Spain was actively expanding overseas under King Felipe II in the 16th century, following Columbus' discovery of the New World.
At this time, Spain was the most powerful country in the world, with a vast territory that included Italy, the Netherlands, and the New World.
Spain then crossed the Pacific Ocean and occupied Manila (the Philippines) as a base for its expansion into Asia.
On July 25, 1609, three ships of Rodrigo de Vivero, who had completed his term as governor of the Philippines, left the port of Cavite in Manila and set sail for Mexico. These three ships were to return directly to Mexico.
However, a storm hit the ship on the way, and on September 30, 1609, the San Francisco with Don Rodrigo on board was shipwrecked off the coast of present-day Onjyuku-machi, Chiba, and the Santa Ana washed up on the coast of Bungo.
The San Francisco was a huge ship at the time, weighing 1,000 tons. 56 of the 373 people on board drowned in the wreck, and 317 were rescued by the villagers.
There is a touching story of how local divers revived the drowned sailors by warming them with their body heat.
At the discretion of Honda Tadatomo, the lord of Otaki Castle, those in distress were gathered together in Otaki Castle and at Iwaida Omiya Shrine, where they were given generous protection along with the villagers. Honda Tadatomo sent an envoy to Ieyasu in Sunpu to wait for his decision on how to deal with them.
Upon receiving this news, the great lord Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the group to be politely brought to Sunpu Castle.