Philippines History: from 15th Century to World War II

Philippines History: from 15th Century to World War II

Settlement and development by the 15th century

According to Pharmacylib, the area of ​​what is now the Philippines has been around since about 10,000 BC. Permanently settled (around this time the sea level rose by around 100 m to around today’s altitude and the individual islands were isolated). Various peoples immigrated from the Asian mainland in several waves of migration. The old Indonesians (formerly called old Malay). These have been around since around 200 BC. Expelled from the fertile plains by the Young Indonesians (Young Malay; they also came from the southwest) (Southeast Asian peoples and cultures). Loan words in the Filipino languages ​​as well as some traditional cultural elements point to close contacts with the Indian culture, which to a certain extent were mediated directly (South India), but predominantly through the expansive Indianized empires of Indonesia (since around 800 through the empire Srivijaya, im 13th and 14th centuries by Majapahit). The contacts with the Chinese culture had much stronger after-effects; The first trade relations are dated to around 800 through porcelain finds from the Tang period. Since 1200 the Chinese have established permanent trading centers in the Philippines. With the advent of the Islamic Empire of Malacca (Melaka, founded around 1400), its political and cultural sphere of influence extended to the Philippines. Converted by Muslim missionaries, local princes founded sultanates on the Sulu Islands and Mindanao, whose cultural heritage can still be felt today. Thanks to their tight political organization, they were able to offer violent resistance to the invading Spanish conquistadors.

Discovery and colonization by Spain

de Magalhães landed on March 16, 1521 in the Gulf of Leyte and took possession of the islands for Spain. In 1543 the archipelago around Samar and Leyte – after the later Spanish King Philip II.  - the name “Islas las Felipinas”, which was transferred to the entire island kingdom in 1571. In 1565 the first permanent Spanish settlement was founded on Cebu, from which the further colonization of the archipelago began. However, because of the hostile attitude of the local population and the constant danger of Portuguese raids, the Spanish moved their headquarters to Manila (1571). In 1648 the Philippines were assigned to Spain in the Peace of Westphalia. The Spanish clergy played a special role in the conquest and colonization of the country. It was due to his often rigorous missionary activity that almost the entire native population was converted to Christianity; He also promoted education and science (founding schools and universities, initially mainly on Cebu). The members of the religious orders also held leading positions in the administration built on the Spanish-American model. Like the Spanish aristocracy and the tribal chiefs, they too came into possession of huge latifundia on which the locals were kept like serfs. Exploitation of taxpayers, withholding taxes and non-observance of religious instruction by the large landowners led to the abolition of this system towards the end of the 16th century and direct control by the governor-general appointed by the Spanish king. The drastic restriction of the Philippine-Mexican exchange of goods ordered by the Spanish court, as well as the unrational.

The grievances caused by v. a. The unrestrained pursuit of profit by the less privileged at the expense of the population were the cause of numerous bloody peasant revolts. As a result of the racial discrimination and economic disadvantage of the Filipinos, freedom movements sprang up all over the country. a. by Western educated intellectuals (especially J. P. Rizal), by anti-clerical forces and peasant social revolutionaries (1892 foundation of the Katipunan movement by Andres Bonifacio). The uprisings culminated in the revolution of 1896-98 (led by E. Aguinaldo) and the proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines on June 12, 1898 in Malolos by Aguinaldo.

The Philippines under the rule of the USA

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War (1898), the Filipinos supported the USA, which in return promised state independence.

After the war, Spain had to cede the Philippines to the USA in the Peace of Paris (December 10, 1898). When these did not grant the desired independence, the uprising movement under Aguinaldo continued its struggle in 1899, but had to recognize American rule over the Philippines in 1901. In the first parliamentary elections, the Nacionalista Party (NP) under M. Quezón won the majority of the seats in 1907. With the constitution of August 29, 1916, the American administration under Governor General Francis Burton Harrison (* 1873, † 1957 ; 1913-21), a staunch opponent of imperialist American policy at the time, gave the Philippines extensive autonomy.

The trade policy of the USA towards the Philippines, especially the duty-free import of American industrial goods as well as the export of Philippine raw products (especially sugar cane) to the tariff-protected market of the USA, inhibited the development of an industry and promoted it – in connection with the growing concentration of land ownership in the hands less – the economic power of the big landowners, who at the same time developed into the political ruling class. Against this background, it came about in the 1920s and 1930s BC. a. riots in central Luzon.

With the Tydings-McDuffie Act (signed by President F. D. Roosevelt on March 24, 1934) the Philippines received Dominion status as part of a “Philippine Commonwealth” (entered into force on November 15, 1935). According to this legal requirement, the Philippines should become independent after ten years. Quezón was President of the Republic since September 17, 1935, while Sergio Osmena (* 1878, † 1961) was Vice-President. A high commissioner represented the US government in Manila during the transition period.

The Philippines in World War II

After the start of the Pacific War (December 7, 1941; World War II), Japanese troops landed in the Philippines on December 9th. After the Quezón government was evacuated to the US headquarters in Corregidor and to the USA in 1942, a Japan-friendly Executive Committee was formed (1942–43). In October 1943 the Japanese occupying power established an independent Philippine republic under President José P. Laurel (* 1891, † 1959). A bourgeois, US-sympathetic and socialist-communist resistance movement, the Hukbalahap, formed against Japan and the Filipino forces working with it. In connection with the traditional potential for social conflict (especially in central Luzon), this combined the politico-military resistance with the attempt at a social revolution and expropriated the property of the caciks, a local upper class that emerged during the Spanish colonial era, in their sphere of influence. In the course of Japan’s military defeat in 1945, the government system that worked with him collapsed under Laurel ; Osmena, who was already in exile after Quezón’s death(1944) had assumed the office of President of the Philippine Commonwealth, returned to Manila. Immediately after the war, the caciques expropriated by the Hukbalahap sought – often with terrorist means – to regain their social supremacy.

Philippines History - from 15th Century to World War II

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