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THE HISTORY OF MERCEDES


     The first settlement in Mercedes was a small land now called Catandunganon. The early settlers were mostly sea going people who were forced to seek cover in the island when caught by unexpected strong winds while at sea. At first their stay was only temporary, the purpose being to wait better weather for navigation, until there came a time that they made the place their home. The name CATANDUNGANON was taken from CATANDUANES, said to be the original home of settlers. The people of Catandunganon, having became numerous, spread on to Barra proper being a coastal land, ports were established in Barra, foreign traders such as the Chinese and Arabs came to the ports, and intermarried with the inhabitants, thus making Barra a sort of meeting place not only for commerce but also for culture.

     When the Spaniards came, Barra like all the rest of Philippines territory come under the authority of the conquerors. Spanish sovereignty was extended to the Bicol Region by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, in accordance with the orders of the Spanish King. Barra which had become Mercedes during the Spanish Era continued serving as ports, this time for Spanish ships from Manila, Legazpi and other places. During those years the province of Ambos Camarines was often attacked by Chinese and Muslims pirates, and to protect the province; the Spaniards built fortifications in the barrio of Mercedes. These were massive and concrete walls, like those in "Intramuros" and ...

             
   
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