The Middle History of Chavacano de Zamboanga (1718 - 1899)

Researched and written by:®


The year 1718 introduced a new wave of immigrants into the now thriving town of Zamboanga - the only Chavacano established community of its kind in this important Peninsula of Mindanao Island. The increasing concern of the hostilities from the Moro pirates against the Chavacanos here led the Jesuit priests to petition the Archbishop and Governor-General Bustamante for the renewed presence of Spanish troops in Zamboanga. They also requested help in rebuilding the abandoned San Jose Fort, which was systematically destroyed over time by the Moro pirates in their show of despise against the symbol of Spanish occupation.

Eventually, Governor-General Fernando Bustillos Bustamante y Rueda responded and made the decision to rebuild the fortress in Zamboanga. General Gregorio de Padilla y Escalante was tasked to erect new walls over the same delineation and foundation of the old fort built by Father de Vera eighty-three (83) years prior. The walls were fortified to three (3) meters thick and defended with sixty-one (61) pieces of artillery. It was then re-named Real Fuerza de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza.

The extensive description of the rebuilt fort is befitting its place of reverence in conjunction with the growth of Chavacano de Zamboanga, and the people who contributed to its proliferation. There will be at this time a new group of language contributors into the Early Chavacano de Zamboanga (ECDZ). During this time period, Manila was already a well-established capital that benefited from the Spanish government’s decision to make it their main focus of expansion with the Manila Galleon trade. It was safely far away from the deathly repercussions of fighting the Moro pirates.

The recall of all Spanish troops in 1662 to help defend against Koxinga’s threat to invade Manila brought forth a new kind of Chavacano into the Luzon Island. It is believed that around two-hundred (200) residents of Ternate, from the spice islands of Moluccas, were brought back by their Spanish Jesuit priests, along with the garrison troops, and settled in the Cavite naval shipyard community outside Manila.  They managed to keep amongst themselves and eventually established their own type of Chavacano.

People from the Cavite and Ternate group were recruited to help rebuild the destroyed fort in Zamboanga, along with other soldiers and workers originating from the Nueva España territories and Spain. The Cavite and Ternate group had their own brand of Chavacano by this time period, which will be referenced to as Cavite Chavacano (CC), and Ternate Chavacano (TC).


The SECONDARY CONTRIBUTORS to the middle history (1718-1899) of Chavacano de Zamboanga (CDZ) will be grouped in their order of significance and volume of contribution:

1. The Caviteños

2. The Ternateños

3. The Nueva España Chavacanos

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Chavacano de Zamboanga (1635 - 2004): 369 Years of History

Upcoming treatments:

The Late History of Chavacano de Zamboanga (1899 - Present)

Return to:

The Early History of Chavacano de Zamboanga (1635 - 1718)

Other Research Work done on Zamboanga City's Chavacano/Chabacano:

1. Sister Maria Isabelita O. Riego de Dios, R.V.M.

2. Chabacano/Spanish and the Philippine linguistic identity by: John M. Lipski

3. Chabacano de Zamboanga Handbook and Chabacano-English-Spanish Dictionary by: Bernardino S. Camins