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Why Philippines was neither province nor a colony of Spain

QUORA DIGEST – by Eduardo Marqez Collado – The Philippines was neither a colony nor a province. It was one of the most unique parts of the Spanish empire if you ask me. Its location, at the very fringe of the empire’s borders, made its administration far more indirect than usual.

Manila Galleon Trade commemorative stamp

Unlike most territories in the empire, their administration was not under the direct command of the King of Spain. The “Capitanía de las Islas Filipinas” was considered to be under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of Mexico, whose allied native tribes were directly involved on the conquest of the Philippines.

That strange arrangement was born due to the fact that the Philippines was a key part of Mexico’s main trade artery, the gateway of the fabled “Galeón de Manila” that shipped silver and Asian trade goods along the Pacific. So you can say that in a way, the Philippines was more of a province of Mexico than a province of Spain. – E. Collado is a history scholar