History Questions

Being an avid reader of written history, I have throughout the years accumulated many questions that remain unanswered and, in that persisting irresolution, burdened me with nagging curiosity. These questions have various natures: gaping wholes in the historical narrative, lack of reliable sources, or just plain mysteries all historians still ponder upon.

With the intention of keeping them from being forgotten (for man’s memory is unfortunately unreliable), and ultimately calling for answers, let me then list my many historical questions. I shall proceed by first asking local questions (questions having to do with Mindanao and Philippine History), then proceed by asking questions by the country whose history they are about.

This will be a constantly updated post, as more questions may arise in the future. Answers, if found, will also be added. Please answer the questions in comments if you happen to know the answers to them, or if you have ideas about them.


Local History

* Who were the mayors of Kidapawan and what did they contribute to the city’s history? Kidapawan historiography is one gaping hole of facts, and barely anything is available anywhere. I hear from my friend Paul Gumanao that someone was able to come up with a book on this, but I have yet to read the book. Thus far, Datu Siawan Ingkal has been mentioned as an appointed mayor during the Commonwealth, followed by Felimon Blanco, Ceferino Villanueva, Jacinto Paclibar, and Alfonso Angeles Sr. The last one was described as the first elected mayor, and my knowledge between him and the late Luis Malaluan is a black hole. My knowledge of the contributions by these mayors only even extends to Malaluan, and beyond that I know nothing.

* What was Kidapawan like during the Spanish occupation? The Japanese occupation? The American occupation?

* Who was Eliseo Dayao Sr.? I read somewhere on the internet (the source is now gone) that a certain landowner named Eliseo Dayao Sr. was martyred by the Japanese when they occupied the city. The reasons behind the execution are unclear, and I am not ever certain if the story is true. I am acquainted with some members of the Dayao family, but my affinity with them does not extend towards access to interview, and I doubt if they know anything about a distant ancestor.

* What were the adventures of Datu Balindog? from the same source as above I read that the origin of the name of baranggay Balindog was a brave bagobo datu in the area. What deeds made him worthy of being eponymous?

* Where does Baranggay Amas’ name come from? I have thus far found 2 origin stories of the name of Kidapawan’s Baranggay Amas. The first one, from the same source as the above two, describes another brave named Datu Amas. A follow up question to that would be what deeds did Amas do that made him esteemed enough to lend his name to the area. The second version, from a master’s thesis in the Ateneo de Davao, tells how “AMAS” is an acronym of the 4 sons of Apo Mampolinog, who was bagobo chieftain of the area. Which of the two stories is true?

* If they are historical, are there living descendants of Mua-an, Apo Mampolinog’s dog, and Bulatukan? I wrote earlier of dogs discovering springs as a recurring motif in Kidapawan and Makilala historiography. Out of my own peculiar curiosity (and because I intend to keep a  descendant!), I’ve always wondered if they left puppies, and if those puppies also left puppies, and so on. I understand this will be incredibly difficult to answer, but it would be a great delight if I can find heirs to these historical hounds!

* What happened to Alvin Valdez? A question that hits home the most. Alvin Valdez was  an alleged drug pusher who went missing in 2007. The then governor of North Cotabato, Manny Piñol, accused the then Kidapawan chief of police, my godfather Alexander Tagum, of masterminding the young man’s abduction. My own father, who was in good terms with my ninong at the time, was even involved. In the end the issue died down, and the missing Alvin Valdez was never mentioned in public discussion again. What happened to him?

* What was Datu Bago’s tribe? This is one of the debates in Davao Historiography. One source I know swears the Davao hero was a muslim, and that he belonged to the islamized Kalagan tribe. Casual conversation with my upperclassman Karlo Casas, a lumad buff, revealed another claim: that this nemesis of Oyangguren was in fact the founder of the bagobo tribe, and that “bagobo” derives from “Bago” and “Obo” (Manobo), or that the Bagobo tribe was originally a faction of the Obo Manobo who followed Bago. Which of the two is true?

* Who are the pretenders to the Maguindanao Sultanate? The last sultan in sources I could gather was Sultan Taha Colo, and the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the sultanate are almost nil. Are there any living claimants to Shariff Kabungsuan’s throne?

* What became of the stone fort that gave Cotabato it’s name? I cannot get enough information if the ruins of the capital of Sultan Kudarat’s empire still exist, and if they serve as tourist attractions.

* What are the activities of the current Marques de Buglas and his family? The island of Negros used to be called Buglas, and during the Spanish occupation the noble title of Marques de Buglas was conferred to Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first European to circumnavigate the globe, by the King of Spain. The sources on the internet go so far as only mentioning that the current Marques, the 17th, resides in Silay city in Negros Occidental. Who is this 17th Marques? What are his/her activities? Does he/she go to Spain often to interact with the rest of the Spanish Nobility? What role does the family play in local politics and culture?



