The 1762 British Invasion of Spanish-Ruled Philippines: Beyond Imperial and National Imaginaries

About the Event

The historiographies of the British occupation of Manila and Cavite often inhabit two types of imaginaries. ​​One is tethered to the narrow, inter-imperial wranglings between Great Britain and Spain, with their competing explorations of might or blame, haggling over unpaid ransoms and valuations over winning and losing. In the case of the Filipinos, this singular event is linked to a vague yet powerful sense of plunder and loss.

Philippine websites, textbooks, historical markers of many of the churches in Luzon, persistently, and almost exclusively present the British occupation only as a culprit for the loss of beautiful architectural structures, precious religious art, rare artefacts, and objects of knowledge like maps, and manuscripts.

This year’s iteration of the SOAS Annual Philippine Studies Conference hopes to move beyond narrow or mythologizing narratives of this singular event. With an emphasis on the analysis and critical use of primary source materials, the conference will explore productive ways of historicising the occupation by centering on issues of Philippine agency and resistance, non-European trans-imperial conditions and contexts, and on-the-ground repercussions, specially in relation to Philippine material culture, socio-economies, and local and pan-Asian histories. Through roundtable discussions, we also hope to shift towards more reparative approaches to dealing with the indisputable loss of lives and material culture that resulted from the British occupation.

With these shifts in methodology and focus, the conference hopes to contribute to a body of discourse that transcends the prevailing socio-historical and mythic narratives of power and loss.

Photo Credit: Detail from Alegoría de la defensa de Filipinas por el alavés Don Simón de Anda y Salazar. 1762-1763 Museo del Prado. Deposited in the Museum of Fine Arts of Álava. Vitoria-Gasteiz. Used with permission.

Event Recordings

And it’s a wrap! The 2022 SOAS Annual Philippine Studies Conference was a blast. Thank you again to everyone who made the conference achieve what it had set out to do– gather a group of scholars who were interested in this rather niche topic, get them to know each other well and then set down some concrete markers for projects and future collaborations (edited volume in the works, transcription collabs, online digital access to the NAP’s sources on the British Invasion of Manila, etc.)
And despite the disruptions and the knelling of the church bells in the background – we got a lot done in 2 days – from art events that included installing a blue plaque for Pedro Manuel, to a micro-exhibit of a Cabinet of Missing things, to Jody Blanco’s game-changing keynote and the panel sessions that ranged from really interesting local histories to talks on the wider consequences of the British Invasion.
You can view recordings of the presentations and discussions here.
Programme Day 1:

9:30 – 10:00     Acknowledgments and Introductions

10:00 – 11:00   Keynote Address: John D Blanco |  Evacuations and Reoccupations of the Political Imaginary, ca. 1762-64

11:00 – 12:30   Session 1 : Indigenous Revolts

  • Kristie Flannery |  The Silang Revolt 1762-1764: A Global History
  • Grace Liza Concepcion |  In the face of local and foreign enemies: The Native militia of the Philippines in the 18th Century
  • Joefe B. Santarita  |   Seducers of Men: Recruiters and Deserters in 18th Century Manila

12:30 – 1:30     Lunch

1:30 – 3:00       Session 2 : Local Histories

  • Lino L Dizon  |  Post Nubila Phebus: The Other Side of the British Occupation of the Philippines and the Recollects in Cavite, 1762-1766
  • Nicholas Sy and Dries Lyna |  Lives caught on paper: Colonial registration in Luzon prior to Bourbon reforms
  • Hana Qugana  |  ‘Why do you want to go to Cainta?’: Searching for Sepoys Against the Archival Grain

3:00 – 3:30       Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:30       Session 3 : Spanish and British Loyalties

  • Ian Alfonso |  Filipino Natives in Simon de Anda’s Government During the British Invasion of Manila, 1762-1764
  • Cristina Juan |  Translating Pedro Manuel: Incidental Validations as Animating Text

4:30 – 5:45 Christina Lee |  Paleography Workshop

5:45 – 6:00     Snacks

6:00 – 8:00     Marylebone Walk/Performance  by Batubalani  |  KKB Dinner at the Prince Regent Pub in Marylebone  after Performance

Programme Day 2:

10:00 – 12:00   Session 4 :  Objects of Knowledge: A Roundtable Discussion

  • Victorino Mapa Manalo  |  A Survey of Records in the Spanish Documents Section of the National Archives of the Philippines Related to the British Occupation (1762 to 64) 
  • Florina Capistrano-Baker  |  Taking a Long View of the British Invasion of Manila: Replication and Commodification of Objects of Knowledge

12:00 – 1:30      Lunch 

1:30 – 3:00   Session 5 : The Logistics of War

  • Ericsson Borre  |  The British Invasion in the Philippines: An Augustinian Chronicle
  • Regalado Trota Jose  |  The military uses of mathematics, according to Juan Domínguez Zamudio (1766, Manila)

3:00 – 3:30   Coffee Break

3:30 – 5:00        Session 6 : The Collaterals of War 

  • Juan Jose Rivas  |  Strangling the Silver Stream: the impact of the British occupation of Manila on the English East India Company’s trade in Canton               
  • Eberhard Crailsheim  |  The British Occupation of Spanish Manila and the Sulu Sultanate. Considerations on British and Spanish Interests in Southeast Asia (1749-1775)  
  • Guadalupe Pinzón-Ríos  |  New Maritime Frontiers for the Philippines: Defensive Projects North of Luzon

5:00 – 5:30        Coffee Break

5:30 – 7:15         Screening of  Sally Gutierrez’s Ta Acorda Ba Tu El Filipinas? Followed by a Reading of  Rogelio Braga’s Elephant and Castle

7:15 – 9:30        Closing Dinner