18th century Philippine map shows disputed territories in country’s domain

The 1734 Murillo Velarde map. Source: The Inquirer 20150615

As China continues to claim parts of the South China Sea for itself, affected countries like Philippines and Vietnam are more and more appealing to evidence from ancient maps to show histories of territoriality. This latest example from the Philippines is from the 18th century.

The 1734 Murillo Velarde map. Source: The Inquirer 20150615
The 1734 Murillo Velarde map. Source: The Inquirer 20150615

‘Mother of Philippine maps’ settles sea dispute with China
Inquirer, 15 June 2015

“Panacot” or “Scarborough Shoal” does not appear in any of the ancient Chinese maps.

The 1734, 1744 and 1760 Murillo Velarde maps clearly show Panacot, the island disputed by China, even before it became known as “Scarborough Shoal.”

In fact, as Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio wrote in his monograph “Historical Facts, Historical Lies and Historical Rights in the West Philippine Sea” and has repeatedly stressed in his lectures on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, Panacot has been “consistently depicted in ancient Philippine maps from 1636 to 1940.”

Only after Sept. 12, 1784, when an East India Co. tea-clipper was wrecked on one of its rocks did the shoal become “Scarborough Shoal.” For Carpio Panacot or Scarborough Shoal “does not appear in any of the ancient Chinese maps.”

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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