The Philippines was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan on March 16, 1521 and was named after the Spanish King Philip. This started the Spanish colonial rule that lasted for over 300 years. Under the Spaniards, Filipinos experienced oppression and injustice. This caused massive unrest which triggered a revolution and weakened the Spanish rule.
In 1898, Spain waged war against America. This ended in Spanish defeat and Spain relinquished the Philippines to America through the Treaty of Paris. The Filipino people still resented their new colonizer and yearned for independence. This resulted in the outbreak of the Filipino-American War which went on from 1899 to 1902. The Americans won but eventually granted the Filipino people sovereignty. In March 1934, the Philippines obtained self-government as a Commonwealth of the United States of America.
On January 2, 1942, Japanese invaders occupied Manila and the rest of the Philippines. Following the Japanese invasion, the Second Republic was instated with Dr. Jose P. Laurel as President. This republic was a puppet government still under Japanese rule.
General Douglas MacArthur and his forces landed in Leyte to battle Japanese invaders on October 24, 1944. This served as a precursor to the country's liberation from Japan. The Philippines attained full independence in February 1945.
The succeeding presidents were tasked to carry out the country's rebuilding efforts: Manuel Roxas (1946-1948), Elpidio Quirino (1948-1953), Ramon Magsaysay (1953-1957), Carlos P. Garcia (1957-1961), Diosdado Macapagal (1962-1965) and Ferdinand E. Marcos (1966-1986).
President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972. He stayed in power until he was overthrown by the People Power Revolution on February 25, 1986. Corazon Aquino was sworn in as President (1986-1992) and was the first female President of the Philippines. The Aquino administration believed in a government of, by and for the people. Because of this, her administration saw the passage of a new constitution.
When Aquino's term ended, Fidel V. Ramos (1992-1998) succeeded her. He envisioned a newly industrialized Philippines at the turn of the century. His vision was embodied in the Philippines 2000 socio-economic program which empowered Filipinos to be globally competitive. This program was widely successfully and was one of the greatest legacies of the Ramos administration.
After Ramos' term, Joseph Estrada was elected into office with huge support from the masses. His administration instituted the Angat Pinoy 2004 socio-economic program. The program centered on economic recovery and a more equitable distribution of the country's resources. However, barely two years into the presidency, Estrada was forced to step down by another People Power Revolution. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then Vice President, took oath on January 20, 2001 and became the 14th President of the Republic.
Her administration established the Strong Republic agenda, a ten-point agenda of governance to bring about progress and reduce poverty. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo served from 2001-2010.
During the May 2010 elections, Benigno Aquino III won and was sworn in as the 15th President of the Philippines. His administration's focus was on Tuwid na Daan, a campaign against corruption which continues up to the present. His term of office ends in 2016.
During the 13th century, Manila was a fortified settlement with its trading quarters near the mouth of the Pasig River. Under Malay rule, the city's official name was Seludong/Selurung. Yet the city became known as Maynila to its Tagalog inhabitants because of the flowering mangrove nila growing on the shores of Manila Bay.
The city became the capital of Spain during its colonial rule of the Philippines. The seat of the Spanish government was located within Old Manila's fortified walls (now known as Intramuros, translating to "within the walls"). The walls were constructed to protect the city from Filipino rebels and to keep invaders at bay. This did not stop Filipinos from forming communities outside Manila's walls. The city became the center of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade, bringing in goods from the Americas to South East Asia.
Manila was briefly occupied by Great Britain (1762-1764) as part of the Seven Years' War and remained the capital of the Philippines under the provisional British governor. However, the signing of the Treaty of Paris resulted in Manila's restoration to Spain. In 1832, the city was opened to foreign trade and commerce flourished with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.
In the 1890s, Manila became the center of anti-Spanish movements. With the Spaniards executing Filipino patriot Jose Rizal in Bagumbayan on December 1896, a year-long revolution began. The Spanish fleet was defeated at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 by American forces. The city surrendered and Manila consequently became the headquarters of the U.S. administration during its rule of the Philippines.
When World War II broke out, Manila was declared an open city and was occupied by Japanese invaders in January 1942. Much of the city was destroyed during the Battle of Manila, a battle between the joint forces of the Philippines and U.S. against the Japanese to reclaim the city. This resulted in Manila becoming the second most destroyed city in the world after Warsaw, Poland during World War II.
Manila became the capital of the newly independent Republic of the Philippines. The city was once again known as the Pearl of the Orient after its rebuilding efforts. The city's first elected mayor was Arsenio Lacson (1952-1962) followed by Antonio Villegas (1962-1971) then Ramon Bagatsing (1972-1986). These three mayors were known for their long tenures as Manila mayors but most importantly for their significant contributions to the city's development and progress.
Manila experienced rapid growth in the 19th century, which helped establish it as a major economic center up to the present.
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