Mata'pang

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Engraving showing the murder of San Vitores by Mata'pang (right) and Hurao (left).

Mata'pang (died 1680) was a Chamorro chief of the village of Tumon on the island of Guam. The chief's name meant "to be made pure by cleansing," in the ancient Chamorro language. Mata'pang is best known for murdering the Spanish priest Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, the first Christian missionary on Guam, and his Filipino companion, Saint Pedro Calungsod. Both were later beatified by the Roman Catholic Church; Calungsod was canonized on 19 October 2012.

Magalahi (Chief) Mata'pang was a member of the Chamorri, the highest caste of Chamorros (the indigenous people of Guam). He was initially baptised a Christian by San Vitores, but later turned against the Spanish mission and eventually became an apostate along with many other Chamorros because he saw and believed that the new religion was being used as a tool to control his people and obliterate Chamorro traditions and beliefs.

On 2 April 1672, Mata'pang and another pagan chief called Hurao, killed both San Vitores and Calungsod. San Vitores had earlier in the day baptised Mata'pang's infant daughter at the behest of the girl's Christian mother but against his wishes. Some say that Mata'pang had believed the holy water used in baptism had caused the recent deaths of babies due to European diseases.

Spanish soldiers attempted to hunt down those opposing the missionaries, and shortly after the murder, Hurao was caught and killed. Mata'pang was shot by a musket while he sailed past the beach of Tumon on a proa, eventually fleeing to the island of Rota immediately north of Guam. In 1675, Spanish soldiers burnt down a village while trying to capture him, but Mata'pang escaped. Eventually, the Spanish military governor, José de Quiroga increased efforts to subdue the Chamorros. Fearing the Governor, Chamorros on Rota stabbed Mata'pang while capturing him and transported him to Guam by proa. in 1680 The wounded chief died from his injuries during the journey, and his body was thrown into the waters off Hagåtña while his head was presented to the Spanish authorities.

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References[edit]

  • Rogers, Robert F. (1995). Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-1678-1
  • Hale'ta / Produced and Published by Political Status Education Coordinating Commission Vol. 1 Agana, Guam 1995 ISBN 1-883488-04-4

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