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Battle of Manila (1762)


Battle of Manila (1762)

Battle of Manila
Part of the Anglo-Spanish War (1761–1763)
Date 24 September – 6 October 1762
Location Manila, Philippines
Result British victory
Great Britain occupies Manila.
 Great Britain Spain
Commanders and leaders
William Draper
Samuel Cornish
Manuel Rojo
Simón de Anda y Salazar
10,300 men[1]
15 ships
565 regular Spanish troops
8,600 Filipino troops
200 French and British deserters[2]
Casualties and losses
147 killed and wounded[3][4] ~100 Spanish killed and wounded
361 Spanish surrendered[4]

The Battle of Manila was fought during the Seven Years' War, from 24 September 1762 to 6 October 1762, between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain in and around Manila, the capital of the Philippines, a Spanish colony at that time. The British won, leading to a short British occupation of Manila.


  • Prelude 1
  • The battle 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Bibliography 5.1


British troops stationed in India were idle since the fall of Pondicherry. When war broke out with Spain, they were available to be employed against the Spanish possessions in Asia.

In June 1762, Rear-Admiral Samuel Cornish received secret royal orders for an expedition, which he communicated to the authorities at Calcutta. The inspiration for the attack was as much dreams of loot as plans for geopolitical advantage, and the expedition received limited support from the East India Company.

On 1 August 1762, a British fleet of eight ships of the line, three frigates, and four store ships, sailed away from Madras with a force of 6,839 regulars, sailors and marines. The commander of the expedition was Brigadier-General William Draper. He was assisted by Colonel Monson as Second in Command, Major Scott as Adjutant-General and Captain Fletcher as Brigade-Major of the East India Company. The expeditionary force consisted of:

  • 79th Draper's Regiment of Foot (450 men)
  • composite battalions of sepoys (drawn from all the Madras Sepoy regiments) under Captain DesPlans (2,000 men)
  • French deserters under Lieutenant Martin (200 men)
  • other assorted troops (freed African slaves, native Christian Indians who claimed to have Portuguese descent, Nawab European infantry, ...)

The battle

Map of British Conquest of Manila in 1762.[5]

After much delay owing to stormy weather and the defective condition of Admiral Cornish's ships, the expedition entered Manila Bay on 24 September, and anchored off Fort Cavite. The following day, Draper landed his troops unopposed through heavy surf, about 2.5 km south of the walls of the city. A substantial number of Royal Marines and sailors were then detached from the fleet. The garrison of Manila consisted of the Royal Regiment (20 companies of 100 men each). These companies were far from being at full strength. Mortality, desertion and various detachments had reduced this regiment to some 565 soldiers. There were only 80 artillerymen, including some Filipinos. A day later, Draper seized a detached fort which had been abandoned by the Spaniards within 200 metres of the glacis, and began to construct a battery, while the ships sailed up to draw the fire of the town upon themselves.

On 30 September, a British storeship arrived with entrenching tools, but was driven ashore by a gale. Fortunately, she had run aground so that she screened the rear of Draper's camp from the Spanish cannon. Her stores were landed with greater speed and safety than would have been possible had she remained afloat for the gale continued for several days and forbade the passage of boats through the surf.

Weather conditions improved by 4 October, and the battery and the ships opened fire and in four hours had silenced the guns of Manila. By the next day, the British cannonade had made a practicable breach in the city's fortifications and the following night, the Spaniards made a sally upon the British position with 1,000 Filipinos but were driven back with heavy loss. At dawn, Draper's regiment and a party of sailors attacked the breach and took the fortifications with little difficulty. To prevent further slaughter, acting Governor-General Archbishop Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra surrendered the citadel and the port of Cavite as soon as the city fell, promising four million Mexican silver dollars for ransom of the town, lives, and of the property therein.

Thus, Manila fell within ten days of the arrival of the British and on 10 October, Manila was placed under the authority of civilian Governor-General Dawsonne Drake.

This map shows the chronological advance of British troops toward parts of Northern Luzon during the British Occupation of Manila.[5]


The British held Manila until it was returned to Spain according to the peace settlement. News that it had been lost did not reach Spain until after the cessation of hostilities between the two powers. During their time in the Philippines, the British found themselves confined to Manila and Cavite in a deteriorating situation, unable to extend British control over the islands and unable to make good their promised support for an uprising led first by Diego Silang and later by his wife Gabriela, which was crushed by Spanish forces.

The four million silver dollars has never been fully paid, but the expedition was rewarding nevertheless after the capture of the treasure ship Santísima Trinidad, as it carried a value of two million dollars on board.

The city remained under British rule for 18 months and was returned to Spain in April 1764 after the Treaty of Paris.

See also


  1. ^ Morga, Antonio (2001). The Philippine Islands, Moluccas, Siam, Cambodia, Japan, and China, at the Close of the Sixteenth Century. Adamant Media Corporation. p. 362.  
  2. ^ Fernández Duro, Cesáreo (2007). Sitio y conquista de Manila por los ingleses en 1762. Monografía del Sr. Marqués de Ayerbe. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Leebrick, Karl Clayton (2007). The English expedition to Manila and the Philippine Islands in the year 1762. University of California, Berkeley. p. 52. 
  4. ^ a b Blair, Emma Helen (2008). The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803. BiblioBazaar. p. 18.  
  5. ^ a b Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office. "THE BRITISH CONQUEST OF MANILA". Presidential Museum and Library. Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 


  • Manila Ransomed: The British Assault on Manila in the Seven Years War, Nicholas Tracy, University of Exeter Press 1995 (ISBN 0-85989-426-6)
  • Fortescue, J. W., A History of the British Army Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 544–545.
  • Rojo, Journal
  • The Philippine Islands
  • NY Times
  • British expedition against Manila

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