The Archaeology of Early Colonial Manila
A Hybrid City in Global History

Ellen Hsieh

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Available for pre-order. This book will be available January, 2025

A view into the diverse culture of the Philippines in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries  
“A useful new contribution to Chinese historical sources, archaeological assemblages in Manila, and the correspondence between Manila and Spanish America. Hsieh’s knowledge of Hispano-American and Chinese interaction with Manila is excellent, and she has identified many important topics on which the case study of Manila can shed new light.”—John Miksic, author of Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300–1800  
“Hsieh’s work provides a glimpse of the early colonial life of Manila, showing how the entangled lives of the local Filipinos, Spanish colonizers, and Chinese settlers are revealed through the artifacts recovered from the capital city.”—Timothy James R. Vitales, National Museum of the Philippines  
Although Manila, capital city of the Philippines, played a critical role in economic and cultural exchanges between the East and the West during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, little is known about what life was like for its residents during this time. In this book, Ellen Hsieh uses archaeological, historical, and ethnographic resources to document the ways Manila was transformed by the arrival of Spanish colonists in 1571 and how the city in turn shaped the modern world.
Manila was uniquely positioned as a crossroads in the networks of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Iberia, resulting in a hybridized culture where colonial Spanish, Indigenous Tagalog, and overseas Chinese groups exchanged goods and ideas. In The Archaeology of Early Colonial Manila, Hsieh analyzes material goods such as ceramics from Intramuros (the Spanish walled city) and Parian (the Chinese quarter) and illustrations from the Boxer Codex—a Spanish manuscript featuring images of people in the Philippines and surrounding areas—to illuminate the diversity of Manila society and to unravel the intricate power dynamics among these ethnic groups.
Bridging the gap in research between pre-Spanish and late colonial periods and amplifying the voices of non-elite, diasporic, and colonized communities often overlooked in historical documents, Hsieh provides an important focus on Manila’s contributions to world history during a period of intense globalization.  
Ellen Hsieh is assistant professor of archaeology at the Institute of Anthropology and deputy director of the Research Center for Underwater Archaeology and Heritage at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

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