Philippines History

Philippines History

Early period until the 15th century

Around 25,000 years BC The first settlements on the Philippine Islands took place, the area has been settled for about 10,000 years. Around this time the sea level had risen by about 100 meters and had created numerous islands from the connected country. Immigration from mainland Asia occurred in two sections in pre-Christian times. In the 9th century, the influence of the Chinese culture increased through intensive trade relations, from the 15th century Islam was introduced via Brunei in Mindanao and the Sulu Islands.

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Colonial period

In 1521, the Portuguese navigator and explorer Fernão de Magalhães (Magellan) was the first European to land on the island of Cebu on behalf of the Spanish king. At that time there were two powerful sultanates on the islands. They were tightly organized and fiercely resisted the invading conquistadors. Nevertheless, the first permanent settlement of the Spaniards was founded on Cebu in 1543 and the islands were named after the King of Spain, Philip II. According to AbbreviationFinder, the Spanish clergy rigorously missionized the local population and converted them to Christianity. The Muslim empires of Mindanao and Sulu (whose residents are called “moros” by the Spaniards) could never be completely subjugated by the Catholic conquerors during their 400-year reign.

At the end of the 16th century, the Philippines came under the direct control of the Spanish king, and the uninhibited pursuit of profit by the less privileged, racial discrimination and economic oppression of the locals repeatedly led to bloody peasant uprisings. A freedom movement emerged, the revolts of which initially failed in the middle of the 19th century, but culminated in the Revolution and the Proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines in 1896-98. In 1898, the Filipinos successfully supported the Americans in the war against Spain and received in return from the United States a promise of independence in the event of victory. The Treaty of Paris ended Spanish presence in the Pacific Ocean in 1898 and the Philippines became the property of the United States, which did not keep its promise. After several years of guerrilla warfare,


Even if the Americans did not immediately release the Philippines to independence: the archipelago received limited self-government as early as 1916. Great success was achieved with American support, particularly in the area of ​​training, and in 1935 the country was given extensive self-government with the promise of complete independence in 1946.

After three years of occupation by Japanese troops as part of World War II, the United States and a Communist-oriented Filipino people’s army managed to retake the islands. About a million Filipinos fell victim to the Second World War. On July 4, 1946 sovereignty was granted to the Philippines. At the same time, the US superpower secured the right to maintain military bases in the Philippines for 99 years. Manuel Roxas became the first president, followed in 1948 by Elpidio Quirino. He signed an economic agreement with the United States in late 1950, which gave the United States control over trade, monetary policy, and the establishment of new industries.

Corruption, abuse of power and growing partisan activity brought the young state to the brink of ruin. In 1961, D. Macapagal became president of a pro-American policy. Filipino troops fought on the American side in Korea, during the Vietnam War the military bases in the Philippines were a central starting point for US military interventions. In 1965, the leader of the Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista), Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, was elected as the new president, but he also failed to prevent corruption, which was crippling the economy. The country is a founding member of ASEAN, the “Association of South East Asian Nations”, which was founded in 1967 to promote economic and political cooperation.

In 1972 the president declared a state of emergency after student riots and battles against Islamist separatists and he managed to gain dictatorial powers through a manipulated referendum. The result was the arrest of thousands of opponents of the regime in the 1970s. The leader of the liberal opposition party, Benigno Aquino, was among those arrested and was only allowed to travel to the United States in 1980, seriously ill. At the same time, the Muslim uprising movement, the Moro National Liberation Front, intensified its struggle in the south, which escalated to civil war-like conditions.

In 1977, after an armistice negotiation, an agreement was reached in which the government granted thirteen provinces in the south the right to self-government, but after the majority Christian population voted against autonomy, the civil war continued. In 1981, Marcos was confirmed in office in manipulated elections.

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When opposition leader Aquino tried to return to Manila in 1983 despite warnings from exile in the United States, soldiers from the Philippine Army shot him while he was leaving the ship. Three years later, his widow Coraz¨®n Aquino lost to Marcos in presidential elections, but after renewed massive electoral fraud was discovered, Marcos was forced into exile in Hawaii and Aquino was named new president. The following year, a new democratic constitution was passed, but the domestic political situation did not improve. Up to 1989 there were six coup attempts.

In 1992, the Christian Democrat Filel V. Ramos became the new president of the country, and in the same year the American armed forces left their last military base in the country. Ramos was confirmed in office in 1995 in controversial elections. However, after a Ramos referendum failed to allow him to be re-elected, the former actor Joseph Ejercito Estrada came to power in 1998 with an overwhelming election victory. In particular, the underprivileged gave him their voice because they hoped that he would improve their situation. At the end of 2000, President Estrada was suspected of corruption; impeachment proceedings were initiated against him after large-scale demonstrations in the capital. He resigned in January 2001. His deputy took over,the economist Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In May 2004, she was confirmed in a highly controversial election as president. In 2007, Estrada was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to life in house, but pardoned by Arroyo. There were several coup attempts by the military during her tenure.

After an agreement was reached with the rebels in the south in the mid-1990s, a radical faction of the former guerrillas, the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), terminated the agreement and started a new civil war on Mindanao. In 2001 the Arroyo government signed a peace agreement with the MILF. Another group of Muslim rebels attacked a holiday island at Easter 2000 and took tourists hostage. From July 2007, attacks by Muslim separatists in the southern islands increased again; President Arroyo then announced a new military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf rebels. The Supreme Court stopped signing an agreement on the autonomy of Bangsamoro Homeland on Mindanao Island in August 2008, that the government and MILF had agreed on. This led to renewed acts of violence by the MILF rebels and counter-strikes by the government troops. Benigno Aquino won the May 2010 presidential election. In October 2012, a preliminary peace agreement between the government and the MILF was concluded.

Since the overthrow of President Marcos in 1986, legal means to enforce human rights have been significantly increased (the death penalty was abolished in 2006); however, the legal norms are not complied with. In practice, there are always significant human rights violations by military and police forces.

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