1582 Cagayan battles
Rōnin Japanese drawing from 1869
Date 1582
Location Cagayan, Luzon, Philippines
Result Spanish victory
22x20px Spanish Empire Wokou
Commanders and leaders
22x20pxJuan Pablo de Carrión Tay Fusa
40 soldiers
1 galera
5 small support ships
1 light vessel
1 junk
18 sampans
More than a 1000 men
Casualties and losses
10-20 killed several hundreds killed

The 1582 Cagayan battles were a series of clashes between the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines led by Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion, and Wokou (Japanese pirates) headed by Tay Fusa. These battles, which took place in the vicinity of the Cagayan River, finally resulted in a Spanish victory.

This event was the only recorded battle between European regular soldiers against samurai warriors.[citation needed]

This unique event pitted musketeers, pikemen and Spanish rodeleros against Japanese Ronin (masterless samurai), and to a lesser extent, ashigaru (foot soldiers).[citation needed]


Around 1573, the Japanese began to exchange gold for silver on the Philippine island of Luzon, especially in the provinces of Cagayan, Metro Manila and Pangasinan, specifically the Lingayen area. In 1580, however, Japanese pirates forced the natives of Cagayan to tender loyalty and submission. These raiders were called Wokou, although in the sixteenth century the term referred also to Chinese pirates.

The Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo amend the situation commissioned Juan Pablo de Carrion, gentleman and Navy captainof the Spanish navy. Carrion took the initiative and, thanks to the technical superiority of Western ships, easily shelled a Japanese ship in the South China Sea to force him to retire. The answer came through the pirate leader Tay Fusa (also referred to as Tayfusu or Tayfuzu), which sailed toward the Philippine archipelago with 10 ships. To counter this, captain Carrion managed to gather 40 soldiers and 7 boats: support five small support vessels, a light ship (San Yusepe) and a galley (La Capitana).

As they passed the Bogueador cape the fleet discovered a Japanese Sampan that just arrived to the coast and were treating extremely harshly the native population. The Captain began a naval battle against the Sampan and boarded the Japanese ship, still outnumbered by the Japanese. The Spanish rodeleros face then against real Japanese samurai with armor and armed with katanas. As the Japanese also had muskets, which had been provided by the Portuguese, the deck of the sanpan become a battlefield with the Spanish pikemen at front and arquebusiers and musketeers behind. Finally, the victory was for the Spanish troops thanks to the improvised parapet and the best quality of the Spanish armor and weaponry.

The flotilla continued down the Tagus River, finding a fleet of 18 sampans, the Spanish flotilla make their way through using its artillery and disembarked to dig in and place the artilleryunloaded from the galley in the trenchs, while continually making fire at the enemy. The Wokou decided to negotiate a surrender and Carrion ordered them to leave Luzon. Pirates asked gold in compensation for the losses they would suffer if they left, which was followed by an outright refusal of Carrion. thenthe Japanese decided to attack by land with 600 soldiers. The trench endured that first assault, followed by another. As some pikes were seized by the Japanese Spanish sebum put the wood to make it more slippery and be more difficult to grasp. After a third attack, which almost came in the trenches, and with little gunpowder, the 30 Spanish soldiers were able to resist and defeat the enemy, and then attacked him, causing the enemy to flee. The Spanish then took the Japanese weapons that were left on the battlefield as trophies, which included beautiful katana and armor. European Fencing proved to be better than the Japanese martial arts and Toledo steel swords much stronger and useful than katanas. The Japanese armor were refined with European style, adding metal breastplates.

Pacified the region, and with reinforcements, Carrión founded in the city of Nueva Segovia (now Lal-lo).

Pirate activity was residual and the commercial activity focused on Lingayen Bay, in Pangasinan, on the port of Agoo and consisted principally on the deerskin trade.


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