Silver that was mined in Mexico and Peru was exchanged for Chinese silk, Indian gems and the spices of Southeast Asia.
Likewise, wines and olives grown in Europe and North Africa were shipped via Mexico to Manila.
In the 13th century, Manila consisted of a fortified settlement and trading quarter on the shore of the Pasig River.
It was then settled by the Indianized empire of Majapahit, as recorded in the epic eulogy poem "Nagarakretagama", which described the area's conquest by Maharaja Hayam Wuruk.
As nilà products were distributed in other places, people came to refer to the area as Sa may Nilà, Tagalog for "the place where there are nilàs".
The word nilà itself is probably from the Sanskrit nila (नील), meaning "indigo tree".
During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah from 1485 to 1521, the Sultanate of Brunei invaded, wanting to take advantage of Tondo's trade with China by attacking its environs and establishing the Muslim Rajahnate of Maynilà (كوتا سلودوڠ; Kota Seludong).
The rajahnate was ruled under and gave yearly tribute to the Sultanate of Brunei as a satellite state.
Negritos, an Australoid people who became the aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippines, lived across the island of Luzon, where Manila is located, before the Malayo-Polynesians migrated in and assimilated them.
Upon drafting a new charter for Manila in June 1901, the Americans made official what had long been tacit: that the city of Manila consisted not of Intramuros alone but also of the surrounding areas.
The new charter proclaimed that Manila was composed of eleven municipal districts: presumably Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Sampaloc, San Miguel, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz and Tondo.
Maynilà, the Filipino name for the city, originated from the word nilà, referring to a flowering mangrove tree that grew on the delta of the Pasig River and the shores of Manila Bay.
The flowers were made into garlands that, according to folklore, were offered to statues on religious altars or in churches.