When the explorer Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1521 he encountered along the coastal littoral a militant, predominately Islamic people with extensive trading and diplomatic ties to Indonesia, China, Indochina and Thailand. In 1565 the Spanish returned to the archipelago and established their first permanent settlement on the island of Cebu. From this base they rapidly gained control of the Philippine coastline and by the end of the 16th century had turned their attention to subduing the wild tribes of the interior. In this endeavor the Spanish were only marginally successful; conservative tribal groups continued to flourish in the craggy interiors of Luzon and Mindanao and to a lesser degree in the islands of Mindoro, Palawan and Negros.  Just as the Spanish never relented in their efforts to subdue and convert the Ifugao, either did the Ifugao yield in their struggle to retain their social and spiritual independence. Although the Ifugao are only one of many different conservative tribal groups living in Luzon's Central Cordillera, they are notably intransigent, having caused Fr. Juan Villaverde, a 19th-century Spanish priest, to write, "The Ifugao is, and believes himself, an absolute king, avenging with his ever-ready lance the smallest offense not only against his person, but also against his house and his estate. They hate like death the least domination on the part of strangers."