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Martín de Rada’s Imprint

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Martín de Rada, a Spanish missionary in the Philippines, became one of the first Spaniards to visit China, after stopping in Mexico.

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Born in Pamplona, Spain, Rada traveled to New Spain (Mexico) to practice his religious profession as a member of the Order of Saint Augustine.

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Assigned to an Otomi community in Mexico, this gifted linguist wrote instructional sermons and a book in Otomi language.

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Rada's skills with languages and his expertise in geometry and astrology were quickly recognized by important figures in Mexico. Rada was selected, together with other five Augustinian members, for the Andrés de Urdaneta-Miguel Lopez de Legazpi expedition to Asia in 1564.

The expedition arrived in Cebu on
April 27th, 1565
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In the Philippines, Martín de Rada not only preached and helped indigenous people, but also acquired and conducted research from multiple geospatial territories around the archipelago.

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In a letter addressed to New Spain’s viceroyalty (1572), Rada mentioned that he obtained significant information from a Chinese mercenary, with some sort of authority named Canco. According to the letter, Canco lived at Rada’s house for almost six months. No more information is offered regarding Canco’s reason to stay at Rada’s house. However, there is proof that Canco provided a significant amount of information about China.

This information is groundbreaking as Rada proves to be the first Augustinian on record to conduct interracial interrogations with the Chinese in Manila.

More coming soon...


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