Talk by Laura Lee Junker
The history of the Philippines is unique in Southeast Asia’s islands in that the country has 14 massive islands, 7000+ smaller islands, and 200+ languages. Strangely, among the historical entities in these thousands of equatorial islands, none of the area’s languages were written down. Both historical and archaeological evidence shows us that Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Indic populations all powered trade well before the 10th century. Area ports sent commerce and numerous missions to the Chinese court. Islamic groups in the Philippines, particularly in what would become Manila, as well as from the southernmost island of Mindanao prior to the influx of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century, also participated in diplomacy and trade. The extensive diversity of various groups on the rugged Filipino landscape, including small bands of Ata and tribal peoples (Bukidnon) living in the mountainous cores of massive islands, supplied equatorial products that connected chains of manufacture sailing from the west and north, down to the tropical belt. In this presentation, Archaeology melds with “material histories” (such as archaeology) and “written histories” (from many viewpoints) in telling this complex story.