Manila was first known as Gintô (gold) or Suvarnadvipa by neighboring settlements, and was officially the Kingdom of Maynila. The Kingdom flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty as a result of direct trade relations with China. Ancient Tondo was maintained as the traditional capital of the empire, with its rulers as sovereign kings and not mere chieftains, and were addressed variously as panginuan or panginoon ("lords"); anak banwa ("son of heaven"); or lakandula ("lord of the palace"). In the 13th century, the city consisted of a fortified settlement and trading quarter at the shores of the Pasig River, on top of previous older towns. There is also early evidence of Manila being invaded by the Indianized empire of Majapahit, referenced in the epic eulogy poem Nagarakretagama which inscribed its conquest by Maharaja Hayam Wuruk. Saludong or Selurong which is a historical name for the city of Manila is listed in Canto 14 alongside Sulot, which is now Sulu, and Kalka.
During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei attempted to break Tondo's monopoly in the China trade by attacking it and establishing the state of Selurong (now Manila) as a Bruneian satellite state. A new dynasty under the Islamized Rajah Salalila was also established to challenge the House of Lakandula in Tondo. Islam was further strengthened by the arrival of traders and proselytizers from Malaysia and Indonesia. The multiple states that existed in the Philippines simplified Spanish colonization. Manila was temporarily threatened by the invasion of Chinese pirate-warlord Limahong before it became the seat of the colonial government of Spain.
In 1571 Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded the Manila in what today is the district of Intramuros. Manila was made the capital of the Philippine Islands, which Spain would control for the next three centuries, from 1565 to 1898. The city was occupied by Great Britain for two years from 1762 to 1764 as part of the European Seven Years' War between Spain and France and Great Britain. The city remained the capital of the Philippines under the government of the provisional British governor, Dawsonne Drake, acting through the Mexican-born Archbishop of Manila, Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra and the captive Audiencia Real. However, armed resistance to the British persisted, centered in Pampanga, and was led by Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar.
Manila also became famous during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade which lasted for three centuries and brought goods from Mexico and Peru to Southeast Asia. Silver that was mined in Mexico and Peru were exchanged for Chinese silk, Indian gems, and the spices of the Spanish East Indies.
In 1898, after their defeat in the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States, as well as several other territorial possessions, as part of the terms under the Treaty of Paris and a monetary exchange of $20 million. Immediately after liberation from Spain, between 1899 and 1902, Filipino revolutionaries would be involved in armed conflict with the American military in the Philippine–American War and would result in the deaths of as much as 1.5 million Filipino civilians and the dissolution of the First Philippine Republic.
Under American control, the new insular government headed by Governor-General William Howard Taft invited Daniel Burnham to plan a modern Manila. The Burnham Plan was a project that attempted to create Manila as Paris on the Prairie, with a vision of a government center occupying all of Wallace Field, which extends from Luneta to the present Taft Avenue. The Philippine Capitol was to rise on the Taft Avenue end of the field, facing toward the sea, and would form, with the buildings of different government bureaus and departments, a quadrangle, lagoon in the center, and a monument to Jose Rizal at its Luneta end. Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units were built: the Legislative Building and the building of the Finance and Agricultural departments, which were completed on the eve of World War II. By then, President Manuel L. Quezon had doomed the Burnham Plan by creating a new capital in a city just outside Manila proper, which was named after him, Quezon City.
Manila was the site of the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. After falling to the Empire of Japan on January 2, 1942, it was recaptured by joint American and Filipino troops in February to March 1945. Some 100,000 civilians were killed in Manila during the battles between November 1944 and February 1945. It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. Since then the city has been rebuilt.
With Arsenio Lacson becoming the first elected mayor in 1952 (all mayors were appointed prior to this), the city of Manila underwent The Golden Age, was revitalized, and once again became the "Pearl of the Orient", a moniker it earned before the outbreak of the Second World War. After Mayor Lacson's term in the 1950s, the city was led by Antonio Villegas during most of the 1960s, and Ramon Bagatsing for nearly the entire decade of the 1970s until the 1986 People Power Revolution, making him the longest serving Mayor of Manila. Mayors Lacson, Villegas, and Bagatsing are oftentimes collectively considered as the "Big Three of Manila" for their rather long tenures as the city's chief executive (continuously for over three decades, from 1952–1986), but more importantly, for their indelible contribution to the development and progress of the city and their lasting legacy in uplifting the quality of life and welfare of the people of the city of Manila.
During the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, the region of the Manila Metropolitan area was enacted as an independent entity in 1975 encompassing several cities and towns, being a separate local-regional unit and the seat of government of the Philippines.
In 1992, Alfredo Lim became the mayor, and was known for his anti-crime crusades. When Lim ran for the presidency during the 1998 presidential election, his vice mayor Lito Atienza was elected as city mayor. Atienza was known for his infrastructure projects. He was the mayor of Manila for 3 terms (9 years) before being termed out of office. Alfredo Lim once again ran for mayor and defeated Atienza's son Ali in the 2007 city election and reversed all of Atienza's projects claiming the projects made little contribution to the improvements of the city. On July 17, 2008, councilor Dennis Alcoreza filed human rights complaints before the Commission on Human Rights, against Lim, and other Manila officials. Twenty-four Manila officials also resigned because of the maltreatment of Lim's police forces.
While the eastern part of Metro Manila faced a catastrophe during the flooding of Tropical Storm Ketsana (local name: Ondoy) in 2009, the only major inconvenience in the city was the flooded Quezon Boulevard underpass which took two days to clean up and the flooded districts of Sampaloc, Santa Ana and Santa Mesa.
During the 2010 city elections, Alfredo Lim won against secretary Lito Atienza. After a few months of taking office, Lim was harshly criticized on the bloody resolution of the Manila hostage crisis, one of the deadliest hostage crisis in the Philippines. Lim was also accused of graft and corruption. In 2012, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and 28 city councilors filed a complaint against Lim, alleging that the his statements in a recent meeting with barangay officials were "life-threatening", although Mayor Lim countered this statement. Also, the city was reportedly bankrupt according to the Commission on Audit (COA), citing: the city's cash position of ₱1.006 billion is insufficient to pay its deficit of ₱3.553 billion; unclaimed remittances from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); and the bloating expenses for the operation of the city and its services. City officials countered this statement, claiming that the city is not bankrupt.
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