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Sanglay (Sanglaye, Sanglay Mestizo, Mestisong Sanglay, Mestizo de Sanglay or Chinese mestizo; plural: Sanglays or Sanglayes), is an archaic term used in the Philippines to describe and classify a person of pure Chinese ancestry, while mestizo de sanglay was used to refer to a person of mixed Chinese and indigenous ancestry (the latter were referred to as Indio during the Spanish Colonial Period). Sanglay mestizo was a term widely used in the 16th to 19th-century Spanish Philippines to differentiate ethnic Chinese from other types of island mestizos (such as those of mixed Indio and Spanish ancestry, who were much fewer in number.) The Chinese mestizos were granted the legal status of colonial subjects of Spain, with certain rights and privileges denied the pure-blooded Chinese immigrants (sanglays).
Today, Tsinito (from Spanish, Chinito, literally, "little Chinese man") is widely used to describe a Sanglay, but it is also commonly applied to Filipinos of other East Asian ancestries (Japanese, Korean, etc.) who possess similar physical features. Tsinoy or Chinese Filipino, on the other hand, is used to refer to Filipinos specifically of Chinese descent. However, among Chinese-Filipino mestizos, many use and prefer the generic term mestizo.
Sanglay comes directly from the Hokkien Chinese word seng-li (Chinese: 生理; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: seng-lí), meaning "business". Hokkien, also known as Min-nan, Amoy, Hoklo, or Holo, is the dominant language of Southern Fujian and northeastern Guangdong provinces in China, as well as Taiwan. The majority of Chinese sojourners, traders, and settlers in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period came from southern Fujian and spoke Hokkien, as well as leaving their mark on Filipino language and culture (especially the cuisine). Although mestizo de sanglay literally means "mixed-race (person) of business", its implicit meaning is "mixed-race (person) of Chinese and Filipino descent", because many early Chinese immigrants were traders who intermixed with the local population. By default, mestizo without the qualifying de sanglay means a mixed-race person of Spanish/European ancestry. But, due to the relatively few European mestizos in the Philippines, the term mestizo usually refers to mestizo de sanglay. Benito Legarda stated this definition before the United States Philippine Commission (1899–1900) citing Wenceslao Retana's Diccionario de filipinismos (1921). The term chino mestizo was also used interchangeably with mestizo de sanglay.
Mestizo de sanglay is a term that arose during Spanish colonization of the Philippines because of different circumstances there compared to settlement in the Americas. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas, numerous male Spaniards: conquistadors, explorers, missionaries and soldiers, settled there. For years there were almost no Spanish women in the colonies, so most Spanish men made liaisons and intermarried with indigenous women.
In the Philippines however the number of Spanish male settlers was smaller and there were a much greater number of descendants of Chinese workers (and later merchants) and native women. The Spanish government classified the Chinese immigrants as Sanglay if they were pure-blooded Chinese immigrants or Mestizo de sanglay if they were mixed-race persons of sanglay and indio ancestry; They were also known as chino mestizos.
As an example, in the late 19th century, the author and activist José Rizal was classified as mestizo de sangleay due to his Chinese ancestry, although he also had Japanese and Spanish ancestors, and he asked to be classified as indio.
Spanish explorers and conquistadors landed in the Las Islas de Filipinas, which they named in honor of Philip II of Spain. The Spanish colonization of the Philippines required more skilled laborers and they recruited Chinese immigrants from the islands. The economy became highly dependent upon the Chinese for their economic role as traders and artisans. Most of the Chinese living in the Manila area settled in a place called the Parían near Intramuros.
The Spanish encouraged the Chinese to convert to Catholicism. Many of the Chinese men married native women, and over time the multi-cultural mestizo de sanglay caste developed. Although the colonial government never imposed on them the adoption of Spanish surnames and were allowed to keep their Chinese surnames, in many cases they chose to change them to the likes of Lopez, Jalandoni, Palanca, Paterno, Rizal, Laurel, Osmeña, etc., or to made them look Hispanic by concatenation, for example: Lacson, Biazon, Gaspar, Tuazon, Ongpin, Yuchengco, Quebengco, Cojuangco, Cukingnan, Cuyegkeng, Yaptinchay, Yupangco, Tanchanco, Tiongson, Tanbengco, Tanjuatco, Locsin, Tetangco, etc.
