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Short History of the Philippines
The inhabitants are thought to have migrated to the Philippines from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaya 30,000 years ago. The Malayan culture has survived to this day among tribes such as the Igorots.
Arab traders from Malay and Borneo introduced Islam In the 14th century into Mindanao & some of the islands in the south. Their influenced extended north to Luzon over time.
The first Europeans to visit were Fernao de Magalhaes (Magellan) & his crew from Portugal who began the first sea voyage around the world in 1519, in 1521 he discovered the Philippines. He was slain by local chieftan, Lapu Lapu on Mactan Island Cebu after converting many locals to Christianity. Other Spanish expeditions followed, including one from Mexico (A Spanish Colony then) under Lez de Villalobos, who in 1542 named the islands for the Royal child Philip, later to become Philip II of Spain.
The conquest by Spain began in earnest in 1564, when an expedition from Mexico, commanded by Miguel L
opez de Legaspi, arrived. By 1571, he established the city of Manila, despite the opposition of the Portuguese, who were active traders in Asia..
Manila repulsed the attack of the Chinese pirate Limahon in 1574. The Chinese traded with the Filipinos for centuries, but none had settled permanently in the islands until after the conquest. Chinese trade and labour were of great importance in the development of the Philippines, but the Chinese came to be feared and hated because of their increasing numbers, in 1603 the Spanish murdered thousands of them (later, there were other massacres of the Chinese).
Now Spanish governed, there were frequent uprisings by the Filipinos, who resented the 'encomienda' system, whereby the rulers could exact tribute or tax from the natives in the form of corn, wheat or livestock etc. The system was formally abolished in 1720.
By the end of the 16th century Manila had become a leading commercial centre, trading with China, India & Indonesia. The Philippines supplied some wealth to Spain, and the galleons trading between the islands were often attacked by English pirates. There was also trouble in the period from 1600 to 1663 with continual wars with the Dutch, who were laying the foundations of their East Indies Empire.
As the power of the Spanish Empire waned, the Jesuit orders became more influential in the Philippines and acquired large amounts of property.
Opposition to the power of the clergy & Spanish injustices, bigotry and oppression brought about the desire for independence. This was greatly inspired by the writings of Jose Rizal and in 1896 revolution began in Cavite, it spread throughout the islands. After the execution of Rizal that December, the Filipino leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, achieved considerable success with a peace accord with Spain. The peace was short-lived, as neither side honored its agreements and the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.
After the U.S. naval victory in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey supplied Aguinaldo with arms and urged him to rally the Filipinos against the Spanish. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken the entire island of Luzon, except for the old walled city of Manila call
ed Intramuros, which they laid to siege. The Filipinos had also declared their independence and established a republic under the first democratic constitution ever known in Asia. Their dreams of independence were crushed when the Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which ended the Spanish-American War.
In 1899, Aguinaldo led a new revolt, this time against U.S. rule. Defeated on the battlefield, the Filipinos turned to guerrilla warfare and their subjugation resulted in a massive loss of life for Filipinos. The insurrection was ended with the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901. In 1913, measures were taken to effect transition to self-rule. After the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s and the first aggressive moves by Japan in Asia (1931) U.S. sentiment shifted sharply toward the granting of immediate independence to the Philippines & complete independence of the islands was achieved in 1935.
In 1941, Japan attacked without warning & troops invaded the islands in many places and launched a pincer drive on Manila. US. Gen. MacArthur's scattered defending forces of about 80,000 troops, (four fifths of them Filipinos) were forced to withdraw to Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, where they entrenched and tried to hold until the arrival of reinforcements, meanwhile guarding the entrance to Manila Bay. The Japanese occupied Manila on Jan. 2, 1942. MacArthur was ordered out by President Roosevelt and left for Australia on Mar. 11 declaring "I shall return" Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright assumed command.
The besieged U.S./Filipino army on Bataan finally crumbled on Apr. 9, 1942. Wainwright fought on from Corregidor with a garrison of about 11,000 men, he was overwhelmed on May 6, 1942. After his capitulation, the Japanese forced the surrender of all remaining defending units in the islands by threatening to use the captured Bataan and Corregidor troops as hostages. Many individual soldiers refused to surrender, however, and guerrilla resistance, organized and coordinated by U.S. and Philippine army officers, continued throughout the Japanese occupation.
