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The trans-imperial biography of César Falliet: a life between global cities

  • Kristie Patricia Flannery (a1)


César Falliet's trans-imperial biography sheds light on the dynamics of belonging in early modern Manila, a city that was both a cosmopolitan centre of trade and a stronghold of Spanish colonial power. Falliet's integration into Manila's social world depended on his ability to convince elites that he was Catholic, loyal to the Spanish king and useful to his empire; attributes that he proved by fighting Islamic and Protestant pirates. These credentials were ultimately tested in five theatres: Manila, Batavia, India, the Americas and the Sulu Zone. Manila's inter-Asian and transpacific ties profoundly shaped foreigners’ lives in the city.


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The author would like to thank scholars, friends and the editors of this Special Issue who offered useful critiques and suggestions for improving early drafts of this article, including Jorge Cañizares, Jane Mangan, Titas Chakraborty, Jesse Olsavsky, Emma Hart and Mariana Dantas.



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1 Games, A., ‘Beyond the Atlantic: English globetrotters and transoceanic connections’, William and Mary Quarterly, 63 (2006), 678.

2 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), Archivo Histórico Nacional, Inquisicón, 1730, Exp.31.

3 This article draws extensively on the record of the Inquisition's investigation of Falliet preserved in Spain's Archivo Historicó Nacional, ibid. In addition, it uses manuscript materials from Spain's Archivo General de Indias (AGI), Mexico's Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), the Philippines National Archives (PNA) and India Office Records held in the British Library. The spelling of Falliet's name varies in the archival record; I have adopted the spelling used by Falliet himself.

4 Hillerkuss, T., ‘Don César Fallet, un suizo prusiano: sus hazañas en Europa y el sureste de Asia, y la Inquisición de Manila y de México’, in Chen, L. and García, A. Saladino (eds.), La nueva nao: de formosa á América Latina (Taiwan, 2013), 123–36.

5 Martinez, M., Genealogical Fictions, Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, 2008); Ireton, C., ‘“They are blacks of the caste of black Christians”: old Christian black blood in the sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Iberian Atlantic’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 97 (2017), 539612.

6 Lázaro, F. López, The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramírez: The True Adventures of a Spanish-American with 17th-Century Pirates (Austin, 2011), 13.

7 Giráldez, A., The Age of Trade: The Manila Galleons and the Dawn of the Global Economy (London, 2015), 2; Irving, D.R.M., Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila (New York, 2010), 89.

8 Schurz, W.L., The Manila Galleon (New York, 1939).

9 For the galleon trade, see ibid.; Giráldez, The Age of Trade; López, C. Yuste, Emporios transpacíficos: comerciantes mexicanos en Manila, 1710–1815 (México City, 2007). Quiason's research on Manila's inter-Asian trade is foundational. Quiason, S.D., English ‘Country Trade' with the Philipines, 1644–1765 (Quezon City, 1966).

10 Bhattacharya, B., ‘Making money at the blessed place of Manila: Armenians in the Madras–Manila trade in the eighteenth century’, Journal of Global History, 3 (2008), 120; Aslanian, S.D., From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (Berkeley, 2011); Zapatero, A. Baena and Lamikiz, X., ‘Presencia de una diáspora global: comerciantes armenios y comercio intercultural en Manila, c. 1660–1800’, Revista de Indias, 74 (2014), 693722.

11 Tremml-Werner, B.M., ‘Marginal players and intra-network connections: new perspectives on the Manila trade c. 1640–1780’, Journal of Social Sciences and Philosophy, 29 (2017), 1320.

12 Velarde, P.M., Historia de la provincia de Philipinas de la Compañia de Jesus: segunda parte, que comprehende los progresos de esta provincia desde el año de 1616 hasta el de 1716, 4 vols. (Manila, 1749), vol. II, 6.

13 Comyn, T. and Walton, W., State of the Philippine Islands: Being an Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive Account of that Interesting Portion of the Indian Archipelago (London, 1821), 78.

14 Irving, Colonial Counterpoint, 39.

15 Ibid., 6; Newson, L.A., Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines (Honolulu, 2009), 256–7.

16 Crailsheim, E., ‘The baptism of Sultan Azim ud-Din of Sulu: festivities for the consolidation of Spanish power in the Philippines in the middle of the eighteenth century’, in Crailsheim, E. and Windus, A. (eds.), Image – Object – Performance (Münster, 2013), 102–3.

