“I take possession . . . in the name of the Spanish Crown.”

This is how Commander Miguel Lopez de Legazpi took possession of the island of Guam in the name of the Spanish Crown in the Year of Our Lord Fifteen-hundred and Sixty-Five:

He walked around the beach, cutting tree branches with his sword, pulling some grass, making stone monuments, and carving crosses into some of the coconut trees. The Augustinian friars said mass.

Conquering the Pacific, p. 124

Dammit! This exact same scene is in self’s novel! Why is she having such a hard time getting an agent? Self’s version is ever so much more dramatic because she has crabs scuttling on the beach, and monitor lizards sticking out forked tongues, and coconuts falling on the heads of the Spaniards as they kneel in prayer. In other words, her version is so much more immersive. It just isn’t FAIR!

But, enough of this whining. Reading further, self learns that Legazpi was tempted to stop his expedition in Guam. Then the Philippines would have remained FREE! Woo hoo! Can’t you just imagine?

Alas, someone reminded Legazpi that his instructions from the Crown explicitly stated THE PHILIPPINES. Fearful of the repercussions if he disobeyed his monarch’s orders, Legazpi and his ships continued.

It is so ineffably sad that the natives of the Philippines had absolutely no idea that they were in the sights of a monarch from across the sea, a monarch they had never even heard of.

Stay tuned.


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