the philippines stands as the only southeast asian country that was colonized before ever being able to establish its own centralized government or even culture throughout the archipelago’s early history migrants had come from the regions of indonesia china and the surrounding area at the end of the 14th century islam began to be introduced into the island.
as arabian traders such as kareem al-makhdum arrived and spread their faith fairly rapidly two sultanates were established by the end of the 16th century but the religion’s momentum faced a new challenge when spanish colonists brought christianity along with them.
thought of the philippines as simply a stopping point along their path to the east indies known then as the spice islands the dutch and portuguese however quickly put an end to spain’s east indie dreams which caused the europeans to reconsider their purpose in the philippines ferdinand magellan is known to be the first spanish explorer to lead an expedition into the island anchoring at cebu in march of 1521.
miguel and promptly claimed these islands for spain creating fast friendly ties with the locals and already beginning attempts to spread the catholic faith in the new colony most notably magellan had befriended the raja of cebu raja humabon who would later be baptized into the catholic faith along with his wife raja humaban then sent out an order to all the surrounding chiefs to provide supplies for the spaniards and collectively convert to christianity shockingly all.
but one of the chiefs agreed to obey the order but the two chiefs of the macton island were at odds over the situation datu lapu lapu was in complete opposition to the spaniards but datu zula was very openly wishing to cooperate to settle the ordeal raja humaban suggested to miguelon that he go directly to maktan and force lapu lapu into submission himself.
magellan happily complied seeing the opportunity as beneficial for himself and his bond with the raja unfortunately magellan’s initial peaceful attempt to convince the chief to comply with the order was met with confident threats of battle when the conflict broke out the following morning the spaniards and their local support were fairly easily overpowered and magellan himself was beaten down and killed during the intense scuffle seeing that their captain had been defeated and under heavy assault the invading forces.
eventually retreated and returned to cebu when multiple soldiers from the battle of maktan were poisoned at a feast hosted by raja humaban himself the new spanish commander juan sebastian elcano ordered the immediate return to spain where they arrived home in 1522. multiple spanish expeditions followed before king philip ii sent miguel lopez de la gatsby back to cebu in 1565 to re-establish a permanent spanish colony by this point legatsby had to push the portuguese out of the archipelago.
which he was able to do successfully with his five ships and roughly 700 men the new colonizers then established the city of manila in 1571 which would serve as the capital for the spanish east indies by the end of the 16th century the spaniards had seized most of the lowland in coastal regions and continued to convert vast numbers of the locals to christianity some however such as the muslims of sulu were unwilling to give up their faith and became known as the moros by the spanish in 1578.
the castilian war broke out between the spaniards and morrows from brunei over authority in the archipelago the spanish colonizers and their local christian convert allies first left for brunei after making a deal with pangaeron seri lila whose brother had seized his throne leading to an offer that would give spain brunei if pengiran sari lila would become sultan again.
the spanish then invaded the capital kota batu alongside 1 500 filipinos and 300 borneans on april 16 1578. after only 72 days though the spanish were forced to withdraw after losing a large number of their men to dysentery and cholera they eventually retreated to manila on june 26th and pangaran seri lila died likely by an illness contracted from the spaniards only a few months later and never regained his throne.
although the muslims had more or less won this time the two sides would wage continuous war on each other over the next centuries as the spaniards worked to expand their colonization elsewhere in addition to spreading their faith along with them while spain was able to extend its colonial reach the actual state of the philippine colony.
under their rule was demoralizing particularly the economy of the archipelago was so bad that at one point the colony became nearly bankrupt due to the constant war with the morrows the dutch from the west and the japanese waco pirates who came from the north furthermore the seven years war with the british kicked off a new set of challenges the war was originally just a struggle between britain and france but on january 4th 1762.
the brits declared war on the spanish which led to the british east india company accompanied by british army troops invading manila and laying siege to the spanish east indies capital city on october 4th the brits officially captured manila and the occupation would last until the spring of 1764 when peace negotiations finally brought the war to an end and the spaniards authority was once again acknowledged although spain now had control of the philippines in full as before the time.
under british occupation had revealed the true loyalty of many bonodo chinese who lived in the region and had chosen to side with the brits in response to the discrimination they had faced from their colonial authority the spaniards additionally began to notice the flaws in their economic system in the archipelago and started to roll out reforms that drastically changed the trading system.
they had previously controlled initially the galleon trade which was essentially a spanish government monopoly was ended in 1815 and replaced by a tariff-free trade between spain and the philippines under the royal company of the philippines until 1834 at that point after spain’s other colonies over in latin america had gained independence and greatly impacted the economic and trade situation for the spanish the royal company of the philippines was done away with and free trade was finally established for the archipelago.
manila alone was a great asset for philippine trade thanks to its fantastic harbor and more ports across the islands began to open for trade with europe asia and north america as well sugar tobacco and hemp became prominent exports from the archipelago as trade began to boom by the end of the 19th century finally in 1863 public education became a priority.
although the education was still poor and completely under the control of the church not even 30 percent of the students could read or write spanish at all and even less spoke the language correctly despite the system being created by the spanish colonizers many of the wealthy children were sent to europe for schooling instead.
while gaining their education overseas some filipino students began to develop a yearning for reform and growing nationalism which eventually led to something known as the propaganda movement one of the more relevant members of this movement jose rizal wrote two political novels that became wildly popular.
in the philippine islands those novels were named touch me not and the reign of greed rizal finished his education and returned to the archipelago in 1892 and ever so subtly gathered a group of like-minded reformists known as the philippine league though no plans were made to take action meanwhile the thoughts of independence had already started to build throughout the islands possibly encouraged by the spanish recognition of a semi-independent home rule program nearing the end of the 19th century.
still spain remains the undeniable colonial power over the region and the archipelago’s capital became a role model for other colonial governments due to the drastic improvements the spaniards had attempted to make after regaining control from the british the philippine revolution would soon begin in 1896 causing jose rizal.
who had previously been arrested and sent into exile for his books and nationalist sentiments to be wrongly convicted for treason and subsequently executed despite playing no part in the outbreak of the rebellion instead a man by the name of emilio aguinaldo became the leading figure of the revolution but he was unsuccessful nonetheless and was eventually forced to sign the pact of bayak nabato.
in 1897 sending him and his supporters into exile in hong kong one of the rebels general francisco macabulos refused to leave though and instead went as far as establishing a new interim revolutionary government called the central executive committee this development meant that the conflict between spain and the nationalists was not yet over and contrarily.
began to spread throughout the entirety of the colony spain did manage to maintain control over their possessions but matters even so would go on to become even more complicated war between the united states and spain erupted in 1898 and after the american government became concerned about the citizens of cuba during their ongoing fight for independence.
they consequently sent the uss maine to the havana harbor where it was blown up and completely destroyed the us blamed spain prompting the two major powers to clash directly bringing america into the philippines and launching a new era of occupation for the local filipinos whilst putting an end to spain’s long overstayed welcome in the archipelago.
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