Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jun 24 (EFE).- Manila celebrated Thursday the 450th anniversary of its foundation with several events with limited capacity and with the mandatory use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Authorities declared this day a holiday that began in mourning due to the death of former Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who died in hospital in the capital due to unspecified health problems.
Thursday’s events include a flower offering at the Monument to José Rizal, the hero of independence executed by Spanish authorities in 1886, as well as the launch of a special stamp to commemorate this anniversary.
Manila, which suffered one of the longest confinements in the world, has been especially hit by Covid-19, which has caused more than 1.37 million accumulated cases in the country, including more than 23,000 deaths.
The Philippine capital was founded on Jun. 24, 1571 by the Spanish conqueror Miguel López de Legazpi, although Maynila already existed there, a settlement dating from at least the 13th century and ruled by a Muslim rajah.
The trip around the world financed by the Spanish Crown of Fernando de Magallanes and Juan Sebastian Elcano allowed the conquest of the Philippines and the creation of the commercial route of the Manila Galleon between this city and Acapulco, in Mexico.
This route made Manila, Mexico City and Madrid the first global cities, prior to globalization.
Historian Ambeth Ocamp told EFE he believes Manila reached its peak as a walled European city in Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it became a “melting pot” of different peoples and cultures.
“I don’t think the English would have taken Manila in 1762 if it wasn’t worth it,” said the historian, speaking about British occupation from 1762 to 1764, during the Seven Years’ War, in which Spain allied with France.
The disappearance of the galleon after the independence of Mexico in 1815 brought the decline of the city, where the battle took place that meant the loss of the Philippine colony for Spain in the Disaster of 1898, which also ended Spanish sovereignty over Cuba. EFE