Samurais vs Conquistadors? Who would win? | Battle of Cagayan,1582

In 1582 a series of clashes between the Spaniards in the Philippines led by Captain Juan Pablo de Carrión, and Wokou (possibly Japanese pirates) headed by Tay Fusa took place and became known as the Cagayan battles. These battles, which took place in the vicinity of the Cagayan River, finally resulted in a Spanish victory.

This event was the only recorded battle between European regular soldiers against samurai warriors. This unique event pitted musketeers, pikemen and Spanish rodeleros against Japanese and Chinese merchants (both legitimate and smugglers), fishermen, rōnin, and soldiers. Spanish sources record the name of their leader as Tay Fusa, Tayfusu or Tayfuzu. This does not correspond to a Japanese name, but could refer to a medieval chieftain (大夫), called Dàfū in Chinese or Taifu in Japanese. The pirates had 18 Sampans which are flat bottomed Chinese fishing wooden boat. The word "sampan" comes from the original Hokkien term for the boats, 三板 (sam pan), literally meaning "three planks" in their Chinese dialects.

*Video script:

1580, Cagayan Philippines
Navy Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion was patrolling the vicinity of the Cagayan river when they came across the notorious pirate Tay Fusa abusing the natives. The Spanish galleon attacked in defense and the pirates retreated north.
In retaliation, Tay Fusa gathered troops composed of Chinese pirates and Japanese Ronins. In 10 ships Tay Fusa sailed and attacked Filipino local towns in revenge. In response to the surprise attack, Captain Juan Pablo de Carrion desperately assembled 40 soldiers and local Filipinos in defense. Largely outnumbered, Juan tactically engaged in naval battle and eventually won.
Unwilling to take his defeat, Tay Fusa gathered additional resources and returned to attack by land with his six hundred strong soldiers. During the battle, the Spanish trenches endured assaults after assaults. Then when supplies were running low and when hoped seemed to fade, Juan and his 30 troops left their trenches and charged the enemy. Juan and his small army defeated Tay Fusa and all the remaining pirates. With the region now peaceful, and the arrival of reinforcements, Juan founded the city of Nueva Segovia (now Lal-lo).

Source & Script References: (2018). About: 1582 Cagayan battles. Retrieved from

UNBELIEVABLE FACTS. (2017, May 9). Cagayan Battles - The Only Combat in History Between European Infantry and Samurai. Retrieved from


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