17 Irving, Colonial Counterpoint, 27.

18 Quiason, English ‘Country Trade', 166.

19 Gil, J., Los Chinos en Manila: siglos XVI y XVII (Lisbon, 2011), 161–2; Leibshon, D., ‘Dentro y fuera de los muros: Manila, ethnicity, and colonial cartography’, Ethnohistory, 61 (2014), 258; Carta de Torralba sobre convivencia con infieles (1704), AGI Filipinas 165, N.8.

20 Orden de dar bando para expulsar a extranjeros infieles (1744), AGI Filipinas 334, L.15, fols. 355r–359r.

21 Testimonio autentico del expediente formado sobre la expedición y armada que pasó al presidio de Zamboangan al comando del caballero del general Zésar Falliet para atacar a los moros ilanos y camucones por los sitios de Tubuc y La Laguna de Panguil (1754), AGI Filipinas 295, N.28 BIS.

22 Ecclesiastical prisons have left a rich archival trail, for example in Expediente sobre expulsión de personas de juzgado eclesiástico (1758), AGI Filipinas 295, N.47. For a discussion of ecclesiastical justice, see Bankoff, G., ‘Devils, familiars and Spaniards: spheres of power and the supernatural in the world of Seberina Candelaria and her village in early 19th century Philippines’, Journal of Social History, 33 (1999), 3755. For casas de recogmiento, see Camacho, M.S., ‘Woman's worth: the concept of virtue in the education of women in Spanish colonial Philippines’, Philippine Studies, 55 (2007), 59.

23 The three Inquisition Tribunals operating in Spain's American colonies were based in Mexico City, Lima and Cartagena. The Philippines fell within the jurisdiction of the Mexican Tribunal. Each Tribunal presided over a large network of local commissioners. Tribunals were governed by and subservient to the Supreme Council of the Inquisition in Spain, whose members were directly appointed by the Spanish monarch leading Kamen to describe the Inquisition as ‘a bureaucracy not of the Church but of the State’: Kamen, H., The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, 4th edn (New Haven, 2014), 191.

24 Baena Zapatero and Lamikiz, ‘Presencia de una diáspora global’.

25 Crewe, R.D., ‘Transpacific mestizo: religion and caste in the worlds of a Moluccan prisoner of the Mexican Inquisition’, Itinerario, 39 (2016), 463–85; Al Comisario de Manila ordenándole remita un ejemplar del devocionario en lengua Tagala, haciendo cargo también de sus excesos (1750), AGN Inquisición 1151; Carta de Pedro Martínez de Arizala pidiendo un obispo auxiliar (1753), AGI Filipinas 292, N.33; Cartas que escribieron al comissario de Manila el año de 1754 (1754), AGN Inquisición 1138, Exp.22.

26 Crewe, ‘Transpacific mestizo’, 473–4.

27 See for example Mehl's study of the Mexican Tribunal of acordada and sala del crimen. Mehl, E.M., Forced Migration in the Spanish Pacific World: From Mexico to the Philippines, 1765–1811 (Cambridge, 2016), 194226.

28 Walsh, J.P., ‘Watchful citizens: immigration control, surveillance and societal participation’, Social & Legal Studies, 23 (2014), 253.

29 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758).

30 Reed, R.R., Colonial Manila: The Context of Hispanic Urbanism and Process of Morphogenesis (Berkeley, 1978), 62–3.

31 Falliet's involvement in the Batavia–Manila slave trade is documented in Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758). In 1761, Falliet sent his slave Antonio to Acapulco with instructions for him to be sold for at least 100 pesos. Diligencias practicadas contra Cesár Fallet (1768), AGN Inquisición 1069, Exp.3. For an overview of the transpacific slave trade, see Seijas, T., Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians (New York, 2014), 3272.

32 Irving, Colonial Counterpoint, 185–6.

33 For Falliet's confraternity membership, see Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fol. 86r. This confraternity is briefly discussed in de San Antonio, J.F., Chronicas de la apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos de N.S.P.S. Francisco en las Islas Philipinas, China, Japon, &c. (Sampoloc, 1738), 207.

34 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 77r–78r, 86r.

35 Anson is described as a pirate here because that is how he was perceived in Manila. Scholars of the Spanish empire have demonstrated that eighteenth-century Spanish colonial officials did not draw distinctions between the legal categories of pirates, privateers or sailors and officers employed or commissioned by the British Royal Navy and East India Company. Rather, they lumped together foreigners who attacked their settlements from the sea into the ‘pirate’ category; all were criminals who committed illegal acts including attacking populations and taking hostages. Lane, K., Pillaging the Empire: Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500–1750 (Armonk, NY, 1998), 4; del Pilar Montanez Sanabria, E., Challenging the Pacific Spanish Empire: Pirates in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1570–1750 (Davis, CA, 2014), 1317. Guy Chet argues that the distinction between pirates and privateers also mattered less in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world than historians have suggested. Chet, G., The Ocean Is a Wilderness: Atlantic Piracy and the Limits of State Authority, 1688–1856 (Amherst, MA, 2014), 56.

