Kampilan: The sword that ‘killed’ Magellan gets featured on History Channel’s bladesmiths reality contest

Image by History, Manuel Pañares via Blogspot

What’s a kampilan? Perhaps only a few would know.

The Kampilan was recently featured in one of History Channel’s reality contest for bladesmiths: “Forged in Fire”.

It is a type of single-edged long sword, traditionally used by various ethnic groups in the Philippine archipelago.

Among Filipino swords, the most distinguishing characteristic of the Kampilan is its huge size. At about 36 to 40 inches (90 to 100 cm) long, it is much larger than other Filipino swords, and is thought to be the longest.

The hilt (handle, consisting of a guard, grip and pommel) is quite long in order to counterbalance the weight and length of the blade and is made of hardwood. As with the blade, the design of the hilt’s profile is relatively consistent from blade to blade, combining to make the kampílan an effective combat weapon.

A notable wielder of the kampílan was Datu Lapu-Lapu (the king of Mactan) and his warriors, who defeated the Spaniards and killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan at the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521. Go to this link for more details about Magellan’s death, as told by an eyewitness.

Going back — As per History Channel‘s description about the show, four bladesmiths head to a scrapyard to create their signature blade using only harvested metal and a coal forge. Challenges arise when some struggle to keep their fires burning, and ultimately two competitors are left standing. In the final round, the smiths must recreate a fearsome battle weapon, the Kampilan. Their weapons must survive brutal testing, and only one will pull through by a hair to claim the title of Forged in Fire Champion.

Visit History Channel’s Forged in Fire at their official website.

Forged in Fire – S04 shared this via YouTube: