Skip to main content Accessibility help

Battlefield Diplomacy and Empire-building in the Indo-Pacific World during the Seven Years’ War

  • Kristie Patricia Flannery


In 1762, at the height of the Seven Years’ War, Britain’s Royal Navy and East India Company mobilised a motley army of Europeans, South Asians, and Africans and invaded Manila, the capital of Spain’s Asian Empire. The Black Legend blinded the British to the complexities of the real balance of power in the Philippines. The Spanish colonial government quickly raised militias of Spaniards, Mexicans, Chinese mestizos, and indigenous Filipinos who ultimately defeated the British. The loyalties of the soldiers of many nations who converged in Manila could not be taken for granted. This article examines the ongoing bargaining that took place between imperial officials and soldiers, revealing the crucial role that negotiation played in eighteenth-century empire building beyond the Atlantic. War transformed fighting men of many nations into important historical actors who determined the outcome of the Seven Years’ War in the Indo-Pacific world.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Battlefield Diplomacy and Empire-building in the Indo-Pacific World during the Seven Years’ War
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Battlefield Diplomacy and Empire-building in the Indo-Pacific World during the Seven Years’ War
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Battlefield Diplomacy and Empire-building in the Indo-Pacific World during the Seven Years’ War
      Available formats



Hide All

Kristie Patricia Flannery is a PhD student in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation “Building Spain’s Asian Empire in the Age of Revolutions, 1749-1812” is a social and political history of imperial legitimacy based on extensive multi-site archival research. Versions of this article were workshopped at the Fifth International History Graduate Student Intensive at the University of Sydney, the Summer Institute on Contested Global Landscapes at Cornell University, and the American Historical Association’s annual conference. The author would like to thank those who generously provided helpful feedback on earlier drafts in these forums, as well as Jorge Cañizares Esguerra, Bruce Cruikshank, Ruth de Llobert, and the anonymous reviewers recruited by Itinerario.



