Kingdom of Maynila

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Fort Seludong
Kota Seludong
کوتا سلودوڠ
Satellite kingdom of the Bruneian Empire until the Spanish colonization (1571)




Capital Not specified
Languages Old Malay, Tagalog
Religion Animism and Islam
Government Rajahnate
 -  established by the Kingdom of Brunei under Sultan Bolkiah 1500s
 -  Conquest by Spain 1571
Today part of  Philippines
Part of a series on the
History of Brunei
Emblem of Brunei.svg
Bruneian Empire
7th century
to 1888
House of Bolkiah
(15th century–present)
Kingdom of Maynila
15th century
to 1571
Sultanate of Sulu
15th century
to 1578
Castille War 1578
Civil War 1660–1673
15th century
to 1841
White Rajahs 1841–1946
15th century
to 1846
Sabah (North Borneo)
15th century
to 1865
British protectorate 1888–1984
Japanese occupation 1942–1945
Borneo campaign 1945
Revolt 1962

The Kota Seludong (Tagalog: Selurong Old Malay: Kota Seludong, Jawi script: کوتا سلودوڠ), was one of three major city-states that dominated the area by the lower reaches and mouth of the Pasig River before the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. It is the site of present-day Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines.


Early records[1] claim that Maynila was named after the Yamstick Mangrove (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea, whose local name was "nila" or "nilad", by the time the Spanish colonizers arrived in the late 16th century. The name "maynila" itself transliterates as "There is nila (here)", and an alternative name for the place is "maynilad."

Allegedly it was more accepted after Brunei became a Muslim State in the 15th century [2] that Maynila or Manila comes from the arabic greeting "Fi Amanillah" which means "In Allah's protection" or "May Allah protect you" which on Tagalog translates as "Nasa pangangalaga ni Allah" or "Pangalagaan ka ni Allah".

Nila or Nilad[edit]

There is some argument among historians as to which plant the name refers to, and whether the plant was actually called "nila" or "nilad." Plants suggested as being the origin of the name include a shrub (Ixora manila), the indigo plant (Indigoferra tinctori), and a species of mangrove (Lumnitzera littorea).

Historians Ambeth Ocampo and Carmen Guerrero Nakpil[3] assert that nila is popularly referred to as nilad by people unfamiliar with the plant. On his Facebook page, Ocampo notes that "Some idiot added a 'd' to give us: Maynilad, Maharnilad, and Lagusnilad! In Fr. Blanco's Flora de Filipinas circa 1877 we find the Ixora manila. There is no "d" after nila."[4]

A number of early sources disagree,[1] however, noting that the plant referred to as "nilad" is the Indigo plant (Indigoferra tinctoria), a different plant altogether. Emma Helen Blair, in the multi-volume collection of Philippine documents The Philippine Islands, notes "The name Manila is derived from a Tagalog word, ' Manilad ', meaning 'a place overgrown with Nilad' which is the name of a small tree, bearing white flowers."[1]

Julio Nakpil asserted that the dropping of the "d" at the end of the name was probably a mistake on the part of the Spaniards: "Maynilad seems to us reasonable for the following reason: the prefix 'may' means "to have" or "there is" (mayroon) ; and the prefix 'ma' means abundant (marami); and 'nilad' is a shrub, also called sagasa (Lumnitzera littorea), growing profusely on the banks of Manila, and for that reason it was called Manilad before and after the coming of the Spaniards who, because of their defective pronunciation of our language, dropped the last letter, converting it into Manila."[5]



The early inhabitants of the present-day Manila engaged in trade relations with its Asian neighbours as well as with the Hindu empires of Java and Sumatra, as confirmed by archaeological findings. Trade ties with China became extensive by the 10th century, while contact with Arab merchants reached its peak in the 12th century.[6]

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah (1485–1521) the Kingdom of Brunei decided to break the Kingdom of Tondo's monopoly in the Chinese trade by attacking Tondo and establishing the city-state of Seludong as a Bruneian satellite. This is narrated through Tausug and Malay royal histories, where the names Seludong, Saludong or Selurong are used to denote Manila prior to colonisation.[7]

Beginning of the Spanish Colonial Era[edit]

In the mid-16th century, the areas of present-day Manila were governed by native rajahs. Rajah Matanda (whose real name was recorded by the Legaspi expedition as Ache) and his nephew, Rajah Sulayman ("Rajah Mura" or "Rajah Muda" (a Sanskrit title for a Prince), ruled the Muslim communities south of the Pasig River, including the Kingdom of Maynila, while Rajah Lakandula ruled the Kingdom of Tondo north of the river.[8][9][10] These settlements held ties with the sultanates of Brunei, Sulu, and Ternate, Indonesia (not to be confused with Ternate in present-day Cavite).

Pre-hispanic History of the Philippines
Boxer codex.jpg
Barangay government
Ten datus of Borneo
States in Luzon
Kingdom of Maynila
Kingdom of Namayan
Kingdom of Tondo
States in the Visayas
Rajahnate of Cebu
Confederation of Madyaas
States in Mindanao
Kingdom of Butuan
Sulu Sultanate
Sultanate of Maguindanao
Lanao Confederation
Key figures
Sulaiman II · Lakan Dula · Sulaiman III · Katuna
Tarik Sulayman · Tupas · Kabungsuwan · Kudarat
Humabon · Lapu-Lapu · Alimuddin I
History of the Philippines
Portal: Philippines

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Vol. VIII, p. 96-141. The Arthur H. Clarke Company.; Census of the Philippines, 1903
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ambeth Ocampo (25 June 2008), Looking Back: Pre-Spanish Manila, Philippine Daily Inquirer, retrieved 9 September 2008 
  4. ^ accessed 25 November 2012
  5. ^ Nakpil, Julio. "A Suggestion to the Tagalistas to Elucidate the Origin of the Name of the Capital City of the Philippines: Manila. Which of these Three Terms or Names Is the More Accurate: Maynilad, Manilad, or Manila?". 26 August 1940.
  6. ^ History of Manila. Accessed 8 September 2008.
  7. ^ Carmen Guerrero Nakpil (29 October 2003), CARMEN NAKPIL: MANILA UNDER THE MUSLIMS, Malaya, retrieved 5 December 2008 
  8. ^ Joaqiun, Nick (1990). Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young. City of Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-971-569-313-4. 
  9. ^ Scott, William Henry (1994). Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. ISBN 971-550-135-4. 
  10. ^ Dery, Luis Camara (2001). A History of the Inarticulate. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-1069-0. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • Nick Joaquin's Almanac for Manileños
  • The River Dwellers by Grace P. Odal