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Home >>History >>The Wailan in the 15th Century

The Wailan in the 15th Century

By: Jessy Wenas

The spice trade in Ternate-Tidore by merchants of various nationalities caused the ports in the Minahasa to become crowded. Even the Emperor of China, sent many Jonk expeditions to Malacca, Java and the Moluccas in 1292 1293. The Chinese expeditions were used for war as well as trade. When trading, the Jonk sailing vessels carried ceramic porcelain to the Minahasa. They brought the ceramics to be traded against rice. The rice they obtained from the Minahasa was then brought to Ternate to exchange against spice. This was done because the Kings in Ternate were fond of eating rice, while in Ternate itself there were no rice plantations. The Chinese trade route was later followed by Arab traders. One of the merchants of Arab origin, Sharif Makdon, in 1380 traded from Ternate, Wenang and then to the South of the Philippines. In addition to trade the Arab trademerchants spread the Islamic religion among the Manarouw Mangindanouw. Afterwards this route was followed by Portuguese sailors among whom Pedro Alfonso.

In 1511, Pedro Alfonso discovered Ternate, after that the Portuguese trade fleet formally sent Antonio de Abreu to the Moluccas in 1512. In the same year the Portuguese sent three sailing ships to Manarow (the island of Manado Tua). From this island, the Portuguese traders undertook trips by boat to Wenang to negotiate with the Walak Head Ruru Ares. The reason for the trip of the Portuguese to Wenang was to rent a piece of land. But the desire of the Portuguese to lease land in Wenang were dashed because Walak Ruru Ares refused to provide a place for them. After failing in Wenang, the Protuegese then went to Uwuran (Amurang) and then founded the Amurang fortress in 1512. When they arrived in the Minahasa region (Amurang), the Portuguese, who brought more traders and clergy men than soldiers, did not yet dare to enter the interior. They were only able to set up a stone fortress on the shore and islands around the Minahasa like in Siauw in 1518. Meanwhile many women who inhabited the beachfront had already married the Portuguese, but the people in the mountains had only just married with white people from Spain in 1523. One example is of a woman from Tomohon Kakaskasen named Lingkan Wene who married a Spanish Captain named Juan de Avedo. The son of this couple was named Mainalo Wula'an because he had clear round eyes (Indo Spanish). Marriages between Minahasa women and men from Spain did not please the Portuguese, because the Portuguese assumed that Spain would dominate the Minahasa area. Especially since the Spanish established a stronghold in Wenang by tricking the Walak Head Lolong Lasut using an Indian Bengal cowhide which the Portuguese brought to Minahasa. A land area with the periphery of a cowhide as meant by the Spanish was interpreted as a leather strap made from the cowhide. The Spanish then used people from Mongondouw to occupy the Portuguese fortress in Amurang in the 1550s so in the end the Spanish finally stayed in the Minahasa.

Wene Lingkan's child named Mainalo Wula'an then married a girl from Tanawangko. Their marriage produced a son who then was called Mainalo Sarani. When he became an adult, Mainalo Sarani was named Muntu-Untu while his wife was given the title Lingkan Wene. In 1630, Muntu-Untu and Lingkan Wene were baptized as Christian by a Spanish missionary from the Order of the Franciscans. Then they gained the status of King of Manado.

Since the role of the Walian in Minahasa before the 15th century is known only from legends and local customs, in the 16th century their functions were found in letters of the Portuguese and Spanish missionaries. Like in the letter from Father Blas Palomino dated June 8, 1619. Before he was killed in the Minahasa in 1622, he wrote about the hostility by the Walian religious leaders of the tribe towards the Spanish missionaries. He also writes about the actions of the Kali Walian who incited the head of the Kali settlement named Wongkar to reject and ban the Spanish missionaries from entering the interior of the Minahasa. Twenty-five years later, the letter written by Father Juan Yranzo in Manila in 1645 mentions the expulsion of the Spanish from the Minahasa region on August 10, 1644. The expulsion resulted in the killing of Father Lorenzo Garalda. On the first day, 10.000 Minahasa soldiers arrested 22 Spaniards and killed 19 persons. The Minahasa Walian incited locals to kill all the Spanish missionaries. Unfortunately the names of the Minahasa Walians were not mentioned because their plan leaked to the Spanish missionaries who fled to the waterfront and went to Siauw using boats. From the letters by the Spanish Missionaries it is clear that the Walian of tribal religions were the engines of the war in 1644. But it was this killing of Spanish missionaries which became the fertilizing seeds of the development of Catholicism in Minahasa.


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