What is a Maharlika coin


Early history of the Philippines

The Philippines were once part of the mainland. According to scientists, during the Ice Age, the water surrounding the Philippines fell to about 156 feet below its current level. This became the land bridges that connected the Philippines to the Asian mainland.
About 25,000 years ago, the pygmies came from the south over the remaining land bridges. They are considered the ancestors of the Negritoes, so these are the indigenous people of the Philippines. The Negrito came 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. They reached Luzon from Borneo over land bridges in Palawan and Mindoro. The first Indonesians came by boat from Southeast Asia 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Much later, around 1500 BC, there was a second wave of Indonesians. Thereafter Malayians in two consecutive waves, the first between 800 and 500 BC. the next between 300 and 200 BC. From Borneo they traveled by sailing boats to Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Before Spanish culture

The Filipinos lived in so-called barangays. Between 30 and 100 families lived in a barangay. They were led by a datu and were independent of the other groups. Normally, barangays with nearby settlements agreed on mutual help (in the event of war, etc.). The position of the datu was passed on to the eldest son. Later any member of the Barangay could become the chief if they had enough talent and skills. A Datu had a council of elders to enact new laws.

There were four categories in society. There was the ruling category (Datu), the honorary citizens and the notable people (Maharlika), the ordinary citizens (Timawa) and the dependents and slaves (Alipin). The natives were already wearing clothing and personal decorations. The men wore collarless jackets that reached below the waist. The color of the jacket indicated the wearer's position in society, e.g. red for the ladder and blue or black for those below him, depending on the social category.

They also wore necklaces, bangles, earrings, rings and the anklets, usually made of gold and precious stones. Tattoos were the same as ornaments in men and women. The more tattoos, the more impressive a man's war award. The Filipinos from the Visayas were the ones with the most tattoos. This is why early Spanish writers referred to them as pintados. The writers referred to the islands as Islas del Pintados "Islands of the Painted People".

Agriculture was the main livelihood of the Filipinos. They grew an abundance of rice, sugar cane, cotton, hemp, coconuts, bananas, and other fruits and vegetables.

Means of payment
From around 600 AD. there were Hamdels contacts with China. From 800 AD there was a strong influence from Sri-Vijaya, an Indian-influenced Southeast Asian empire with a center in Sumatra. To facilitate trade, gold rings were created for compensation transactions in various sizes and weights. Gold came in "tablet form" in graduated sizes and weights, with the Malaysian letter for "MA". These tablets, known as piloncitos, have been found within the islands as well as some islands in the Indonesian group. The meaning of the description is not certain, but these tablets are almost without a doubt the earliest form or prototype of the Filipino issue.

I managed to acquire four piloncito-like pills from a German archaeologist who had researched Southeast Asia for a long time.

"Pelioncitos" enlarged

Thanks to a coin friend from the Numismatics Forum (rati), the origin of my pills has been clarified.
The Piloncitos shown are assigned to the Kingdom of Sailendra on Java (around 7th-10th centuries in East and Central Java).
The first (pill) from the left is an early edition (ca.800-950 a.D.) with the Devangari letter "Ta". Gold masa (20 rattis = about 2.3 gr.) = 2 atak.
The second is a gold masa of the later series (c. 950-1150 a.D.), Where the letter is simplified beyond recognition. The remaining two should be gold atak (10 rattis = about 1.15 gr.) Of the later series. There were also smaller denominations.
The Devangari letter "Ma" was embossed on the silver masa by Sailendra.

Philippines Piloncito (I'm still looking)

The Philippines Piloncitos are assigned to the Kingdom of Ma-yi (9th-11th centuries on Luzon and neighboring islands). They differ somewhat in shape (rounder) and are embossed with the Brahmani letter "Ma". They are only known by the size of the gold masa and have been minted unchanged over the entire period.
Piloncitos from Java have also been found in the Philippines, they came there through trade.

Masa 2.27 g. 12 mm. Early execution

Coin from the Kingdom of Majopahit Sailendra (circa 950-1150 AD). Devanagari letter 'MA' drawn correctly.
Catalog references: Mitchiner (SE Asia) 724; Mitchiner (Non-Islamic) 3065
According to Mitchiner, these coins were distributed in Malaya, Sumatra, Java and the Philippines.

From 1300 AD. there was strong immigration from Borneo and with it a strong advance of Islam. A first Islamic order was founded in Sulu in 1381. In the 14/15. In the 19th century the influence of the Hindu Indonesian Majapahit Empire grew stronger. 1450 Foundation of the Muslim Sultanate of Sulu by Sultan Sharif-ul-Hasim. 1475 Foundation of the Muslim Sultanate of Mindanao. Spread of Islam to central Luzon.
From 1400 AD the Chinese increased their trade with the Philippines. They founded numerous branches. Sometimes there was a tribute obligation of Filipino tribal princes to the Chinese Ming Empire.