Chinese pirates and the Spanish

Here's a wee bit out of the B&R on the pirate Limahon
and some of his adventures in the Philippines.

The pirate resolved to go to capture the Felipinas Islands, and to make himself master and king of them all, first killing the Spaniards – a thing that seemed easy of accomplishment, because of their small numbers He was convinced that he could live here quite free from anxiety, and without his present fear of the great power of the king, Because these islands were so far from the mainland. Leaving those islands where he had sought shelter, he set sail toward those of the Felipinas, passing those islands called Illocos, near to a town called Fernandina, founded recently by Captain Juan de Salzedo, who at that time was lieutenant-governor there. Four leagues form this place. Limahon met a small galley sent out by the said Juan de Salzedo after provision, with but twenty-five soldiers aboard, not counting the rowers – both soldiers and rowers being in very small numbers, for they felt quite secure in this region, and had no suspicion of meeting enemies. When the pirate Limahon's fleet discovered the galley, they came down upon it, invested it, and taking it easily, burning it, and killed its crew, without excepting a single person. After this capture, Limahon continued his voyage, according to his plan, and passed by the town of Fernandina, but not so secretly that he escaped being seen by its inhabitants. The latter informed the above-named lieutenant-governor of it, expressing their astonishment at seeing so large an assemblage of vessels, a sight never before witnessed in those islands. To him also, this was a cause for wonder, and he was not a little troubled at what it might mean. Seeing that these vessels were directed toward the city of Manila, and thinking that so great a fleet, coming form such a direction, could portend no good to the inhabitants of the city (who were living in security and were but few in number, as we have said above.), he resolved to set out immediately with the greatest dispatch possible, and with the greatest number of men he could muster – about fifty-four Spaniards – to endeavor, although at the risk of much labor, to get the start of them, and warn the people of Manila, and help them place the artillery in position, and do other thing needful for the defense of the city. The captain set out to carry this determination into effect with all haste, from which it resulted that the city and all its inhabitants were not completely pillaged and destroyed. However, it was not possible to avoid all damage; for, as their vessels were small, and the rowers few in number and not picked men (since their hasty departure did not allow a choice), and as they were going from one region to another to get food – all these things combined prevented them from arriving as soon as they wished, or as was desirable. Limahon, being well provided with provisions and all other necessities, and favored with good winds, kept the lead of them, arriving at the bay of the city of Manila on St. Andrew's eve in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-four. Here cast anchor that night with his fleet. As he knew that the success of his undertaking lay in his quickness, and in action before he should be seen by the inhabitants of the city, or perceive by those in its neighborhood, he embarked – being aided in this by the darkness of the night – four hundred picked soldiers, of whose courage he was thoroughtly assured and satisfied, in small boats, commanding their captains to exercise all diligence in arriving at the city before daybreak. He dispatched this detachment with orders to fire the city first of all, and not to leave a single man living in it.

. He promised to join them at the first light, in order to help them should it prove necessary, as was the case. But, since nothing is done contrary to God's will or permission, it was not possible for the pirate Limahon to attain his end with the four hundred soldiers, as he thought to do; for all that night the land-breeze blew, becoming ever stronger as night deepened, and proving contrary to their desires. Consequently they were unable to disembark that night, although they tried to do so, striving with all their strength and conning to sail against and overcome the wind. Had it not been for this, without any doubt they would have attained their evil purpose quite easily, and the city and its inhabitants would have been destroyed; for Limahon's plan and desire, as was manifest in the order given to his captains, was to raze and destroy the city.

Limahon sends four hundred soldiers as a vanguard to burn the city of Manila, who are resisted by our men. Chapter V.

Notwithstanding all the trouble caused them by the wind, the four hundred Chinese succeeded in reaching land a league away form the city at eight o'clock on the morning of St. Andrew's day. Leaving their boats at this point, they disembarked and immediately began their march in battle-array with the utmost rapidity, placing in the fore part two hundred arquebusiers, and immediately behind these the other two hundred, who were pikemen. But being espied by some of the inhabitants – as could not be otherwise, because of the level and open nature of the ground, and the great number of soldiers- these hastened to give immediate notice of the invasion. Coming into the city, they cried: "to arms! To arms! The enemy is upon us!" But their warning availed little, for no one believed it. On the contrary, they imagined at a rumor that had arisen among the natives themselves or some jest that they were trying to practice. At last the enemy had reached the house of the master-of-camp, Martin de Goyti – his house being the first in the city in the direction taken by the enemy – before the Spaniards and soldiers within the city caught sight of them, and even before the would put any confidence in the noise and rumor. The enemy immediately fired the house of the said master-of-camp, killing him and all the inmates, so that no one escaped except the wife, and her they left grievously wounded and stark naked, believing her to be dead, although she was afterward cured of her wounds. During this time of this their first act of cruelty, the citizens were assured of the truth; and although none of them had ever imagined so unlooked-for an event, finally they sounded the call to arms and began to try to save their lives. Some soldiers made an immediate sally to the shore, in the lack of order usual in events of this nature. In consequence, the Chinese killed them all, not even one of them escaping. Therefore the rest of the Spaniards formed into one organized body, and showed some resistance to the enemy, now entering the city and firing it, the while uttering their shouts of victory. This resistance was characteristic of Spaniards upon finding themselves in such dangers; and it was so stubborn and courageous that it sufficed to restrain the fury of those who hitherto had been victors, and even to make the retire, notwithstanding the very great disproportion between the two forces. In retiring, the Chinese lost some soldiers without inflicting any serious loss on the Spaniards, who performed many remarkable deeds in this defense.