In 1574, a few years after the Spaniards established Manila as the colonial capital of the Philippines, the Chinese pirate Limahong (traditional Chinese: 林風) attacked Manila and burned it to the ground, retreating later to other places around the Luzon coast where his forces continued the killings and looting. Some of them deserted Limahong, settled down and interbred with the locals.
In 1603 a Chinese revolt took place right after a visit to Manila by three official Mandarin Chinese representatives accompanied by a large fleet of ships, who disclosed that they were searching for "a mountain of gold". This odd claim prompted the Spanish to conclude that there was an imminent invasion from China in the making. At the time the local Chinese outnumbered the Spaniards by twenty to one, and Spanish authorities feared that they would join the invading forces. The revolt was led by Joan Bautista de Vera, a wealthy Catholic Chinese who was highly esteemed by the Spaniards, and feared and respected by the Sanglays. He tried not to arise suspicions, by mingling with the Spanish and posing as a confident during the preparation. He even carried out a census to ascertain the number of men of his race, which he justified at the time as being necessary for a certain work he had to do. When he found that there were enough Chinese men to carry out the revolt, he gave orders to construct a fort and quarters at a hidden location in Tondo, where some rice, provisions, and weapons were stored. The Sanglays began to gather there, planning the insurrection for St. Andrew's day, but when they realized that their intentions had been discovered, decided to anticipate that day. On the eve of St. Francis, two thousand Sanglays met in the quarters. Joan Bautista de Vera tried to misguide the governor by telling him that the Sanglays were meeting on the opposite side of the river. The governor, however, did not fall for it and had him arrested and carefully guarded. He was later executed.
The insurrection was put down by joint Spanish, native and Japanese forces led by Luis Pérez Dasmariñas. A large number of the 20,000 Chinese that composed the colony were killed during the revolt. In the aftermath, the Chinese Ming government played down those events in an attempt to preserve their commercial interests, and in 1605 a Fukien official issued a letter claiming that the Chinese who had participated in the revolt were unworthy of China's protection anyway, describing them as "deserters of the tombs of their ancestors". Chinese rulers at the time had banned the emigration of their subjects and considered those who had left their ancestral homeland to settle in foreign lands as traitors who "ceased to be Chinese."
In 1662, the Chinese pirate, Cheng Ch'eng-kung, (Koxinga), attacked several towns on Luzon's coast and demanded tribute from the colonial government, threatening to attack Manila if his demands were not met. The Spanish refused to pay the tribute and reinforced the garrisons around Manila. Although most of the Manila Chinese distanced themselves from the pretensions of Koxinga, and in the end the invasion did not materialize, an increasing anti-Chinese sentiment grew within much of the population and hordes of locals massacred hundreds of Chinese in the Manila area.
Most of the sanglays worked as skilled artisans or petty traders. Aside from shopkeeping, the sanglays earned their livelihood as carpenters, tailors, cobblers, locksmiths, masons, metalsmiths, weavers, bakers, carvers and other skilled craftsmen. As metalsmiths, they helped to build the Spanish galleons in shipyards located in Cavite. As masons, they built Intramuros and its numerous structures.
The Spanish gave the mestizos de sanglay special rights and privileges as colonial subjects of the Spanish Crown and as baptized converts to the Catholic Church. They were given preference to handle the domestic trade of the islands and to lease land from the friar estates through the inquilino or lessee system, that allowed them to sublet those lands.
Later, the mestizos de sanglay came to acquire many native lands, chiefly through a legal instrument called pacto de retro or contract of retrocession. In this scheme, a moneylender extended loans to farmers, who in exchange for cash, pawned their land with the option of buying it back. In the event of default, the moneylender recovered the loan by foreclosing the land from the farmer. Many local farmers lost their lands to mestizos de sanglay in this manner.
The Spanish Galleon Trade [1565–1815], tied China to Europe via Manila and Acapulco, Mexico. Acting as a transshipment port, Manila attracted Chinese traders from Xiamen (Amoy) who arrived in armed ships, called Chinese junks, to trade with the Spanish. Chinese luxury goods, such as silk, porcelain and finely crafted furniture, were exchanged for silver from Mexican and Peruvian mines. Twice a year the galleons sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Manila to Acapulco and back. The goods were later taken to Spain via Veracruz, Mexico.
