Early Spanish-Dutch Conflicts in The Philippines
Pursuing their quest for alternative routes to Asia for trade, the Dutch had finally reached the Philippines. The Dutch sought to dominate the commercial sea trade in Southeast Asia by engaging in piratical activities. They harassed and infested the coasts of Manila bay and its environs, and preyed on sampans and junks from China and Japan which may go to trade at Manila, thereby disrupting the Spanish trade.
The first Dutch squadron to reach the Philippines was led by Olivier van Noort. On December 14, 1600, the van Noort's squadron grappled with the Spanish fleet under Antonio de Morga near Fortune Island, where de Morga's flagship, the San Diego, sank. Van Noort managed to return to Holland, thus becoming the first Dutch to circumnavigate the world.
Another Dutch fleet of four ships under the command of Francois de Wittert tried to attack Manila in 1609, but was repelled by the Spanish governor-general Juan de Silva who launched a counterattack and defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Playa Honda, where François Wittert was killed.
On October 1616, another Dutch fleet of 10 galleons under the command of Joris van Spilbergen (Georges Spillberg) blockaded the entrance of the Manila Bay. A Spanish armada of seven galleons led by Juan Ronquillo battled against Spilbergen's fleet at the Playa Honda on April 1617 (known as the second battle of Playa Honda). Spilbergen's flagship, the "Sol de Holanda" (Sun of Holland) sank, and the Dutch were once again repulsed.
From 1640 to 1641, a Dutch fleet of three ships stationed near Embocadero de San Bernandino to capture galleons coming from Acapulco, Mexico. These galleons, however, escaped safely by taking a different route after receiving warnings from a system of fire-signals (placed in Embocadero) which was devised by the Jesuit priest Francisco Colin.
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