Based on a wide range of archival sources, this study presents a detailed ethnohistory of the dynamic Chinese Mestizo community of Cebu City from the middle of the 18th century to the end of the next. In tracing the origins of this community from its Chinese and Cebuano roots in the city's Parian district, the book documents the remarkable transformation of these Mestizos Sangleyes through three critical periods: their commercial and socio-political empowerment during a decline in Spanish hegemony (1750s to 1820s); their bitter and unsuccessful struggle with Spanish Augustinians and resurgent colonial officials (1820s-1850), culminating in the suppression of the Parian parish and municipality; and the post-1850 roles that many played in the ascendancy of Cebu City as the archipelago's second most important administrative, judicial, educational, religious, and commercial urban center. By the end of the 1800s, only a few Chinese Mestizos continued to reside in the Parian; most had moved elsewhere in the city or scattered throughout the province and region where they established themselves as affluent landowners and influential leaders throughout the Bisayas and Northern Mindanao. Having made a comfortable transition to the socio-economic milieu of Spain's final decades, these Cebu-born Chinese Mestizos emerged, by the century's end, as prominent Filipino oligarchs ready to find their place in the 20th century Philippines. This study reconstructs the lives and livelihoods of over eighty Chinese Mestizo families during the final 150 years of Spanish colonial rule in this significant urban place.
Michael Cullinane is the Associate Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Faculty Associate in the Department of History of the same university. He has extensive research, publication and residence in the Philippines, with interests in 19th and 20th-century Philippine social, political, and demographic history.
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