36 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 44v–48r, 82v, 84v–85r.

37 Ocio, H., Misioneros Dominicos en el Extremo Oriente, 2 vols. (Manila, 2000), vol. I, 287–8.

38 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 2r–2v.

39 The Igorots were the indigenous inhabitants of the Cordillera mountain range in Luzon. Perhaps witnesses chose this term instead of ‘indios’ to suggest that Falliet was engaging with ‘uncivilized’ indigenous people. Ibid., fols. 6r–7v.

40 Ibid., fols. 35r–39r.

41 Ibid., fols. 11v–14v.

42 Ibid., fol. 77.

43 Ibid., fol. 27v.

44 Penyak, L.M., ‘The Inquisition and prohibited sexual artwork in late colonial Mexico’, Colonial Latin American Review, 24 (2015), 422.

45 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 5r–5v.

46 Ibid., fols. 80r–81r.

47 Ibid., fols. 6v–8v.

48 Expediente sobre expulsión de personas de juzgado eclesiástico (1758), fol. 43.

49 Méritos: Juan de Morales y Severiche (1753), AGI Indiferente 154, N.11.

50 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 73r–74v.

51 R. Raben, ‘Batavia and Colombo: the ethnic and spatial order of two colonial cities 1600–1800’, Leiden University Ph.D. thesis, 1996, 120–30.

52 O'Toole, R.S., Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru (Pittsburgh, 2012), 63.

53 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 73r–74v.

54 Silverblatt, I., Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World (Durham, NC, 2004), 229.

55 Love, H.D., Vestiges of Old Madras, 1640–1800: Traced from the East India Company's Records Preserved at Fort St. George and the India Office, and from Other Sources, 4 vols. (Delhi, 1988), vol. II, 557.

56 See Salmon's description of Madras in ibid., vol. II, 75; Nightingale, C.H., ‘Before race mattered: geographies of the color line in early colonial Madras and New York’, American Historical Review, 113 (2008), 4871.

57 Lockyer, C., An Account of the Trade in India: Containing Rules for Good Government In Trade…with Descriptions of Fort St. George…Calicut…to Which Is Added, an Account of the Management of the Dutch in their Affairs in India (London, 1711), 23.

58 Mentz, S., The English Gentlemen Merchants at Work: Madras and the City of London 1660–1740 (Copenhagen, 2005), 244.

59 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758). Quiason, English ‘Country Trade', 92.

60 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fol. 5v.

61 Ibid., fols. 48v–49v; P.R. Johnston, ‘The church on Armenian Street: Capuchin friars, the British East India Company, and the Second Church of colonial Madras’, University of Iowa Ph.D. thesis, 2015, 73.

62 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 77r–79v.

63 Ibid.

64 Blussé, L., Visible cities: Canton, Nagasaki, and Batavia and the Coming of the Americans (Cambridge, MA, 2008), 5, 18.

65 Raben, ‘Batavia and Colombo’, 39.

66 Relación de méritos y servicios de Tomé Gaspar de León, guardacostas de las islas Filipinas (1755), AGI Indiferente 155, N.47.

67 For the role of families in transatlantic trade, see Mangan, J.E., Transatlantic Obligations: Creating the Bonds of Family in Conquest-Era Peru and Spain (New York and Oxford, 2016), 102–3. Family networks dominated the galleon trade; see Yuste López, Emporios transpacíficos; C.T. Goode, ‘Power in the peripheries: family business and the global reach of the 18th-century Spanish empire’, University of Arizona Ph.D. thesis, 2012, 8–22, 104–9. Family underpinned Armenian long-distance trading networks in the Indo-Pacific world, too: Aslanian, From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, 145–50.

68 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 8v–9v.

69 Ibid., fols. 56v–57r.

70 Ibid., fol. 83v.

71 Rodríguez-Sala, M.L., Cinco cárceles de la Ciudad de México sus cirujanos y otros personajes: 1574–1820 ¿miembros de un estamento profesional o de una comunidad científica? (Mexico City, 2009).

72 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fol. 76r.

73 Ibid., fols. 77r–78r.

74 Ibid., fol. 116r. For the Inquisition's use of torture, see Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions, 70–3.

75 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fols. 35r–39r.

