The chapter “The Diversity and Reach of the Manila Slave Market” in the book Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico by Tatiana Saijas is about the Manila slave market and the indigenous Filipinos, the Muslims war captives, and other people who were sold at that market1.
Saijas wrote this chapter to give people information on how the origins and ancestry of the chino slaves who lived in Mexico during the seventeenth century began. During the seventeenth century slaves did majority of the labor and the slave owners (masters) shaped the general social order. After the Spanish conquest the city had about 40,000 residents of different origins, a quarter of that population were slaves. Slaves did various jobs from being servant’s laborers, and crafters.
By 1620 the city had 8,000 indigenous and 2,000 foreign slaves. That’s not counting the Muslim slaves. In Manila the slave actions occurred in the plazas and masters also sold slaves individually. Furthermore, Tatiana also discusses the legal and theological debates about slavery in the Philippines.
Seijas states that Indians were protected from being slaves after the New Laws. In 1574 a royal decree outlawed indigenous slavery in the Spanish Philippines. There was exigencies of conquest and the colony distant location delayed abolition for well over the century.
The enslavement of Indians who belonged to various ethnic groups and lived in the Islands of Spanish dominion had no legal justification2. After that masters in Manila were no longer allow to own Indians from Spanish Philippines. On the other hand, the slave market in Manila had indigenous Filipinos throughout the seventeenth century.
They were useful for two reasons. One was that slavery existed in the Philippines before the Spaniard had arrived. Secondly, the Spanish colonist were actively engaged in the slave trade for their own labor needs. Slavery was the main way of getting labor done in the Philippines. To Continue Seija explains why Manila slave market had all variety of groups of people.
She explains the Portugese slave trade in the Indian Ocean world. How slaves from India were brought into the market in Manila. Last but to least Seijas she talks about the outcomes of the Spaniards ongoing war against the Muslims in the Philippines.
In which it was a justification for the enslavement of moros under the theory of “just-war”. In conclusion, in the late seventeenth century the restriction of Muslims and Indians slaves resulted Manila market to turn into the African slavery. Africans became more prevalent in many sectors of the economy. African slaves were mainly bought in Portuguese Macau and brought into Manila by Cortonese merchants. Who then expand their slave trade into Mexico3.