Thereupon the Chinese, inasmuch as they had left their boats at some distance, because they had no time to bring them nearer, resolved to abandon the assault begun by them, in its present condition; and to seek shelter and refresh themselves from their past toil, in order that they might return later with their captain-general Limahon (whom they were awaiting), to bring their plan to completion, a thing that they considered to be, by this means, very easy of accomplishment. When they reached their boats, as they feared some danger, they began a return to the fleet, steering directly toward the place where they had left it; they caught sight of it not long afterward, past a point in sight of the city of Manila. Taking their course toward the fleet, they came to the flagship, in which was the pirate Limahon. They related to him the affair in all its details, and how, on account of the contrary winds, they had been unable to reach land in the time set by him, and which they wished. Therefore they had not completed the undertaking and had deferred it, because of his absence, until a better opportunity. He consoled them, and thanked them for what they had done until then. He promised them to make a very seedy end to his damnable purpose, and at once commanded that the bow of his flagship be directed toward a port called Cabite, situated two leagues from the city of Manila. From this latter place the said fleet could be easily seen passing on its way.

to be continued

The governor of Manila fortifies himself in order to await the onslaught of the Chinese, and drives them back. Limahon having returned occupies the land along the Pangasinan River. Chapter VI

The governor, Guido de Labacares, who, by the order of his Majesty, had succeeded to the governorship at the death of Miquel Lopez de Legaspi, was then in those islands, and in that of Manila. He taking into consideration the pirate's great fleet and large following, and the few defenses and means of resistance in the city, assembled the captains and citizens with the utmost dispatch, and with their unanimous approbation set about making some defenses, while the enemy was in the port aforesaid, that the Spaniards might defend themselves to the best of their ability. For the Spaniards could not abandon the city, while life remained, without loss of their credit; for in only this one of all the islands there-about could they feel secure. This determination was speedily put into execution, the work lasting during the two days and nights while the pirate delayed; and no opportunity was neglected, nor was any person excused form the work, notwithstanding his rank, for the courageous soldiers well knew that, if they remained alive, the fatigue and weariness would soon pass away. With this incessant work, they were enabled to make a fort out of planks, and casks filled with sand, with such other means of defense as these few hours permitted. They brought out four pieces of very excellent artillery that were in the city. These were placed in good position, and all the people were gathered in the little fort thus made. This occurred, as we believe, through the providence of God, our Lord, who did not choose that the many souls baptized in those islands, and sealed with the light of the knowledge of His most holy faith, should return into the power of the devil, from whose grasp He had drawn them by His infinite mercy. Neither did He wish that the convenient proximity of those islands to the great kingdom of China be lost, by which means, perhaps, his divine Majesty has ordained the salvation and rescue of all that country. The night before the assault, Captain Juan de Salcedo, lieutenant-governor of the town of Fernandina, arrive – who, as we said, was coming for the purpose of aiding the Spaniards of Manila. His coming and that of his companions was clearly the chief remedy for both the city and its inhabitants; for , besides being few, the work of the late resistance and that of preparing the defenses for the coming assault, together with the fear left in their hearts by the danger in which they beheld themselves, and rendered them feeble and in great need of help such as this; and he seemed to all of them to have been sent miraculously by God. With this arrival, all recovered courage and the assured hope of making a courageous resistance. They prepared themselves for this immediately, because the pirate, before dawn of the morning following – two days after the assault, as above related, by the four hundred soldiers at his orders – appeared with his entire fleet in front of the port. He disembarked about six hundred soldiers, who without delay fell upon the city, which they were able to sack and burn at will, as indeed they did; for the inhabitants had abandoned it, as above stated, at the order and command of the governor, gathering at the fort for greater security.

