Philippines Time Line


* 1521 Magellan discovers the Philippine Islands March 15, tries to subdue the native chief Lapulapu, wades ashore on Mactan April 24 with 48 men in full armor, and is killed in a skirmish with Mactan warriors. Only three of Magellan’s original five ships have made the Pacific crossing, the other two have been lost, his men have come close to starvation, but survivors of the Mactan encounter sail on in two remaining ships to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands.

* 1524 Maize grows in the Philippines where Magellan’s men introduced the plant 2 years ago.

* 1543 Spanish conquistador Ruy Lopez de Villalobos is driven out of the Philippine Islands by the natives a year after discovering the islands and giving them their name. He is captured by the Portuguese.

* 1564 Miguel Lopez de Legazpe, 54, leaves New Spain with four ships to colonized the Philippines.

* 1565 A colony at Cebu in the Philippines is established by Miguel Lopez de Legazpe, who has been sent out from New Spain by the viceroy Luis de Velasco on orders from Philip II, has conquered the islands for Philip and heads for home with a cargo of cinnamon.

* 1571 Manila is founded May 19 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpe. He has subjugated the Philippine natives and moves his capital from Cebu to the new city, using it as a base for colonization.

* 1611 The University of Santo Tomas is founded at Manila.

* 1624 Japan expels all Spanish traders and puts an end to trade with the Philippines.

* 1820 A cholera epidemic begins to kill thousands in China and the Philippine Islands.

* 1898 Commodore George Dewey, 60, receives a secret cable February 25 from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt ordering him to proceed with his Asiatic squadron to Hongkong and prepare for an attack on the Spanish squadron in the Philippines in the event of war.

The Battle of Manila Bay May 1 begins at 5:40 in the morning when Comm Dewey says to the captain of his flagship, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” By the time a cease-fire is ordered at 12:30 in the afternoon, all 10 ships in the Spanish squadron have been destroyed with a loss of 381 men, while eight Americans have been slightly wounded and none killed. Dewey is elevated to rear admiral May 11.

A peace protocol is signed with Spain August 12, and the Treaty of Paris formally ends the war December 10. Spain withdraws from Cuba and cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, which pays $20 million for the Philippines.

* 1902 President Roosevelt officially ends the ‘great insurrection’ in the Philippines July 4 and commends US troops for upholding America’s ‘lawful sovereignity.’

Beriberi kills thousands in the Philippines following introduction of polished white rice by US occupation authorities.

* 1908 The University of the Philippines is founded at Manila.

* 1941 Japanese forces land on Luzon in the Philippines December 10.

* 1942 Japanese forces take Manila January 2.
US troops on the Bataan peninsula surrender to Gen. Yamashita April 9. Most of the 36,000 men are killed on the “death march” to internment camps or in the camps.

* 1945 US forces invade the Philippines in force January 9 under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur who enters Manila February 4 and completes recovery of the city within 3 weeks.

Washington announces reconquest of the Philippines July 5.

* 1946 The Philippines gains independence from the United States July 4 under provisions of the McDuffie-Tyding’s Act of 1934. The Philippine Republic headed by President Manual A. Roxas tries to subdue the communist-led Huks peasant party that has appropriated lands in central Luzon.

* 1947 Philippine health authorities begin the “Bataan experiment” in an effort to solve the problem of beriberi. The study will show that beriberi incidence is reduced by nearly 90 percent in an area where people are given rice fortified with thiamine, niacin, and iron, while a control population has no reduction.

* 1950 A U.S.-Philippine mutual defense pact signed August 30 is the first of several security pacts among anti-communist powers int he Far East.

* 1962 The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is established in the Philippines at Los Banos with support from both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and the Philippine government.

The average Asian eats more than 300 pounds of rice per year as compared with 6 pounds in the West and many rice-consuming nations including the Philippines do not produce enough for domestic needs. IRRI will advance the “Green Revolution” but while per capita food production in the developing countries has increased in the past decade at an annual rate of 0.7 percent it will increase at an annual rate of only 0.2 percent in the decade ahead.

* 1964 High-yielding dwarf strains of indica rice are introduced on experimental basis under the names IR5 and IR8 by the International Rice Research Institute at Los Banos. The new ‘miracle’ rice for tropical cultivation has been developed by crossing ordinary indica rice with Japan’s high-yielding japonica variety.

* 1965 Dwarf Indica rice with higher per-acre yields is introduced in India, the Philippines, and other Asian nations.

* 1968 Manila lays claim to Sabah on the island of Borneo and passes a law September 18 incorporating the territory into the Philippine Republic after talks at Bangkok with the Malaysian government have broken down.

Improved IR-8 rice strains from the IRRI produce record yields in Asia. But the ‘miracle’ rice requires more fertilizer and water than do such traditional strains as Bengawan, Intam, Peta, and Sigadio. Ir-8 has little innate resistance to a virus carried by green leaf hoppers, and Filipinos do not like the cooking and eating qualities of the sticky new rice milled from IR-8.

* 1972 Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law in response to an alleged ‘Communist rebellion’ and assumes near-dictatorial powers. (September 21).

* 1976 Mindanao in the Philippines loses up to 8,000 in an earthquake and tidal wave August 17 (the disaster temporarily quells a rebellion by the Muslim majority).

* 1980 The Philippine passenger ferry M.V. Don Juan collides April 22 with the government oil tanker M.T. Tacloban City while the ferry captain is drinking beer and playing mahjongg. The luxury ship has a legal capacity of 810 passengers and is carrying 1349. 113 bodies are recovered, another 200 persons are missing and presumed dead.

President Ferdinand Marcos ends 8 years of martial law January 17 and wins election to a second 6-year term June 16, but Marcos has effectively ended democracy in the country and stifled opposition, using anti- Communism to mask a policy of suppression.

* 1983 Former Philippine senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., 50, returns from exile to Manila August 21 and is shot dead upon arrival by an unknown gunman who is himself immediately shot dead. The last national leader still held in detention in 1980, Aquino was permitted to leave the country that year for open-heart surgery in the United States. He formed an anti-Marcos coalition in January 1982 and worked from abroad to restore democracy to the Philippines. Despite warnings that ailing President Ferdinand Marcos, his wife, Imelda, or their political allies (or opponents) would kill him, Aquino had decided it was time to organize opposition to Marcos at home.

* 1986 Corazon C. Aquino, 53, assumes the presidency of the Philippine February 26 after winning election amidst charge of ballot tampering by Ferdinand Marcos. Widow of slain opposition leader Benigno Aquino, ‘Cory’ receives support from key military leaders and Marcos is flown to Guam after US pressure has been applied to make him leave Manila. He is given sanctuary in Hawaii (where he will die later in 1989) after a 20-year rule that has bled the country of perhaps $5 billion.

* 1991 Mount Pinatubo on Luzon in the Philippines erupts in beginning of June, caking fields, roads, and vehicles with talc-like gray ash, closing airports, and forcing evacuation of 20,000 Americans from Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station.

* End of Philippine Entries in The People’s Chronology by James Trager.

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