As the Spanish galleons carried mostly Chinese luxury goods destined for Europe, Mexicans called them náos de China (Chinese ships). The Spanish galleon trade was mainly a business affair involving Spanish officials in Manila, Mexico and Spain, and Chinese traders from Xiamen. Very few products originating from the Philippine islands or involving resident domestic traders were part of the highly lucrative galleon trade. It was so profitable that Mexican silver became the unofficial currency of Southern China; an estimated one-third of silver mined from the Americas flowed into China during that period. The Spanish galleons also transported Filipino crew and militia men to the Americas, among which there were many sanglays; Some of them chose to settle in Louisiana, Mexico and parts of present United States, specially California. They were called Manilamen by the Americans and los indios Chinos by the Mexicans.
Apart from the Portuguese-led Macao-Manila trade in the 17th century and the British-controlled Madras-Manila trade in the 18th century, it was mainly the Spanish-ruled Manila-Acapulco trade that sustained the colony for much of the colonial period. When the trade ended with the last ship's sailing in 1815, the Spaniards needed new sources of revenue. With the penetration of the British Empire into the Far East and the successful revolts of the criollos in the Spanish Americas, Catholic Spain quickly lost its position amongst the Western powers.
After Mexico became independent in 1821, Spain took over direct control of the Philippines. It had been governed by the Virreinato de Nueva España or Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico). Coinciding with the advent of steamships and the consequent expansion of the global economy, the Spaniards decided to open up the Philippines to foreign trade. As the subsistence economy shifted to an export crop economy, in 1834 the Spanish allowed both non-Spanish Westerners and Chinese immigrants to settle anywhere in the islands. The mestizos de sanglay largely abandoned wholesale and retail trading altogether. They converted their capital into larger landholdings, and cultivated sugar plantations for a commodity crop for the new export market, particularly in Central Luzon, Cebu, Iloilo and Negros. The mestizos de sanglay took advantage of the rapid changes as the colonial economy was integrated into the markets of the Western world.
With the opening of the colony to foreign trade in 1834, Western (chiefly British and Anglo-American) merchants established import/export and financial companies in Binondo. They allied with Chinese wholesale/retail traders throughout the islands. The mestizos de sanglay shifted to the export crop economy by enlarging their plantations devoted to agricultural commodities.
The penetration of British and Anglo-American commercial interests in Manila coincided with the British founding of a network of treaty port-cities in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. They also expanded the Nanyang trade, previously limited to Xiamen, Quanzhou and Macao. In 1868, the United States and China signed the Treaty of Burlingame, legalizing and liberalizing Chinese emigration, which had been illegal since the Ming Dynasty. This led to a rapid increase in the population of Overseas Chinese traders in the Philippines. Towards the end of the 19th century, the dominance of the British/Anglo-American capitalists and their Overseas Chinese trading partners turned the Philippines into an "Anglo-Chinese Colony under the Spanish Flag".
The Spanish authorities had initially depended upon the unconverted sanglays to both supply the labor and manage the colonial economy of the islands. But after the attacks of Chinese pirate Limahong, the Spanish colonists viewed the sanglays differently, fearing them as enemy aliens who posed a security threat due to their number. To protect their precarious position, the Spaniards enacted policies designed to control the residents of the islands by means of racial segregation and cultural assimilation, such as limiting the number of resident sanglays to around 6,000, a measure that was proved soon impossible to maintain.
The Spanish founded the Parían in 1581 in what became Manila as the official marketplace and designated residence for the unconverted sanglays. Circumventing a royal decree outlawing the sanglays, as governor-general of the Philippines, Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas created Binondo in 1594 for the Catholic sangleys and their indio wives and their mestizos de sanglay children and descendants. He gave the sanglays and mestizo de sanglays a land grant in perpetuity. They were allowed to establish a self-governing organization, called Gremio de Mestizos de Binondo (Guild of Mestizos of Binondo).
The Spanish colonists attempted to assimilate the sanglays into the Hispanic culture and converted many to Catholicism. They allowed Catholic sanglays to intermarry with indio women, but did not recognize marriages of the unconverted sanglays, as they did not officially sanction marriages among subjects that were performed outside the Catholic Church.
Beginning in 1600, the first generation of mestizos de sanglay formed a small community of several hundred in Binondo. This is where San Lorenzo Ruiz grew up. He later was beatified by the Catholic Church as the first Filipino saint. During the 17th century, the Spaniards carried out four Great Massacres and Expulsions against the unconverted sanglays in response to real or imagined fears of an imminent invasion from China. In the aftermath, many sanglays converted at least nominally to Catholicism, adopted Hispanized names, and intermarried with indio women.