76 Silverblatt, Modern Inquisitions, 59.

77 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fol. 121v. For more information on this sentence, see Rodríguez-Sala, Cinco cárceles, 173; Chuchiak, J.F. IV, The Inquisition in New Spain, 1536–1820: A Documentary History (Baltimore, 2012), 47.

78 Cartas que escribieron al comissario de Manila el año de 1754 (1754), fols. 342–78.

79 Ibid., fol. 366r.

80 Al Comisario de Manila ordenándole remita un ejemplar del devocionario en lengua Tagala, haciendo cargo también de sus excesos (1750), fol. 366; Lea, H.C., The Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies: Sicily – Naples – Sardinia – Milan – the Canaries – Mexico – Peru – New Granada (London, 1908), 301.

81 Cartas que escribieron al comissario de Manila el año de 1754 (1754), fol. 366r.

82 Cuaderno segundo de la causa contra D. Cesár Fallet, por proposiciónes (1752), AGN Inquisición 924, N.4, fols. 303r–328r.

83 Warren, J.F., The Sulu Zone, 1768–1898: The Dynamics of External Trade, Slavery and Ethnicity in the Transformation of a Southeast Asian Maritime State, 2nd edn (Singapore, 2007), xli–xlvii, 164–7.

84 Gutiérrez, P.L., ‘La fortificación del archipiélago filipino en el siglo XVIII. La defensa integral ante lo local y lo global’, Revista de Indias, 77 (2017), 729–58.

85 Testimonio de varias cartas de avisos, y noticias dadas al superior gobierno por los comandantes de la armada que se despachó al Pressidio de Samboanga, y demas Yslas contra los enemigos moros, el Cab[ellero] Dn Cezar Falliet y Don Antonio Faveau Quezada (1754), AGI Filipinas 920, N.23; de la Concepción, J., Historia general de Philipinas: conquistas espirituales y temporales de estos espanñoles dominios, establecimientos progresos, y decadencias, vol. I (Manila, 1788), 177.

86 Carta del marqués de Ovando sobre necesidades para la conquista de Joló y Mindanao (1753), AGI Filipinas 385, N.25.

87 Twinam, Ann, Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattos, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies (Stanford, 2015), 167, 391.

88 Expediente sobre la expedición contra Joló y Mindanao y sobre la traición y prisión de su rey, Fernando I, alias Mahamat Alimudin (1753), AGI Filipinas 706; Testimonio…sobre la expedición y armada que pasó al presidio de Zamboangan (1754).

89 P. de la Santísima Trinidad Martínez de Arizala, Carta pastoral del Illmo. y Rmo. Señor Arzobispo de Manila : año de 1754 (Manila, 1754).

90 Comun de los Sangleyes de la Alcazeria Parián sobre el donativo gracioso que hizieron a su Magestad (1753), PNA, Cedulario 31.

91 For an overview of the Seven Years’ War in Manila, see Flannery, K.P., ‘The Seven Years’ War and the globalization of Anglo-Iberian imperial entanglement: the view from Manila’, in Cañizares-Esguerra, J. (ed.), Entangled Histories of the Early Modern Iberian and British Empires (Philadelphia, 2018), 236–54.

92 Cushner, N.P., Documents Illustrating the British Conquest of Manila, 1762–1763 (London, 1971), 88120; El Sr. Inquisidor Fiscal de este Santo Oficio contra el Capitan César Fallet, por apostata, hereje formal…y haberse huido con los Ingleses que conquistaron Manila (1765), AGN Inquisición 1069, Exp.2, fol. 57r.

93 El Sr. Inquisidor Fiscal de este Santo Oficio contra el Capitan César Fallet, AGN Inquisición 1069, Exp.2., fols. 28r–58r.

94 Ibid., fol. 57.

95 Necesidad en que se hallo el comisario de Manila de quemar todos los papeles del archivo de su comisaria (1765), AGN, Inquisición 1057, fol. 5r; Medina, José Toribio, El tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición en las islas Filipinas (Santiago de Chile, 1899), 156–7.

96 Santo Oficio contra el Capitan César Fallet (1765), fols. 44–8.

97 Proceso de fe de César Fallet (1758), fol. 90.

98 Games, ‘Beyond the Atlantic’, 675.

99 Subrahmanyam, S., Three Ways to be Alien: Travails & Encounters in the Early Modern World (Waltham, MA, 2011), 173.

The author would like to thank scholars, friends and the editors of this Special Issue who offered useful critiques and suggestions for improving early drafts of this article, including Jorge Cañizares, Jane Mangan, Titas Chakraborty, Jesse Olsavsky, Emma Hart and Mariana Dantas.

The trans-imperial biography of César Falliet: a life between global cities

  • Kristie Patricia Flannery (a1)


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