Origin Of The Philippines
The history of Philippines dates back to some 50,000 years ago. It may be surprising but there is sufficient archaeological evidence to back the claim, though we may not conclude that it is the ‘history’ of ‘the Philippines’ that dates back that far behind. However, there is little dispute about the statement that Homosapiens did exist in Palawan some 50,000 years back. Later, Austronesian-speaking people settled in the Philippines and established maritime trading with other parts of the South East Asia. It was done as early as 5,000 B.C.
For a very long time, the archipelago remained untouched by the outsiders, lying peacefully in its own little part of the world. The west, however, did flow in with Ferdinand Magellan being the first in 1521, followed by Miguel López de Legazpi in 1565. They formed the first Spanish settlements, which eventually turned the Philippines into their colony. Then came Roman Catholic missionaries, who converted most of the inhabitants to Christianity. The following 300 years of Philippines’ history saw several turmoils with the Spanish military fighting off various local revolts and several external colonial challenges from as diverse quarters as the British, the Chinese, the Dutch, the French, the Japanese, and the Portuguese. The Spanish military was largely successful in defending their occupation. However, they could not avoid the occupation of the capital by the British during the Seven Years’ War. Though that was a temporary occupation, it was still one of the most serious damages done to the Spanish rule in the archipelago.
The Philippines opened up for world trade on September 6, 1834. In the Spanish mainland a propaganda protest began. The propagandists led by Rizal demanded, amongst other things, a greater representation in Spain, but the movement did not yield expected gains. So, Rizal returned to the Philippines and pushed for the reforms locally, which resulted in his arrest, trial, and execution for sedition on December 30, 1896.
However, the spirit of revolution did not die down. Another revolution sprang up. It was led by Andrés Bonifacio and was continued by Emilio Aguinaldo, who managed to establish a revolutionary government though, the Spanish governor general Fernando Primo de Rivera announced the death of the revolution on May 17, 1897.
The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 and gradually proceeded up to the Philippines when Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at the Manila Bay. Spain ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba to the United States. It was the Americans who brought democracy to the Philippines. It was made a commonwealth country in 1935. The Philippines was to attain independence in the next decade, but it did not come as World War II broke out and Japan invaded. Independence, however, came Philippines’ way on July 4, 1946.
Ever since its independence, the Philippines has faced a number of challenges but has managed to sail through, unscathed so far.