Spotlight on Manila

Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571-1644: Local Comparisons and Global Connections
Birgit Tremml-Werner

Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571—1644 offers a new perspective on the connected histories of Spain, China, and Japan as they emerged and developed following Manila’s foundation as the capital of the Spanish Philippines in 1571. Examining a wealth of multilingual primary sources, Birgit Tremml-Werner shows that crosscultural encounters not only shaped Manila’s development as a ŸEurasianŒ port city, but also had profound political, economic, and social ramifications for the three premodern states. Combining a systematic comparison with a focus on specific actors during this period, this book addresses many long-held misconceptions and offers a more balanced and multifaceted view of these nations’ histories.
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Ambition and Identity: Chinese Merchant Elites in Colonial Manila, 1880–1916
Andrew R. Wilson

What binds overseas Chinese communities together? Traditionally scholars have stressed the interplay of external factors (discrimination, local hostility) and internal forces (shared language, native-place ties, family) to account for the cohesion and “Chineseness” of these overseas groups. Andrew Wilson challenges this Manichean explanation of identity by introducing a third factor: the ambitions of the Chinese merchant elite, which played an equal, if not greater, role in the formation of ethnic identity among the Chinese in colonial Manila.

Drawing on Chinese, Spanish, and American sources and applying a broad range of historiographical approaches, this volume dissects the structures of authority and identity within Manila’s Chinese community over a period of dramatic socioeconomic change and political upheaval. It reveals the ways in which wealthy Chinese merchants dealt in not only goods and services, but also political influence and the movement of human talent from China to the Philippines. Their influence and status extended across the physical and political divide between China and the Philippines, from the villages of southern China to the streets of Manila, making them a truly transnational elite. Control of community institutions and especially migration networks accounts for the cohesiveness of Manila’s Chinese enclave, argues Wilson, and the most successful members of the elite self-consciously chose to identify themselves and their protégés as Chinese.

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The Chinese Philippine Life, 1850–1898
Edgar Wickberg

The development of overseas Chinese communities, economically powerful, socially and culturally resistant to assimilation, and tied in many ways to China, has been a significant phenomenon in the modern history of Asia. During the half century from 1850 to 1898, the Chinese population in the Philippines increased drastically from 5000 to perhaps 100,000, and penetrated every part of the archipelago. Liberalized Spanish immigration laws and their own superior business methods enabled the Chinese to profit from the development of an export crop economy, which involved the exchange of Philippine raw products for foreign manufactured goods, and caused a shift in the emphasis of Chinese enterprise – from small-scale retailing to a virtual monopoly of raw material collection and import distribution. Their increased economic power gave impetus to an anti-Chinese campaign in the latter years of the century, and the Philippine Chinese, for the first time, developed community institutions to resist assimilation and turned to China for aid. The purpose of this study is to describe the position of the Chinese in the Philippines as of 1850 and to determine how it was affected by the ensuing economic and social changes of the next four decades.
Chinese Traders in a Philippine Town: From Daily Competition to Urban Transformation
Norbert Dannhaeuser

Based on three decades of anthropological field research, “Chinese Traders in a Philippine Town” addresses two aspects of a provincial town in the Philippines. First, it examines the town’s Chinese trade community as composed of individuals and families who follow commercial ends with varying degrees of success by means of a wide range of competitive tactics. Second, it describes changes the town has experienced during recent decades and how these have been to a large degree the result of long term, commercial strategies followed by substantial Chinese entrepreneurs.

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