Contemporary historians note the changes in how mestizo de sanglay fared in Philippine society. In the late 18th century, the mestizo de sanglay markedly improved their position. After the violence and turmoil of the Spanish expulsion of Chinese for having sided with the British in their 1762 invasion of Manila,
mestizo economic power increased in conjunction with its social and political clout. The formation of auxiliary units called Real Princípe in Tondo mirrored these trends. Spanish military commanders publicly expressed a preference for mestizo regiments over native militias, enraging Filipino indio elites and requiring a deft negotiation of the political realities in Manila.—
The founding of Chinese mestizo regiments in the Philippines was part of New Spain's military modernization during the reformist Bourbon era. At the same time, New Spain created a colonial militia in Latin America, consisting of mestizos there. While the colonies developed in distinct ways, there were similarities between the rise of the mestizo classes; when colonial authorities armed them, it was in recognition of their rising social position and integration into the colonial economies.
After the Spanish colonists abolished the Parían in 1790, they allowed the sanglays to settle in Binondo. In the 19th century, the population of mestizos de sanglay grew rapidly over the years as more Chinese male immigrants arrived, converted to Catholicism, settled in Binondo and intermarried with indio or mestizo de sanglay women. With no legal restrictions on their movement, mestizos de sanglay migrated to other areas in the course of work and business, such as Tondo, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Samar, Capiz, etc. The number of unconverted sanglays dropped from a high of 25,000 prior to the First Great Massacre of 1603 to below 10,000 by 1850. From 1810-1894, the population figures for the Philippine islands were as follows:
|Race||Population (1810)||Population (1850)||Population (1894)|
|mestizo de sanglay||120,621||240,000||500,000|
|Peninsular (from Spain)||4,000||25,000||35,000|
From the 18th century until the latter half of the 19th century, Spanish authorities came to depend upon the mestizos de sanglay as the bourgeoisie of the colonial economy. From their concentration in Binondo, Manila, the mestizos de sanglay migrated to Central Luzon, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros and Cavite to handle the domestic trade of the islands. From trading, they branched out into landleasing, moneylending and later landholding. With wealth, they gained the ability to give their children elite education at the best schools in the islands and later in Europe.
The Philippines was granted the status of a Spanish Province with representation in the Spanish Cortes following the promulgation of the Cádiz Constitution of 1812, and their subjects granted Spanish citizenship, thus acquiring legal equality with Spanish-born Spaniards in the Philippines. Toward the end of Spanish rule in the 19th century, the mestizos de sanglay called themselves Filipinos, showing their identification with their islands.
Also calling themselves the "True Sons of Spain", the mestizos de sanglay tended to side with the white Spanish colonists during the numerous indio revolts against Spanish rule. In the late 19th century, José Rizal, a fifth-generation mestizo de sanglay, arose as an intellectual from the relatively wealthy, middle-class, Spanish-educated Filipinos known as Ilustrados. He was among those who called for reforms in the administration of the colony, integration as a province of Spain, and political representation for the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes.
One of the main objectives of the Spanish administration from the beginning of the colonial period in the Philippines was to spread the Christian religion. With the help of the government, religious orders built traditional stone-and-brick churches throughout the islands in the Spanish or Mexican Baroque style. Located inside the walled-city of Intramuros, San Agustin Church was the first stone church built in the archipelago. It became the spiritual center of Christianity in the Philippines, and also in Asia. The remains of Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti (who was killed during Limahong's siege) were interred in that church. During the short-lived British invasion (1762–64), Intramuros was pillaged and the San Agustin Church desecrated by the British forces.
The Spanish government created schools and colleges run mostly by religious Orders, including the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the Ateneo Municipal, the Universidad de Santo Tomás in Manila, or the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Cebu, that were opened to all types of students, regardless of race, gender or financial status in case of primary instruction. In 1863, the Spanish government established a modern system of free public education, the first of its kind in Asia.
Binondo served as the traditional center of community life for the Catholic sanglays and their descendants, the mestizos de sanglay. The Gremio de Mestizos de Binondo was the official guild chartered to administer community affairs. Born in Binondo, San Lorenzo Ruiz was a mestizo de sangleay who served as an altar boy in the Binondo Church (which has since been named after him). Established by the Spanish Dominicans for Catholic sanglays, the Binondo Church is now known as the Minor Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz. It became the center site for the religious rites of the community. The Catholic mestizos de sanglay expressed religious devotion with processions marking important occasions, such as the Feast of La Naval de Manila, commemorating the naval victory of the Spanish over the Dutch off Manila Bay in 1646.
