An outline of Philippine history

When I first set up the IRAIA website in 2001, one of my dreams was to come up with an online system in which Filipino history scholars and students can help flesh out our country’s history in an interactive, collaborative, and free (read: Gutenberg, GNU-GPL, Creative Commons, copyleft) manner. I planned to contribute by setting up an outline, helping fill it up, and encouraging others to do the same. Little did I realize that in that same year, Wikipedia would emerge to offer the global public exactly such an engine (the wiki engine) to build a comprehensive encyclopaedia about everything under the sun.

I had thought that maybe my idea had already been overtaken by more sophisticated sites that used the wiki engine but specialized in Philippine history. But the few sites I encountered left much unanswered. I still pursued my Philippine history project at a free wiki site called (now defunct). When closed shop, its pages were migrated to PBwiki. I tried that site for a while, but found its interface much more difficult than the old schtuff. So I stopped using PBwiki, although I now see it has an excellent presence on Philippine history sources. (Primary Sources in Philippine History, by Vincent Isles)

So when I decided to revive my own site, I decided to avail of its wiki interface to pursue my Philippine history project. At present, severe time limitations prevent me from keeping this project up and running, but I can at least continue at a pace that my work allows me.

So, without much more ado, here is the outline that I’ve been using (and propose that other corraborators use too):

1. Pre-Spanish period

  • theories and evidence: the peopling of the Philippines
  • Luzon peoples
  • Visayas peoples
  • Mindanao peoples
  • external influences
  • proposed stages; Jocano

2. Early Spanish period (1521-1750s)

  • exploration and initial colonization
  • the rise of the encomienda system, galleon trade
  • development of the colonial ruling system, role of the Church
  • subjugation and resistance of various Philippine peoples; the first rebellions
  • Moro society and anti-Spanish resistance
  • geopolitical context; devt in Spain, other maritime powers in the East (Dutch, British, China)

3. Middle Spanish period (1750s-1810s)

  • further development of colonial and feudal rule
  • peak of encomienda system, galleon trade, rise of production monopolies
  • economic developments
  • political developments; war between England and Spain
  • cultural developments
  • the changing class structure
  • continuing anti-colonial resistance among subjugted and non-subjugated peoples (including Moro society, mountain tribes)

4. Late Spanish period (1820s-1890s)

  • maturation and decline of colonial and feudal rule
  • end of the encomienda system and galleon trade
  • hacienda system; opening up to world trade; incipient capitalism; other economic developments
  • the changing structure of colonial politics (including impact of European and Latin American revolutions)
  • cultural developments
  • changing class structure; rise of the intelligentsia (ilustrado)
  • rise of the Filipino nationalist movement

5. The anti-colonial revolution (1896-1905)

  • Katipunan, the 1896 revolt, Aguinaldo’s rise
  • Pact of Biak-na-bato
  • Spanish-American war, resumption of armed struggle, fall of Manila, uneasy peace
  • Filipino-American war until Aguinaldo’s capture
  • Continuing anti-US armed resistance

6. US colonial regime (1901-1941)

7. World War II, Japanese occupation (1941-1945)

8. Early post-war Republic (1946-1965)

  • general economic, political, and cultural developments
  • Roxas, Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia, and Macapagal administrations
  • the Huk rebellion

9. The Marcos period (1966-1986)

  • Pre-martial law period, rise of CPP-NPA, First Quarter Storm
  • Early martial law period (1972-1977)
  • Normalization period; IBP elections (1977-1981)
  • Decline of Marcos rule; Aquino assassination, post-AA protests, snap election, EDSA revolt (1981-1986)

10. The current (post-Marcos) period (1986 to present)

  • Aquino-I, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino-II administrations

My own outline of Philippine history, although it doesn’t diverge fundamentally from other outlines followed by textbooks and courses on Philippine history, has its own distinctive features, I believe.

First, it splits up the long period of Spanish rule into three sub-periods, which I’d like to treat as representing real phases in the country’s social development. Tentatively, I have tagged these sub-periods with the quite-neutral tags “Early Spanish rule,” “Middle Spanish rule,” and “Late Spanish rule.”

Second, my outline treats the entire 20-year period of Marcos rule as a distinct stage in the country’s historical development, instead of formalistically cutting it up into the pre-martial law period (where Marcos’ first term 1966-1969 is lumped together with the other pre-Marcos administrations) and the period of martial law and later “constitutional authoritarianism” after the formal lifting of martial law in 1981.

My outline will have other distinguishing features, which I will explain and present in more detail later.


2 Replies to “An outline of Philippine history”

  1. I suggest that you present it with proper perspective taking into consideration our own understanding of our own history. You can adopt the “pantayong pananaw” as your perspective

  2. Hi Ikir, thanks for the suggestion. I will seriously study it. Can you recommend a website or book from which I can start?

Leave a Reply