Hide All
Unpublished Primary Sources
AGIArchivo General de Indias, Spain
AMNArchivo Museo Naval, Madrid
BNEBiblioteca Nacional de España
POPapers of Sir George Pocock, The Huntington Library
Published Primary Sources
Anon. A Plain Narrative of the Reduction of Manila and the Philippine Islands. London, 1765(?).
Blair, Emma Helen, and James Alexander Robertson, eds. The Philippine Islands. Vols. 14 and 49. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1908.
Cushner, Nicholas P., ed. Documents Illustrating the British Conquest of Manila, 1762–1763. London: Royal Historical Society, 1971.
Draper, William. Colonel Draper’s Answer, to the Spanish Arguments, Claiming the Galeon, and Refusing Payment of the Ransom Bills, for Preserving Manila from Pillage and Destruction: In a Letter Addressed to the Earl of Halifax. Pall Mall: J Dodsley, 1764.
Entick, John. The General History of the Late War: Containing It’s Rise, Progress, and Event, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. London: Printed for Edward Dilly, in the Poultry; and John Millan, at Charing–Cross, 1763.
Navarro, Eduardo P. Documentos Indispensables Para La Verdadera Historia de Filipinas: 1762–1763. Madrid: Imprenta del Asilo del Huérfanos, 1908.
Records of Fort St. George. Manilha consultations, 1763. Vols. 3, 5, and 6. Madras: Superintendent, Government Press, 1940–42.
Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.
Arcilla, Jose. “The Pangasinan Uprising, 1762–1765.” Philippines Historical Review 4 (1971): 3552.
Baugh, Daniel. The Global Seven Years War, 1754–1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest. London: Routledge, 2011.
Blanco Andrés, Roberto. Entre Frailes y Clérigos: las Claves de la Cuestión Clerical en Filipinas (1776–1872). Madrid: CSIC, 2012.
Blanco Andrés, Roberto. “La Revuelta de Ilocos de 1807.” Archivo Agustiniano: Revista de estudios históricos publicada por los PP. Agustinos 96:214 (2012): 4372.
Bayly, C. A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Malden: Blackwell, 2004.
Buschmann, Rainer F., Slack, Edward R. and Tueller, James B.. Navigating the Spanish Lake: The Pacific in the Iberian World, 1521–1898. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014.
Chakraborty, Titas. “Desertion in the Company Settlements in Early Eighteenth Century Bengal.” Paper presented at Runaways: Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c.1650–1850, Amsterdam, October 2015.
Corpuz, O. D. The Roots of the Filipino Nation Vol. 1. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Diliman, 2005.
Crailsheim, Eberhard. “The Baptism of Sultan Azim ud-Din of Sulu: Festivities for the Consolidation of Spanish Power in the Philippines in Middle of the Eighteenth Century.” In Image—Object—Performance, edited by Eberhard Crailsheim and Astrid Windus, 93120. Munster: Waxmann, 2013.
Escoto, Salvador P. “Expulsion of the Chinese and Readmission to the Philippines: 1764–1779.” Philippine Studies 47:1 (1999): 4876.
Escoto, Salvador P. “A Supplement to the Expulsion of the Chinese from the Philippines: 1764–1779.” Philippine Studies 48:2 (2000): 209234.
Fish, Shirley. When Britain Ruled the Philippines. Bloomington: First Books, 2003.
Flannery, Kristie. “Prohibited Games, Prohibited People: Race and Gambling and Segregation in Early Modern Manila.” Newberry Essays in Medieval and Early Modern Studies 8 (2014): 8192.
Fonseca, M. R. P., Fr Joaquin. Historia de los PP. Dominicos en las Islas Filipinas y en Sus Misiones del Japon, China, Tung-kin y Formosa. Madrid: Orden Del M. R. P. Provincial, 1871.
Fowler, Jessica. “Illuminated Islands: Luisa de los Reyes and the Inquisition in Manila.” In Devout Laywomen in the Early Modern World, edited by Alison Weber. London: Routledge, 2016.
Fradera, Josep. La Nación Imperial (1750–1918). Barcelona: Edhasa, 2015.
Irving, D. R. M. Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early-Modern Manila. Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Larkin, John A. The Pampangans: Colonial Society in a Philippine Province. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972.
Lawson, Philip. The East India Company, A History. London: Longman, 1993.
Luengo Gutiérrez, Pedro. Manila, Plaza Fuerte (1762–1788): Ingenieros Militares Entre Asia, América y Europa. Madrid: CSIC, Ministerio de Defensa, 2013.
Machado, Pedro. “A Forgotten Corner of the Indian Ocean: Gujarati Merchants, Portuguese India and the Mozambique Slave-Trade, c. 1730–1830.” Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies 24:2 (2008): 1732.
Mapp, Paul. The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713–1763. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
Marshall, P. J. The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750–1783. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Mawson, Stephanie. “Unruly Plebeians and the Forzado System: Convict Transportation between New Spain and the Philippines during the Seventeenth Century.” Revista de Indias 73:259 (2013): 693730.
Mehl, Eva. “The Spanish Empire and The Pacific World: Mexican ‘Vagrants, Idlers, and Troublemakers’ in the Philippines, 1765–1821.” PhD diss., University of California, Davis, 2011.
Melo Alio, Eufronio. Political and Cultural History of the Philippines, rev. ed. Manila: Alip, 1964.
Montero y Vidal, José. Historia General de Filipinas desde el Descubrimiento De Dichas Islas Hasta Nuestras Días. Madrid: Real Academia de Historia, 1895.
Oudijk, Michel R. and Restall, Matthew. “Mesoamerican Conquistadors in the Sixteenth Century.” In Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica, edited by Laura E. Matthew and Michel Roudick, 2864. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007.
Palanco, Fernando. “Diego Silang’s Revolt: A New Approach.” Philippine Studies 50:4 (2002): 512537.
Phelan, John Leddy. The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565–1700. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1959.
Quiason, Serafin D. English “Country Trade” With the Philippines, 1644–1765. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1966.
Rafael, Vicente. Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.
Restall, Matthew. “The Decline and Fall of the Spanish Empire.” The William and Mary Quarterly 64:1 (2007): 183194.
Routledge, David. Diego Silang and the Origins of Philippine Nationalism. Diliman: University of the Philippines Press, 1979.
Santamaria, O. P. “The Chinese Parian (El Parian de los Sangleyes).” In The Chinese in the Philippines, 1570–1770, edited by Alfonso Felix, Jr., 67118. Manila: Historical Conservation Society, 1966.
Stern, Philip J. The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Tarling, Nicholas. Sulu and Sabah: A Study of the British Policy Towards the Philippines and North Borneo from the Late Eighteenth Century. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Tracy, Nicholas. Manila Ransomed: The British Assault on Manila in the Seven Years War. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1995.
Warren, James Francis. The Sulu Zone, 1768–1898: The Dynamics of External Trade, Slavery and Ethnicity in the Transformation of a Southeast Asian Maritime State. Singapore: NUS Press, 1981.
Way, Peter. “Rebellion of the Regulars: Working soldiers and the Mutiny of 1763–1764.” William and Mary Quarterly 57:4 (2000): 761792.
Zúñiga, Joaquín Martínez. An Historical View of the Philippine Islands, translated by John Maver Esq. London: Black, Parry, 1814.
Zúñiga, Joaquín Martínez. Estadismo de las Islas Filipinas, o Mis Viajes por Este País Vol. 2. Madrid: Imp. de la Viuda de M. Minuesa de los Ríos, 1893.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Battlefield Diplomacy and Empire-building in the Indo-Pacific World during the Seven Years’ War

  • Kristie Patricia Flannery


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.