HISTORY OF LEGAZPI CITY1. Origin of Name
Historically, the place was named Legazpi, to perpetuate to the memory of Adelantado DonMiguel Lopez de Legazpi. This was the agreement made between the original inhabitants of the place and the Spaniards during the former¶s quest for autonomy. It took them 21 years, in whichthey sought the help and support of the Spaniards, then living in the town. As a sign of gratitude,the people readily accepted the name, which was also then proposed by the Spaniards uponfulfillment of their efforts.On September 22, 1856, through a Royal Decree, the name Legazpi was officially adopted toinclude the visitas of Lamba, Rawis and Bigaa, and declaring it an independent town. It wasformally inaugurated on October 23, 1856.
It began as a barangay called Sawangan (now Legazpi Port) whose inhabitants were mostlyfishermen and farmers. In 1587, Franciscan friars of the Doctrina of Cagsawa began to convertthe settlement to Christianity and in 1616 they transformed it into a separate town and parishcalled Albay. Its first parish priest built a small chapel and established the ³Mission de SanGregorio Magno de Sawangan.´The progress of two centuries was razed to the ground in the eruption of Mayon Volcano onFebruary 1, 1814. The people was evacuated to Makalaya (now Taysan) and on the decree of theGobierno Superior on October 1, 1829, prohibiting the founding of another town they finallysettled in Taytay (Bagumbayan). In 1818, Sawangan, then already known as the town of Albay,was separated from Cagsawa and was made the capital of Partido de Ibalon (the old name of Albay Province).Some of the people, however, remained in the old town and began anew as a barrio. In lieu of their former patron saint, St. Gregory the Great, which had also been transferred to Albay, theyadopted St. Raphael, the Archangel and transformed the ermita into a church. They finallyregained their old status but never changed the name of the place as Albay Viejo or BanwangDaan. Even after their autonomy in 1856, they called it ³Binanuahan´, meaning the former sit of a town. Now autonomous, and with a fast paced progress and prosperity, Legazpi was declared a RoyalCedula in May 18, 1872, open to world trade. Legazpi first became a city under the Becerra Lawof 1892, which constituted the municipalities of Legazpi, Albay Nuevo and Daraga, into theAyutamiento de Albay. With the American occupation in 1900, the city was dissolved. Uponrestoration of peace, the three towns were re-established and in 1908 became the Municipality of Albay, the provincial capital. In 1922, the town of Daraga was separated from the capital,realizing the merger was doing more harm than good to their interests. Legazpi became a cityfor the second time on July 18, 1948 when Daraga and Legazpi were combined again to