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The Philippines History

The first inhabitants of the Philippines arrived from the land bridge from Asia over 150,000 years ago. Throughout the years, migrants from Indonesia, Malaysia, and other parts of Asia made their way to the islands of this country. In the fourteenth century, the Arabs arrived and soon began a long tradition of Islam. Many Muslims are still living in the Philippines today.

In 1521, Magellan claimed the land for Spain, but was killed by local chiefs who did not want Spain’s inhabitance. However, Villalobos made a Spanish return in 1543 and named the land Filipinas after King Philip II. Spain soon after began their control. By 1571, the country had control over the entire archipelago, except for any Islamic areas.

The original inhabitants of the Philippines decided they wanted independence, and fought against the Spanish during the Spanish-American War. The Spanish succumbed to defeat and therefore, the Philippines declared itself independent of any power. However, the United States thought otherwise and purchased this land for $20 million from Spain.

In 1935, the US decided to give the Filipinos independence and so Manuel Quezon was sworn in as president, as the process for full independence began. The Japanese invaded the Philippines and ruled from 1942-1944 until the US invaded, which won the Philippines its independence completely in 1946.

Ferninand Marcos became president in 1965 and ruled until 1986. However, he was not well liked and accused of fraud, and an assassination of someone who opposed Marcos lead to protests. In 1986, an election saw Marcos and his opponent, Cory Aquino, the widow of the assassinated, both claim victory. The widow was powerful enough to spark enough civil unrest throughout the country to make Marcos flee.

Aquino established a democracy, but was lagged with economic problems. She was succeeded by Fidel Ramos in 1992. Ramos did try to help the slumping economy and clean the country from its corruption and difficulties.

In 1998, Ramos was replaced by movie star Joseph Estrada, more famous for his acting abilities than anything political. He promised the people a better economy, but ended up putting more money in his pocket than anywhere else. He was impeached and put on trial. He tried to block any access to his financial accounts, so the people staged demonstrations in Manila.

Arroyo, the vice-president, was sworn in as the new president. She has decided to let Estrada stand trial for his crimes. During her presidency, separatist groups have been linked to terrorism, the US has sent military assistance, and a military coup was staged.

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Philippines Travel Guides
 Frommer's Philippines
 Lonely Planet Philippines
 Let's Go Philippines
 Fodors Philippines