Datu Zula

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Datu Zula was one of the two chiefs of Mactan island besides Lapulapu when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the archipelago. It was Zula who suggested to Magellan to go to Mactan to force Lapulapu to submit to Spain, leading to the Battle of Mactan.

Submitting to Spain

Befriended by Magellan, Rajah Humabon ordered nearby chiefs to provide food supplies for the fleet and to convert to Christianity. Most chiefs, including Zula, obeyed the order. He sent one of his sons to give two goats to Magellan as present. He promised his service to the King of Spain. However, Datu Lapulapu, the other chief of Mactan, refused to obey Humabon’s order and declared that he would never submit to Spain. Zula sent a message to Magellan that he could overthrow Lapulapu if Magellan would send a boatload of men.

Magellan saw it as an opportunity to showcase the Spanish might and to strengthen their ties with the rulers of the Visayan region. Thus, he agreed to help Humabon and Zula subdue the resistant Lapulapu. With around 60 men and several native allies, Magellan faced Lapulapu’s army of some 1,500 natives in what would become the Battle of Mactan.

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