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The Philippine Islands—1493–1803

Beginning with the earliest discoveries of Spanish navigators and the descriptions of the early explorers, the history of the islands is traced during a period of nearly three centuries, The original sources of our knowledge for three centuriesby means of official documents, narratives of missionaries, and historical works—the original sources for our knowledge of the islands and their inhabitants. Of prime importance in this field is the history of the missions conducted, since the re-discovery by Legazpi and Urdaneta, by the great religions orders in the Roman Catholic Church—of which the missionaries have left many and often voluminous reports; these writers, too, have supplied much valuable information on the secular history of the islands. Besides the material furnished by them, this series will include descriptive accounts of the islands and their peoples, written by the early navigators and by travelers from foreign lands; reports and letters from Spanish officials; royal decrees; and papal bulls and briefs. Few persons are aware of the vast amount of material available for Philippine history; and in this enterprise the effort Accessible for the first timehas been made for the first time to render that material accessible not only to scholars but to the general public. The necessary limitations of an historical work compel the editors to select for publication only the most important documents and books; but these have been chosen with especial reference to the breadth of the field, and with the endeavor to allot to each subject space proportioned to its interest. Especial care has been taken to Social, economic, commercial, political, religiousdepict the social, economic, commercial, political, and religious conditions of the Filipino peoples, from their earliest relations with European nations until the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the presentation of these documents, and in

New light on present conditionsall editorial comment thereon, an entirely impartial attitude will be preserved, free from any personal bias,