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The Peace Treaty of Cebu was Signed on June 4, 1565

After the death of Magellan on April 27, 1521, Spain sent several expeditions were sent to the Philippine archipelago. On November 20, 1564, an expedition under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sailed from the port of Navidad. The expedition reached Samar on February 14, 1565 and went around the Visayas Islands but was met by suspicion and resistance. On April 27, 1565, (a little more than 4 decades after Magellan’s demise) Legazpi and his crew arrived in the island of Cebu.

Philip II (Image courtesy of

They defeated the defiant Cebuanos, and on June 4, 1565, the peace treaty of Cebu was signed between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, representing King Philip, who was one of the most powerful European monarchs of his time; and Rajah Tupas of Cebu. The treaty was the first Philippine peace treaty which effectively placed Cebu under the suzerainty of Spain.

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“Suzerainty” is “a position of control by a sovereign state over another state that is internally autonomous.” ( It means the islands became tributary to the Spanish crown.

Rajah Tupas was the last Rajah of Cebu, he was the son of Sri Parang the Limp and the nephew of Rajah Humabon, also known as Sri Hamabar. He was baptized on March 21,1568 at the age of 70. He was leader of Cebu until he was defeated by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s troops, which led to the talks and negotiations and finally the signing of the Peace Treaty of Cebu. Legazpi then established his settlement there and called it Nombre de Jesus after a wooden image of the holy child was discovered by one of his men.

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That same year, the church and convent of Santo Niño, the first Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, was built by Father Andres de Urdaneta. It marked the beginning of Roman Catholicism in the archipelago as friars from other religious orders followed.


Camagay, Maria Luisa T., Ancheta, Jopol Alvin C., Bernal, Michael S., Guiang, Francisco Jayme Paolo A., Malban, Francisco Justine M., Ramos II, Dondy Pepito G. Unraveling the Past. Readings in Philippine History. Quezon City, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.

www, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 Vol. II (1521-1569).


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