In the late 19th century, cosmopolitan mercantilism emerged in Binondo, at the same time that Western and Overseas Chinese merchants entered the island's economy, which was being integrated into the global trading system. The Spaniards tended to be more isolated from the new urban environment, living in Intramuros, where Hispanic Catholicism dominated the walled city. The rapid urbanization transformed the ethnic enclave of Binondo into a thriving commercial district within an expanding urban core. The Overseas Chinese (traditional Chinese: 華僑; pinyin: Huáqiáo) merchants essentially displaced the mestizos de sanglay from their role as the domestic traders of the islands. Although officially under Spanish rule, cosmopolitan Binondo became the semi-official capital of an "Anglo-Chinese Colony" in the late 19th-century Philippines.
Chinese-Filipino merchants dominated the textile industry in Molo and Jaro. Iloilo produced sinamay, a hand-woven cloth made from fine abaca threads, which was used for the casual camisa de chino; jusi (Chinese term for raw silk), a translucent fabric woven from silk yarn for the formal barong tagalog; and piña, a handwoven fabric made of pineapple fiber for heirloom garments. During the late 19th century, the mestizos de sanglay wore embroidered barong tagalog while indios wore multicolored camisa de chino. The indios were not allowed to wear European-style clothing, as a means of separating the groups.
In food, Chinese-Filipinos adapted Hokkien food from Fujian. They used indigenous ingredients and Spanish names to improvise what became part of Filipino cuisine. During the 19th century, noodle shops called panciterias serving comida China (Chinese food) dotted the islands. The ubiquitous pancit (meaning "noodle" from the Hokkien word pian-e-sit) became pancit luglog and lomi (flavored with sauce); mami (served with broth); pancit molo (cooked as pasta) and pancit Malabon (mixed with seafood). The rice staple (and wet-rice agriculture) common to East Asia originated in China, as did the rice porridge called arroz caldo. Other well-known Filipino dishes such as lumpia (egg-roll), maki (soup dish), kiampong (fried rice) and ma-chang (sticky rice,) among others, trace their origins to the culinary arts of the Hokkien migrants settling in the islands over the centuries.
In the historic district of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, known as kasanglayan (meaning where sanglays live), prosperous Chinese-Filipino merchants built stone-and-wood houses (really brick and wood) called bahay na bato. These followed some of the tradition of Malay village houses-on-stilts, called bahay kubo, but instead of using bamboo and thatch, they used molave-wood structural beams to frame the two-story house. Walls were formed of brick coated with plaster. Sliding window panels made of translucent capiz shells, in latticework patterns, enclosed the typically large horizontal windows. On the outside, sliding wooden shutters could cover the windows for another layer of privacy and ventilation control.
In contrast to the stone-and-brick Spanish colonial houses, this style of residences was better suited to the tropical environment of the islands. It was more flexible, so could better withstand frequent earthquakes. Steep roofs with overhanging eaves provided shelter against rain and storms, and added to the sense of openness and space connecting the interior and exterior. These helped shield residents from seasonal monsoons. During less severe rain and in the hot summers, the sliding windows could be opened to allow greater circulation of air and more light into the house. When illuminated at night, such houses resemble giant Chinese lanterns. The stone/brick-and-wood house became so widespread throughout the islands that this typical Chinese-Filipino merchant's house came to be known as the "colonial Filipino" style.
The mestizos de sanglay synthesized a hybrid culture incorporating Hispanic and European influences with both indigenous and Asian elements. In fashion, cuisine, design and architecture, a distinctive style emerged, especially among the wealthier segment. As the Sanglay prospered from trading, they built the first and in many cases the only stone-and-wood houses in the countryside. Like other rising elites, they created forms of conspicuous consumption to signify their status. The mestizos de sanglay held feasts to commemorate baptisms, weddings, funerals and processions. As the 19th century drew to a close, the medieval Spanish empire in the Philippines, was defeated by the rising Western empire of the United States (US). After the Spanish-American War, the US took possession of the Philippines and influenced its culture in turn. The mestizos de sanglay and other Filipinos came to be called, the Little Brown Americans, as residents were given special status as a protectorate in relation to the US.
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- Filipino mestizo
- Chinese Filipino
- Japanese settlement in the Philippines
- Criollo (disambiguation)
- Peranakan of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
- Cambodian Hokkien
Miscegenation in Spanish Philippines