Having set fire to the city, they attacked the fort, flushed with their past murders, and fully persuaded that the inmates would offer little resistance. But the outcome was not so certain as they thought, because of the great valor and courage of those inside, through which all the pirates who had the daring to enter the fort paid for their boldness with their lives. Upon seeing this, the Chinese withdrew, after fighting almost all that day, and losing two hundred men (who were killed in the assault), besides many wounded. Of the Spaniards but two were killed, namely, the ensign Sancho Ortiz, and the alcalde of the same city, Francisco de Leon.
The pirate Limahon, who was a man of astuteness and ability, in consequence of all this – and as it seemed to him that to persist further in his design against the steadfastness of the Spaniards, which was different from what he had experienced hitherto, was to lose time and people – resolve to embark and sail to the port of Cabite, whence he had came. First he collected very carefully his dead, whom he buried afterward in the above-named island, remaining there for this purpose two days. Then leaving this place, he returned by the same route that he had followed in his assault upon the city of Manila, until he arrived at a large river forty leagues away, Pangasinan by name. Thinking this to be a rich country, and that he could remain there safe from those who, by the king's orders, were looking for him, he resolved to stay there, and to make himself master of that place. This he did with very little trouble , and by means of a fort which he built, one league up the river; he remained there for some time, collecting tribute from the natives, as their true lord. He sent out his vessels to rob all who should be found along those coasts; and the report spread abroad that he had seized the Felipinas Islands, and that all the Spaniards there had been killed or had fled. Thereupon great terror and fright filled all the neighboring villages settled upon this great river Pangasinan; and all of them, with no exception, received Limahon as lord, and as such obeyed him and paid him tribute

That's all for tonight. If anyone wants, I'll post
how Master-of-camp Salzedo carries the fight to the
pirate Linahon.

Dude! You MUST post the details of Salzedo dealing with the pirates!

PLEASE?! :-)

(TFS drools like an idiot as he reads and re-reads this thread in the meantime...)

Please no drooling on the keyboards :-)

The master-of-camp, Salzedo, attacks Limahon, burns his fleet, and besieges him for three months in a fort; whence the pirate escapes by dint of great effort. Chapter VII

When the governor of the islands and the citizens of Manila heard that the pirate Limahon was asserting, wherever he went, that he had killed and defeated the Spaniards; considering that if this were not checked speedily, great harm might result from it, which could not be remedied so easily afterward as it could at the present time; and that their allies and vassals throughout all those islands, placing credence in the pirate's assertion, might rise against them , and kill them with ease, because of the great number of the natives and the fewness of the Spaniards, who until the present had sustained themselves solely by the report of their invincibility – they took counsel together, and determined that as large a force as possible should be raised, and sent in military array in pursuit of the pirate. They knew that he must, of necessity, have stationed himself near Manila; and that he would not dare return to China, because he was afraid. They thought that, by use of the same artifice and strategy employed by Limahon, they might come upon him unawares, as he had caught them. They believed that, although they could not destroy him totally, they could, at the very least, take vengeance for the damage wrought by him, so that the lie would be given to the report spread abroad by the said pirate. Thus the Spaniard's old security would remain, and they would he held in greater estimation by the natives near them, who knew them; and would even attain the friendship of the king of China, against whom Limahon was a traitor, and whom he had offended. This resolve they set about executing immediately, as such an undertaking required. Meanwhile they heard, as certain, that the pirate was stationed on the Pangsinan River, where he had made a strong settlement. Upon obtaining this news – which was most agreeable to the Spaniards – the governor summoned all the people dwelling thereabout, ordering them to come to the city where he resided. At this same time, he sent word to all the encomenderos or seigniors of the villages of those islands called Pintados, ordering them to assemble at the same place with as many ships and men as possible, both Spaniards and natives. All this was done and completed quickly and gladly; and the natives, especially those of the said Pintados Islands, came willingly. All these, together with the other people who lived in the city, set out under command of Captain Juan de Salzedo, whom the governor, in his Majesty's name, had appointed to the office of master-of-camp (rendered vacant, as has been related above, by the death of Martin de Goyti at the first assault of the city of Manila). The governor remained behind with only a force sufficient to guard the city and the fort, which had been built again, and the well. The maser-of-camp took in his detachment two hundred and fifty soldiers and five hundred friendly Indians, all unanimous in their intention to avenge the mischief that they had suffered, or to die in the attempt.

This entire force embarked in small boats, and in two fragatas brought from nearby islands, as no time had been given, in the haste necessary for this expedition, to wait until larger ships could be found. And even had they waited, they would have found but a poor supply of vessels; for the inhabitants of this region, as soon as they saw the city attacked by the pirate, had risen against the Spaniards- believing that the latter could not escape so great a force, although from the Spaniards' first entrance into the said islands, they had been very submissive- and burned a small gallery anchored at Manila, together with tow other large vessels.

The master-of-camp, with the force above mentioned, left Manila on the twenty-third of March, in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-five, and arrived at the mouth of the Pangasinan River at dawn on Holy Wednesday following, without being espied by anyone; for, as was important, they observed great care. The master-of-camp disembarked his entire force immediately, together with four pieces of artillery, leaving the mouth of the river blockaded with all his vessels, some of which he had ordered to extend themselves so that no one might enter or go out, or warn the pirate of their arrival.

