1. Halupi #5: First!

    The credit for the first Iberian to step foot in the Islands may not actually belong to Magellan’s expedition. It may to some unknown, nameless Moor, or Andalusian (Muslim/Arab from Al-Andalus).

    Andalusians, because of their relatively isolated location, frequently traveled throughout the Muslim world, reaching even the furthest Muslim courts of India and East Asia. Stories from the 10th century tell of an Andalusian ship shipwrecking in the East and even intermarriage. Reports from Portuguese expeditions in the 15th century detail encounters with Muslim Spanish speakers in Hormuz. A 1585 report to the Spanish crown about the Philippines explicitly connects the Moorish presence in Asia with exiled Andalusians.

    Over the course of the centuries long Reconquista, there were periods marked by the expulsion and exile of hundreds of thousands of Andalusians. They scattered to the farthest corners of the Muslim world, a few settling in East Asia and possibly becoming the first Iberians to visit our archipelago.

    The Christian world in their ‘Age of Exploration’, weren’t really exploring at all. They were in a way…retracing.


  2. Halupi #4: We Meet Again Old Friend

    The Reconquista is a hallowed historical undertaking in Spanish memory. Concurrent with 800 years of ebbing and rising Moorish rule (711-1492), Christian Spain eventually won out. Soon after came the Spanish empire. For them it was a natural extension.

    For 800 years Iberia was not trapped in the dark ages. Far from it. The period of Al-Andalus became the foundation for a globe-spanning Spanish Catholic empire. In its time, Al-Andalus was renowned as a place of enlightenment: the great libraries of Toledo, the economic and educational prowess of Cordoba, the Moorish infused architecture of the South, all spoke to the high-regard that culture and high learning were held. At times, their scientific achievements and cultural importance shined brightest in the world.

    Nothing is static. Al-Andalus crumbled, as all empires inevitably do. Iberia was in Christian hands again. They sought to not only rejoin the world, but carve out a leading role.

    On the heels of the final explusion of Moorish rule in 1492, they set out to again outstrip Europe. They were aggressive in their explorations. Yet, when they arrived on the other side of the world, they found an old foe.

    So says Santiago Matamoros in Intramuros.