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History of The Philippines

There are Six Distinguishing Periods in The History of The Philippines

1. The Pleistocene Period

  • In this period ice covered large parts of Earth and what are islands today were part of the land mass above sea before the ice melted and the sea rose to its present levels. Between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago much of the ice melted on Earth ending the Ice Age. Pottery has been found dating 1,500 B.C.E. and bronze, copper and gold artifacts have been found and dated 500 to 400 B.C.E.

2. The Austronesian Arrival to Luzon about 2,500 B.C.

  • From Taiwan in about 2,500 was one of the greatest expansion of human settlements. This was the migration of the Tai Kadai speaking Austro-asian fisherman farmers from Taiwan. Originally these people migrated from China, 150 kilometers away between 4,000 and 3,000 BCE.
  • These marine explorers ventured and made settlements from Madagascar off the coast of Africa, to Hawaii, New Zealand and throughout all of Borneo, Java, The Malay Peninsula and the Indo Malayan Archipelago. Archaelogical discoveries from the Cagayan Valley in North Luzon include stone tools and pottery from Taiwan of the same period.
  • This Austro-asian migration through out the Philippines formed the basis of what we now refer to as the indigenous population. There are over 1,00 Austro-asian languages or dialects (depending on how they are classified). In the Philippines the major Austroasian languages are, Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon and Bicolano. In total there are 87 Austroasian languages in the Philippines.

3. The Pre-Hispanic Period

  • The two principal ethnic cultures prior to the arrival of the Spaniards were the Taga-ilog or Tagalogs and the Visayans. The social structures then of these two groups is discussed in the Philippines People sections of this Site.
  • The other one hundred or so other ethnic groups also occupied areas of The Philippines. Originally all these groups were animists, until the arrival of the Muslim settlers and the conversion to Islam or Catholicism

4. Arrival of Islam

  • Marco Polo on his return to Venice in 1292 reported that southern Sumatra had before then converted to Islam. Malayan Islamic scriptures date from 1326 and Muslim scholars are recorded in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines in 1380. In 1400 the Northern Province of Ache in Sumatra converted to Islam.
  • Hindus and Buddhists in the region were overtaken by Islam with its popular appeal. Hinduism and Buddhism were used to deify the rulers and entrench their rule, Islam on the other hand offered the individual a way for personal salvation. The Molaccas converted in 1414 and the Sultan of Malacca in 1447.
  • Two reasons why Islam spread were because it was spread by traders who ventured throughout the archipelago and because its believers were given access to guns which were then new powerful weapons. Islam then controlled trade. It was not until Vasco Da Gama settled Goa in India and later destroyed Malacca and the Islam control of it did European power take hold. The Indian Hindu and the Catholic Europeans (the Portuguese and the Spaniards) resented the roll of Islam.

5. Spanish Colonization

  • The Spanish explorer, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos (1500 – 1544) sailed from New Spain (‘’ Nueva Espana ‘’ which was the Viceroy ruled Spanish colonial territory from 1525 to 1821 and which included modern Mexico, Central America south to Costa Rica and most of what is now Southwest United States, including all or parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico) in 1542 across the Pacific Ocean to  explore the Philippines. He landed at the southern coast of  Luzon and later the Islands of Samar and Leyte. Here he named them ‘’ Las Islas Felipinas ‘’. He was subsequently defeated by local inhabitants and forced to abandon his settlements. He sought refuge in the Moluccas Islands which were then controlled by the Portuguese. He was imprisoned there and later died on the Island of Amboyna. His surviving crew escaped and returned to Mexico.
  • The Philippines was a colony of New Spain, administered between 1565 and 1821 when Spain lost this and other Territories to the United States of America.