5th Edition


The Philippine Archipelago first became known to Europeans on March 16, 1521, through the voyage of exploration of Ferdinand Magellan. In June, 1572, the city of Manila was formally established, and by 1690 the majority of the islands were in fairly peaceful possession of the Spaniards. A peculiarity of Spanish colonizing methods was the very small number of their citizens who established a residence in the colonies; during the first half of the 19th century there were not more than 5000 Spaniards in the archipelago. Dissatisfaction with the conditions brought about by Spanish rule culminated in cries for independence and in 1872 there was a minor insurrection which was quickly put down. The movement for independence from Spanish rule continued, and finally led to the execution of Rizal, a leader of the movement, on December 30, 1896. With this execution of a popular leader revolt again broke out, and this time it spread through several provinces. On September 9, 1898 the Filipinos proclaimed a provisional government with Aguinaldo as president.


As a result of the War with Spain these islands came under the control of the United States. Incidents soon occurred which led to insurrection by Aguinaldo and his followers against the United States. The capture of Aguinaldo by General Frederick Funston in March, 1901 virtually ended the revolt the next year.

Following the discontinuance of the Spanish colonial government in 1898, a military government was established by the United States, which continued over all of the islands until July 4, 1901, at which time Judge Taft became the first and only civil governor of the Philippines. Since the administration of Judge Taft the title of this office became Governor General. The government was made directly dependent on the Secretary of War, who organized the Bureau of Insular Affairs as his immediate agent The Jones Bill, which was passed by the Congress of the United States on August 29, 1914 established administrative machinery which is still the foundation for the Philippine government.