1896–98 conflict against Spanish colonial authorities

The Philippine Revolution was a major rebellion by Filipinos against the Spanish colonial regime. The revolution, inspired by the French Revolution and other revolutions in Europe, led to the creation of the Philippines, whose independence was declared in 1898. The revolution was a major blow to the Spanish, alongside the loss of their colonies in Cuba and Puerto Rico. The revolution established the First Philippine Republic, the first republic in Asia with a democratic system and a written constitution, though it was predated by the short lived Republic of Ezo in Hokkaido, Japan before the Meiji Restoration in the mid 1800s, and the Philippines did not achieve full independence until 1946, due to the American occupation of the country after the Spanish–American War in 1898.



The Spanish colonial empire was beginning to collapse, starting with the wars for independence in Latin America. Support for a Filipino nation grew as the Philippines opened to world trade, rebellions against the colonial administration were quelled violently, revolutions raged in Europe, and the local intelligentsia discovered liberalism. The Philippines, previously ruled by Spain through Mexico, was placed under direct control from Madrid after Mexico declared independence in 1815.

Spain was also experiencing an internal crisis as the First Spanish Republic was founded after the 1868 revolution that ended the absolute monarchy under Queen Isabella II; the newly appointed Governor-General Carlos Maria de la Torre introduced the idea of liberalism, but his rule lasted only until 1871, when the monarchy was restored. A Filipino mutiny in 1872 in Cavite was suppressed, and Filipino secular priests Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, better known as the Gomburza, were falsely accused of leading the mutiny and executed on the garrotte in Bagumbayan, Manila. The executions shocked Filipinos, and inspired José Rizal, then a child during 1872, to write El Filibusterismo in memory of the three priests.

Propaganda Movement and the road to revolution


Even after the execution of the Gomburza, Filipinos suspected of inciting rebellions were sent to Spanish penal colonies. Others managed to escape into major cities around the world, where they met Filipino students and other exiles. Many of them formed the Propaganda Movement (Kilusang Propaganda) that vocally criticized Spanish abuses and called for reforms.

One of the members of the Propaganda Movement was José Rizal, who wrote Noli me Tángere and El Filibusterismo, novels that exposed the sociopolitical and religious abuses by the Spaniards. When he returned from the Americas, Rizal formed La Liga Filipina, a political organization seeking reforms to the colonial administration, but when the Spaniards discovered his arrival to the Philippines, they arrested him and exiled him to the town of Dapitan in Zamboanga province.

After Rizal went into exile, revolutionaries led by Andres Bonifacio, formed the Katipunan, which is short for the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (and abbreviated as KKK), a nationalist secret organization which attempted to overthrow the Spanish colonial administration through armed revolution. To keep their activities hidden from the Spaniards, its members, known as Katipuneros, used pseudononyms and communicated with each other using a code, and new members were initiated through a recreation of the ancient practice of blood compact. Membership numbers of the Katipunan is somewhat disputed, but the Katipunan attracted members of the working class, and in 1896, also attempted to gain the support of Rizal, who refused support for an armed revolution.

Course of the revolution


The Spanish discovered the Katipunan in August 15, 1896, and led to what was known as the "Cry of Pugad Lawin" or the "Cry of Balintawak" in August 24, where members of the Katipunan tore cedulas (community tax certificates) as an act of protest. Hostilities began in August 25.


  • Baler – The last Spanish stronghold at the end of the Revolution. A local parish church, used by Spanish soldiers as their hiding place until surrender, was besieged by Filipino revolutionaries.
  • Dapitan – Town in Zamboanga del Norte where Jose Rizal was placed in exile.
  • Imus – Site of the Battle of Alapan in 1898.
  • Kawit – Site of the Declaration of Independence in 1898, and hometown of Emilio Aguinaldo.
  • Malolos – Home to Barasoain Church, where the Malolos Convention was held.
  • San Juan – Site of the Battle of Pinaglabanan.

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