Japanese History

* Where did the Imperial dynasty come from? Perhaps the greatest question of Japanese History. The true origins of the Japanese imperial family are still shrouded in mystery, and to a large extent the legendary account of descent from Amaterasu still occupies a significant place in the Japanese historical consciousness. Could Jimmu Tenno actually be a historical character? On that note…

* What became of the access allowed to the Imperial Kofun back in 2008? The Japanese Imperial Household Agency granted permission to archeologists to enter some of the Imperial tombs (Kofun) in 2008 to resolve questions surrounding the origin of the Imperial Family. However, there is no information available online about the results of this access. Can we entertain conspiracy speculations that the archeologists were hushed, after uncovering Korean origins to the Imperial family?

* What became of the Soga clan? After the defeat of  Soga no Emishi by Nakatomi Kamatari, all traces of the Soga disappear from Japanese history. In all likelihood, there was both systematic execution of clan members, and political pressure to renounce the Soga name. The question then is to what clans did the Soga defectors organize themselves.

* What became of the Hata Clan and other migrant clans? This is a particularly interesting question, since the Hata clan is said to be descended from Qin Shi Huang Di. Other clans said to be of foreign descent are the Tamura (descended from the Han Dynasty) and the Kudara no Konikishi clan (from the Korean  Baekje Dynasty). The decline of these clans may be attributed to political demise, but surely even political collapse won’t end up killing off a clan, and the surname at least must have continued.  A more important question is if these clans intermarried with the Imperial family. There is historical attestation that the Kudara no Konikishi intermarried with the Imperial family, the current emperor even acknowledged it in a recent speech the imperial family’s ties to Korea. But does the same also hold true to with the Hata and the Tamura clans? Thus far, The Hata’s fate ends up with the Shimazu Clan (Shimazu Tadahisa, the clan’s founder, had a wife from the Hata). From there, we end up with Shimazu Hisanaga, husband of Princess Takako, the current emperor’s sister. But is there intermarriage in the main line? This is of interest because if it is so, then the current emperor of Japan is also a descendant of Emperors of China!

* What became of all the clans after the War? It is basic knowledge for any reader of Japanese history that after WWII, the Kazoku, the peerage formed by merging both kuge and daimyo classes, was abolished. The Kazoku included some historical families, including the branches of the Fujiwara, the Minamoto branches, the Taira branches, and the Tokugawa as well as the Sho clan of the Rykuyu Kingdom, who were made into Marquesses. The current head of the Tokugawa clan, Tsunenari, is actively preserving the clan’s legacy with the Tokugawa Memorial Foundation. But what of the other clans?

* Why was Ariwara no Yukihira exiled? Perhaps, this is merely a lack of accessible source for me, but I cannot find why this official and poet of one of my favorite waka in the Hyakunin Isshu spent part of his life in exile at Suma Island.

* What were the Fujiwara Sessho and Kampaku doing during the Kamakura, Muromachi, Sengoku, Azuchi-Momoyama and Tokugawa eras? The Fujiwara dominated the Heian court by monopolizing the regent posts of Sessho and Kampaku, but their political influence was later eclipsed by the Taira, Minamoto, Hojo, Ashikaga, and Tokugawa clans. Despite this, the two offices continued well until the Meiji Restoration, and the last known Sessho was the late Emperor Showa (then prince Hirohito). From the last dominant Sessho/Kampaku before the rise of Taira no Kiyomori to Hirohito, only Toyotomi Hideyoshi held significant political power. What were the holders of the offices doing during these times?

*Did the Kusanagi, and the other Imperial Regalia, really sink into the Straight of Shimonoseki during the battle of Dan no Ura? The Heike Monogatari talks about the demise of the Taira during the Battle of Dan no Ura, when the widow of Taira no Kiyomori and the emperor Antoku sank, allegedly bringing with them the regalia. But other sources discredit this, and say the regalia were left behind. This ultimately leads me to ask the second great question of Japanese history: where did the Imperial Regalia come from?


Chinese History

What became of the descendants of deposed Dynasties? The fate of some Chinese dynasties after they were deposed have clear historical recording. Gaozu of Tang for instance ordered the execution of all descendants of the Sui dynasty, while the descendants of the Han Dynasty were proclaimed Duke of Shanyang. But this only applies for a few, and for most dynasties the families disappear from history the moment they are deposed. What became of them? Most interestingly, what became of the sons of king Nan of Zhou, and consequently to the Ji family of the Zhou dynasty?

Do descendants of deposed dynasties live today? Perhaps as a continuation to the above question.  There are of course definite answers to this: we get sources saying the former PROC Premier Zhu Rongji was descended from the Hongwu Emperor of Ming through his 18th son Zhu Bian, and Puren, the last Qing Emperor’s brother, remains the titular head of the Qing Dynasty. But what became of those descended from the Ming main line, and where now are the living descendants of the other dynasties?





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