Arming Chinese Mestizos in Manila: The Regimiento de Mestizos "Real Príncipe" of Tondo during the Late Eighteenth Century

Saturday, January 9, 2010: 9:00 AM
Elizabeth Ballroom C (Hyatt)
Edward Slack , Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA
Edward R. Slack, Jr.      Eastern Washington University
“Arming Chinese Mestizos in Manila: The Regimiento de Mestizos of Tondo during the late Eighteenth Century.”
    Long viewed with suspicion and derision for their mixed-race heritage, the role of mestizos de Sangley in the Philippines changed dramatically after Spanish administrators expelled and limited the number of ‘infidel’ Chinese for having sided with the British in the 1762 invasion of Manila.  As a consequence, mestizo economic power increased in conjunction with its social and political clout, and 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 establishment of Chinese mestizo regiments is also examined in the comparative framework of military modernization in New Spain during the reformist Bourbon era.  The drama which unfolded in Manila underscores the unique circumstances and distinctions of the two colonial militias in the context of long-term economic, political, and ecclesiastical links between New Spain and the Philippines.
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