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Published by Devine Ramos

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Devine Ramos on Jan 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Spanish Conquest of the PhilippinesThe Philippines was accidentally discovered by the European powers in their continuous search for a route to the Indies where theyimported the much coveted spices. On March 17, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese naval captain under the service of Spain, landedin the small island of Homonhon in Samar in the southern Philippines to look for food and water. Due to hardships in the heretoforeunknown and unnavigated sea, and mutiny by his sailors, Magellon had only three ships (out of 5) left when he landed in the Philippines.Magellan befriended the Sultan of Cebu and succeeded in Christianizing the natives. To prove the military might of his soldiers and tochampion the cause of his new vassals, he decided to "punish and teach a lesson" to Lapu Lapu, a chieftain of the island of Mactan whodid not acknowledge the sovereignty of Cebu over his island.Thus leading to the battle of Mactan. The battle was fought on April 25, 1521, during low tide in the shallow shores of Mactan. TheSpaniards, burdened with their heavy metal armors, were no match to Lapu Lapu and his men who were armed only with bamboo spears,bows and arrows, and kampilans (native machetes). Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and eventually died from the wound. Thevictorious natives drove back the rest of the invaders to their boats. Lapu Lapu thus became the first Filipino to rise against westernaggression and domination.Permanent Spanish settlement was finally established in 1565 when Miguel López de Legazpi, the first royal governor, arrived in Cebufrom New Spain (Mexico). He gave the islands their present name in honor of king Philip II of Spain. Six years later while moving north, hedefeating a local Muslim ruler, Rajah Sulayman. Legazpi's conquest of Maynilad (on the site of modern Manila) in 1571 extended the areaunder Spanish control. He established his capital at Manila, a location that offered the excellent harbor of Manila Bay, a large population,and proximity to the ample food supplies of the central Luzon rice lands. Manila remained the center of Spanish civil, military, religious,and commercial activity in the islands.Spain had three objectives in its policy toward the Philippines, its only colony in Asia: to acquire a share in the spice trade, to developcontacts with China and Japan in order to further Christian missionary efforts there, and to convert the Filipinos to Christianity.Occupation of the islands was accomplished with relatively little bloodshed, partly because most of the population (except the Muslims)offered little armed resistance initially.Church and state were inseparably linked in carrying out Spanish policy. Responsibility for conversion of the indigenous population toChristianity was assigned to several religious orders: the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians (known collectively as the friars)and to the Jesuits.Religion played a significant role in Spain's relations with and attitudes toward the indigenous population. The Spaniards consideredconversion through baptism to be a symbol of allegiance to their authority. Although they were interested in gaining a profit from thecolony, the Spanish also recognized a responsibility to protect the property and personal rights of these new Christians.The church's work of converting Filipinos was facilitated by the absence of other organized religions, except for Islam, whichpredominated in the south. The missionaries had their greatest success among women and children, although the church had a wideappeal, it was reinforced by the incorporation of Filipino social customs into religious observances. The eventual outcome was a newcultural community of the main Malay lowland population, from which the Muslims (known by the Spanish as Moros, or Moors) and theupland tribal peoples of Luzon remained detached and alienated.Indirect rule helped create in rural areas a Filipino upper class, principalía or the principales (principal ones). This group had local wealth;high status and prestige; and certain privileges. The principalía was larger and more influential than the preconquest nobility, and itcreated and perpetuated for Spanish control.As time went on, many uprisings occurred to protest the Spanish maltreatment of the natives such as forced taxes and labor, andindiscriminate incarceration for no major reasons at all. Both the clergy and the government officials were guilty.These early "disturbances" were dealt with effectively by the Spanish authorities by employing the divide and conquer strategy. Ilocanosor Kapampangans from the north, for instance, were sent to quell the rebellion in the Bicolanos or the Visayans in the south, or Bicolanoswere dispatched to troubled areas in the north or in the Tagalog region.Taking advantage of the clannishness of the Filipinos, this shrewd tactic served the Spaniards well and for a long time. It was only muchlater that a gradual awakening of latent nationalism took place among the Filipino people.Spain ruled the country for 327 years. In the 1800's a movement was born to revolt against the Spainards. Jose Rizal was one of the menthat was in the movement for reform and anti-clerical learning. Rizal was executed, which started the Philippine Revolution in 1896 thatwas lead by Andres Bonifacio. Bonifacio was the founder of a secret anti-Spanish organization called Katipunan which stood for Brotherhood. On June 12, 1898 Philippine republic was proclaimed independent. The republic was short-lived and the Spanish-Americanwar broke out.The Spanish found neither spices nor exploitable precious metals in the Philippines. The ecology of the islands was little changed bySpanish importations and technical innovations, with the exception of corn cultivation and some extension of irrigation in order toincrease rice supplies for the growing urban population. The colony was not profitable, and a long war with the Dutch in the seventeenthcentury and intermittent conflict with the Moros nearly bankrupted the colonial treasury. Annual deficits were made up by a subsidy fromMexico.Among the most significant and enduring changes that occurred under Spanish rule was that the Filipino idea of communal use andownership of land was replaced with the concept of private, individual ownership and the conferring of titles on members of theprincipalía. Spain also laid the foundation for a feudal health care system.Why the Philippines were easily conquered?Through largely outnumbered, the Spaniards who came to colonize the Philippines easily took control of our country. How did thishappen?The best possible explanation is that the natives lacked unity and a centralized form of government. Although the barangays

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