Japan's efforts to win Filipino loyalty found expression in the establishment (Oct. 14, 1943) of a "Philippine Republic," with Jose P. Laurel, former Supreme Court justice, as president. But the people suffered greatly from Japanese brutality, including the Bataan death march and the puppet government gained little support. Meanwhile, President Quezon, who had escaped with other high officials before the country fell, set up a government-in-exile in Washington. When he died (Aug., 1944), Vice President Sergio Osme
na became president. Osmena returned to the Philippines with the first liberation forces, which surprised the Japanese by landing (Oct. 20, 1944) at Leyte, in the heart of the islands, after months of U.S. air strikes against Mindanao. The Philippine government was established at Tacloban, Leyte, on Oct. 23.
The landing was followed (Oct. 23-26) by the greatest naval engagement in history, called variously the battle of Leyte Gulf and the second battle of the Philippine Sea. A great U.S. victory, it effectively destroyed the Japanese fleet and opened the way for the recovery of all the islands. Luzon was invaded (Jan., 1945) and Manila was taken in February. On July 5, 1945, MacArthur announced "All the Philippines are now liberated." The Japanese had suffered over 425,000 dead in the Philippines.
Manuel Roxas became the first president of the Republic of the Philippines when independence was granted on July 4, 1946.
in June 1959, the union of the Liberal and Progressive parties, led by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal was engaged in a territorial dispute with Britain over North Borneo (later Sabah), which Macapagal claimed had been leased and not sold to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.
Ferdinand E. Marcos, who succeeded to the presidency after defeating Macapagal in the 1965 elections, inherited the territorial dispute over Sabah; in 1968 he approved a congressional bill annexing Sabah to the Philippines. Malaysia suspended diplomatic relations (Sabah had joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963), and the matter was referred to the United Nations. (The Philippines dropped its claim to Sabah in 1978.)
The Philippines became one of the founding countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. The continuing need for land reform fostered a new communist uprising in central Luzon, accompanied by mounting assassinations and acts of terror, in 1969, Marcos began a major military campaign to subdue them. Civil war also threatened on Mindanao, where groups of Moros opposed Christian settlement. In 1969, Marcos won re-election, defeating Sergio Osme
na, Jr., but the election was accompanied by violence and charges of fraud, Marcos's second term began with increasing civil disorder.
In Jan. 1970, some 2,000 demonstrators tried to storm Malacanang
Palace, the presidential residence; riots erupted against the U.S. embassy. When Pope Paul VI visited Manila in Nov., 1970, an attempt was made on his life. In 1971, at a Liberal party rally, hand grenades were thrown at the speakers' platform and several people were killed. President Marcos declared martial law in Sept. 1972, charging that a Communist rebellion threatened. The 1935 constitution was replaced (1973) by a new one that provided the president with direct powers. A plebiscite (July, 1973) gave Marcos the right to remain in office beyond the expiration (Dec., 1973) of his term. Meanwhile the fighting on Mindanao had spread south to the Sulu Archipelago. By 1973 some 3,000 people had been killed and hundreds of villages burned. Throughout the 1970s poverty and governmental corruption increased, and Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand's wife, became more influential.
Martial law remained in force until 1981, when Marcos was re-elected, amid accusations of electoral fraud. On Aug. 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated at Manila airport, which incited a new, more powerful wave of anti-Marcos dissent. After the Feb. 1986, Presidential election, both Marcos and his opponent, Corazon Aquino (the widow of Benigno), declared themselves the winner and charges of fraud and violence were leveled against the Marcos faction. Marcos' domestic and international support eroded and he fled the country on Feb. 25, 1986, eventually obtaining asylum in the United States.
Several natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on Luzon and a succession of severe typhoons, slowed the country's economic progress.
Joseph Marcelo Estrada, a former movie actor, was elected president in 1998, pledging to help the poor and develop the country's agricultural sector. In 1999 he announced plans to amend the constitution in order to remove protectionist provisions and attract more foreign investment. In 2000, Estrada's presidency was buffeted by charges that he accepted millions of dollars in payoffs from illegal gambling operations. Although his support among the poor Filipino majority remained strong, many political, business and church leaders called for him to resign. In Nov. 2000, Estrada was impeached by the house of representatives on charges of graft, but the senate, controlled by Estrada's allies, provoked a crisis (Jan. 2001) when it rejected examining the president's bank records. As demonstrations against Estrada mounted and members of his cabinet resigned, the Supreme Court stripped him of the presidency and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as Estrada's successor.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected president in her own right in May, 2004, but the balloting was marred by violence and irregularities as well as a lengthy vote-counting process that wasn't completed until six weeks after the election.
Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III (Noynoy) was elected June 30th 2010.
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