A Brief History of The Philippines

This course will give the learner a brief overview of the Philippine history from the Early Philippines up to the 21st Century

prepared by: Roma Garcia

The Early Philippines

What's in a Name?

The Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598) and it was a Spanish colony for over 300 years

The Philippine Islands

Today the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,000 islands. However it is believed that during the last ice age they were joined to mainland Asia by a land bridge, enabling human beings to walk from there.

The People of the Philippines

The first people in the Philippines were hunter-gatherers. However between 3,000 BC and 2,000 BC people learned to farm. They grew rice and domesticated animals. From the 10th AD century Filipinos traded with China and by the 12th Century AD Arab merchants reached the Philippines and they introduced Islam.

Discovery of the Philippines

Then in 1521 Ferdinand Magellan sailed across the Pacific. He landed in the Philippines and claimed them for Spain. Magellan baptized a chief called Humabon and hoped to make him a puppet ruler on behalf of the Spanish crown. 

Magellan demanded that other chiefs submit to Humabon but one chief named Lapu Lapu refused. Magellan led a force to crush him. However the Spanish soldiers were scattered and Magellan was killed.

The Philippines as A Spanish Colony Pt1

The Spaniards did not gain a foothold in the Philippines until 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi led an expedition, which built a fort in Cebu. 

Spanish conquistadors marched inland and conquered Luzon. They created a feudal system. Spaniards owned vast estates worked by Filipinos.

 Later, in 1571 the Spaniards landed in Luzon. Here they built the city of Intramuros (later called Manila), which became the capital of the Philippines. 

The Philippines as A Spanish Colony Pt2

Along with conquistadors went friars who converted the Filipinos to Catholicism. The friars also built schools and universities.

The Spanish colony in the Philippines brought prosperity - for the upper class anyway! Each year the Chinese exported goods such as silk, porcelain and lacquer to the Philippines. From there they were re-exported to Mexico.

The years passed uneventfully in the Philippines until in 1762 the British captured Manila. They held it for two years but they handed it back in 1764 under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763.

Test Your Knowledge

The Philippines was named after which Spanish Monarch?

  • Philip III
  • Charles I
  • Philip II
  • Ferdinand VI
Choose the correct answer.

Test Your Knowledge

How many islands (approx.) does the Philippines have?

  • 2500
  • 7000
  • 4700
  • 12000
Choose the correct answer.

Test Your Knowledge

What was the means of living of the first Filipinos?

  • Hunting
  • Trading
  • Farming
  • Engineering
Choose the correct answer

Test Your Knowledge

What was the form of government formed by the Spanish in the Philippines?

  • Colonialism
  • Communism
  • Capitalism
  • Feudalism
Choose the correct answer

Test Your Knowledge

The Phillipines traded with several nations during its early times.  Which merchants introduced Islam to the Philippines?

  • Chinese
  • Arab
  • Pakistani
  • Indian
Choose the correct answer.

Test Your Knowledge

Magellan lost his life in the hands of which chief?

  • Humabon
  • Suleyman
  • Lapu-Lapu
  • Sinbad
Choose the correct answer.

Test Your Knowledge

Complete the statement below.

The Philippines was a Spanish  for over  years.

Test Your Knowledge

The name of the walled city that Spain built in Luzon

  • Cebu
  • Indang
  • Intramuros
  • Isabela
Choose the correct answer

Test Your Knowledge

  • The Spanish colony in the Philippines brought prosperity for the upper class.
  • The Spanish colony in the Philippines brought prosperity for everybody.
Mark the statements if they are true or false

Test Your Knowledge

Match the year to event specified.
  • Magellan landed in the Philippines
  • Miguel Lopez de Legazpi built a fort in Cebu
  • Spaniards landed in Luzon
  • The British captured Manila
  • The Treaty of Paris was signed
  • The Philippines was handed back to Spain

The Philippines in the 19th Century

Early Rebellions

In 1872 there was a rebellion in Cavite but it was quickly crushed.

However nationalist feeling continued to grow helped by a writer named Jose Rizal (1861-1896).

He wrote two novels Noli Me Tangere (Touch me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibusterer) which stoked the fires of nationalism.

La Liga FIlipina

In 1892 Jose Rizal founded a movement called Liga Filipina, which called for reform rather than revolution. As a result Rizal was arrested and exiled to Dapitan on Mindanao.

The Katipunan and Rizal's Execution

Meanwhile Andres Bonifacio formed a more extreme organisation called the Katipunan.

In August 1896 they began a revolution. Jose Rizal was accused of supporting the revolution, although he did not and he was executed on 30 December 1896. Yet his execution merely inflamed Filipino opinion and the revolution grew.

American Occupation in the Philippines

Then in 1898 came war between the USA and Spain. On 30 April 1898 the Americans defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. Meanwhile Filipino revolutionaries had surrounded Manila.

Their leader, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent on 12 June. However as part of the peace treaty Spain ceded the Philippines to the USA. The Americans planned to take over.

War between American forces in Manila and the Filipinos began on 4 February 1899. The Filipino-American War lasted until 1902 when Aguinaldo was captured.

Test Your Knowledge

  • El Cuerpo del Deseo
  • La Liga Filipina
  • El Chupacabra
  • El Canto de Marhaba
What was the name of the group founded by Jose Rizal

Test Your Knowledge

  • Ermita
  • Binondo
  • Katipunan
  • Pasig
What was the group formed by Andres Bonifacio?

Test Your Knowledge

  • Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood
  • Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo
  • The Art of War
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
What were the books written by Jose Rizal?

Test Your Knowledge

  • Andres Bonifacio
  • Antonio Luna
  • Emilio Aguinaldo
  • Jose Rizal
Who declared the Philippine Independence?

Test Your Knowledge

  • Manila Bay
  • Pagudpud
  • Perto Princesa
  • Calumpang Beach
Where did the Americans defeat the Spanish?

Test Your Knowledge

Match the event to the year it happened.
  • Rebellion in Cavite
  • La Liga Filipina was founded
  • Rizal was executed
  • War between USA and Spain
  • War between Americans and FIlipinos
  • End of Filipino-American war