Magellan Introduced Christianity to the Philippines 500 years ago

Looking back on how Christianity came to the Philippines.


Islam predated the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines by at least a century and a half. Towards the end of the fourteenth century, Muslim missionaries from Islamic countries of Malaysia and Indonesia brought Islam to the southern Philippines, even reaching Palawan, Mindoro, and Luzon’s east coast, notably Maynila (the present-day Manila). With Islamicized communities spread strategically through the archipelago from Luzon in the north, Sulu and Maguindanao in the south, and Palawan in the west, the archipelago would have evolved into an Islamic nation were it not for the Spaniards’ colonization.

In 1517, thirty-nine-year-old Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, out of favor with the Portuguese King Manuel, crossed the border into Spain and convinced its young, adventurous seventeen-year-old Hapsburg monarch, Charles, to finance an ambitious undertaking: Magellan would discover a new route to the fabled Spice Islands by sailing west across the Atlantic, to South America, from where he could…

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