISBN 971-542-508-9. 
  7. ^ a b Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of the Philippines (October 15 2003). "Embassy Updates: China-Philippine Friendly Relationship Will Last Forever". Press release. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  8. ^ Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (1999). Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press. pp. page 211. ISBN 052166991X. 
  9. ^ a b San Agustin, Gaspar de (in Bilingual (Spanish and English)). Conquistas de las Islas Philipinas 1565-1615. Translated by Luis Antonio Mañeru (1st bilingual ed [Spanish and English] ed.). Intramuros, Manila, 1998: Pedro Galende, OSA. 
  10. ^ *Scott, William Henry (1994). Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. ISBN 971-550-135-4. 
  11. ^ del Mundo, Clodualdo (September 20, 1999). "Ako'y Si Ragam (I am Ragam)". Diwang Kayumanggi. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  12. ^ Santiago, Luciano P.R., The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman [1571-1898]: Genealogy and Group Identity, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18 [1990]
  13. ^ Gardner, Robert (1995-20-04). "Manila - A History". Philippine Journeys. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  14. ^ Santiago, Luciano P.R., The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman [1571-1898]:Genealogy and Group Identity, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18 [1990].
  15. ^ a b "lakandula". Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  16. ^ Wang Zhenping (2008). "Reading Song-Ming Records on the Pre-colonial History of the Philippines". Journal of East Asian Cultural Interaction Studies 1: 249-260. ISSN 1882-7756. 

Additional reading

  • Joaquin, Nick (1988). Culture and History. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc.. pp. 411. ISBN 971-27-1300-8. 
  • Jocano, F. Landa (2001). Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage. Quezon City: Punlad Research House, Inc.. ISBN 971-622-006-5. 
  • Scott, William Henry (1992). Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-0524-7. 
  • Ongpin Valdes, Cynthia, "Pila in Ancient Times", Treasures of Pila, Pila Historical Society Foundation Inc. 
  • Santiago, Luciano, "Pila: The Noble Town", Treasures of Pila, Pila Historical Society Foundation Inc. 

Bolkiah Era

Spanish Era


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