Time for work, see you tonight after practice

There is a great book about pirates called "Under the Black Flag" and has great info on pirates, privateers, bucaneers, corsairs etc..

Actually, the purpose of the post is to share information on the Spanish. Several of us share a interest in the history of those cool kick-ass warriors. Look at the numbers of Spanish vs the other guys, you just can't help but be impressed.

Yeah, the Spanish definitely qualify as 16th century ass-kickers...

He ordered others of the vessels to reconnoiter the enemy's fleet and his fortifications. He charged them especially to endeavor not to be seen, for this was essential to the success of the undertaking. The captains did as they were ordered, finding the pirate as free from anxiety of any danger there, as the city of Manila had been at his attack. This security resulted from his having heard that, although they were discussing in China the question of attacking him, this could not be done soon, for they could not know or be perfectly sure of his whereabouts; and from his certain knowledge that the Spaniards of the Felipinas had no vessel, for, as we have said above. They had been burned, and they had received so much damage that they would endeavor rather to recover from their past ill-treatment, than to avenge injuries. The master-of-camp having ascertained thoroughly this great lack of care, and the most retired path to the pirate's fort, ordered Captain Gabriel de Ribera and his men to march immediately by land, and as suddenly as possible to assault the enemy, making as much noise and confusion as he could. The captains, Pedro de Chaves and Lorenco Chacon, with forty soldiers apiece, he ordered to ascend the river in the swiftest vessels. The time was to be appointed so that both the land and sea forces would arrive at the fort at the same instant, and make the assault at the same time, so that they might the better succeed in their purpose. He himself remained behind with all the rest of the forces to await the opportunity and to furnish aid in any emergency. This plan succeeded very well, and each party gave the best account of itself – the water force firing the enemy's fleet, while the land force, aided by those who had set the fire, entered the palisade constructed by Limahon for his defense, and as a protection for his men. They entered the fort also and killed more then one hundred Chinese, besides capturing more then seventy women, whom they found within the palisade.

Sorry for not posting more, have gotten busy. Will complete soon.

Awesome stuff... !

When Limahon heard the noise, he hastened to the fort, which – notwithstanding that it had been made as a defense, in case the fleet of the Chinese king, which he knew had been prepared to go in search of him, should chance upon him there – served to save his life on this occasion. He ordered some soldiers to skirmish with the Spaniards, now quite worn out by that day's work and the oppression caused by the intolerable heat of the burning vessels and the houses within the palisade, all of which were ablaze at the same time. The captains, on perceiving this, and the lack of order among their men, which they might not remedy, because they themselves were almost worn out (although the aid sent them very opportunely by the master-of-camp had given them a moment's respite, and added new courage), give the signal for retreat, with the loss of five Spaniards and more then thirty of their Indian allies, whom the pirate's soldiers killed, besides some others that had been wounded. Upon the following day, the master-of-camp arrayed all his forces in line of battle, and set out for the fort with the intention of giving battle if he could find an opportunity. Arriving there, he established his camp at a distance of less then two hundred paces from it, but he found that during that night the pirate had fortified himself strongly, and in such wise that it was considered dangerous to attack the fort; in it had been mounted three large pieces of artillery, and many small culverins, besides other contrivances for discharging fire. Upon observing this, the master-of-camp – recognizing that his artillery consisted only of small pieces and was insufficient for assaulting the fort; and the supply of ammunition was inadequate, because it had been spent in defending themselves against the assaults made by the pirate on Manila – in accordance with the advice of his captains, determined that ( since the enemy had no vessels, by which he might escape by water, nor any resources of material with which to build them, and very little food, because the latter had been burned with the vessels) it would be better and conduce more to his own safety to besiege the fort and to settle down there until hunger should wear out the enemy, in order that they might thus be forced to surrender, or capitulate under certain conditions. Notwithstanding the nature of these conditions, the enemy would consider them better then death by hunger. This resolve seemed good to all of them, although quite the contrary of their expectation happened; for during the blockage by land and water, which lasted for three months, the pirate was so clever, and planned so well, that he made some boats inside the fort, trimming them in the best manner possible. In these he and his men escaped one night, as will be told – a thing that seemed impossible and caused great surprise to the Spaniards, a surprise which was heightened on finding that he had gone with so great cunning, without either the land or sea force hearing it. I shall not relate the events of these three months, although some were most notable, for my purpose is to show the events that gave occasion for the entrance of the Augustinian religious and their companions into the Chinese kingdom, and to tell those things which, they declared, were seen there by them. For this reason I have given the coming of Limahon, and all the rest of the above relation.

So ends the adventures of the Chinese pirates and the Spanish