In March 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese sailor working under Spain rediscovered the Philippines. Rajah Humabon, his family, and 800 Sugboanons (people from Cebu) befriended Magellan and converted to Roman Catholicism. Magellan declared the people of Cebu a servant of God and Spain, while the pagan inhabitants of Mactan island under it’s chieftain Lapu-lapu, became the “enemies of the Church”. In an ensuing skirmish between the two groups, Magellan was killed by Lapu-lapu, thus making Lapu-lapu the first hero of the country. Even with his death, Magellan succeeded in setting the stage for Spanish conquest and colonization of the Philippines, except Mindanao and Sulu inhabited by Filipino Muslims (Moros) and the interior regions of the Cordillera occupied by various mountain pagan tribes.
For 333 years (1565-1898) the country was ruled by Spain, who imposed her rule and the Hispanic culture over the people. During this long period of Spanish rule the oppressed people rose in more than 100 revolts and rebellions to regain their lost freedom. These armed uprisings failed for lack of unity and national leaders. The Spaniards used the “rule and divide principle” getting people from one region to quell the revolt in another region.
Below are some of the significant revolts:
1574 -- First known Filipino uprising against Spain.
1588 -- Another revolt, an attempt to expel the Spaniards from the Philippine Islands.
1649 -- A most widespread rebellion against Spanish conscription took place this year.
1661 -- Ilocos Province in the northern part of the Archipelago revolted.
1762 -- The Provinces of Cagayan, Laguna and Batangas rose up in a revolt.
1774 -– Marked the revolution in Bohol in the middle part of the Archipelago.
1807 -- Northern Luzon battled for the constitutional rights of the Filipinos rights.
1840 –- There was an extensive revolt in Southern Luzon led by Apolinario de la Cruz.
1872 -- A revolt took place for the freedom of people and their rights.
1892 –- Jose Rizal, the Filipino martyr and hero led a ‘ united and constructive struggle characterized by a systematic campaign for freedom’. The revolt culminated in the execution of Jose Rizal.
1896 -– The actual battle for independence biggest armed conflict under the leadership of Andres Bonifacio and General Aguinaldo. the entire Archipelago, except Manila, was freed from the Spanish rule and the Philippine Republic was established with General Aguinaldo as the first president.