This chapter describes the initial contact between the Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands. It begins with Magellan’s 1521 encounter with the islanders, which would set a precedent that became a tragic pattern in later Spanish–Chamorro relations. The great cultural differences in the values and behavior of the two sides led repeatedly to hostility and armed conflict. At the same time tensions arose between Spain and Portugal over a dispute regarding access to the Moluccas, setting off a wave of European explorers into the far Pacific and an age of exploration and conquest that would extend itself to Magellan’s final destination—the Philippines.
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