Philippines' History
Philippines :: History

1380 Arab trader and missionary Makhdum Karim and other Muslim Arabs arrived at the Sulu Archipelago
1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu and claimed region for Spain. He was killed in a battle when he tried to impose Christianity and Spanish sovereignty on the local chief, Lapu-Lapu.
1542 Military commander Ruy Lopez de Villalobos claimed the islands for Spain and renamed them the Philippines after Spain's royal heir, later King Philip II.
1565 More Spanish vessels arrived and permanent colonial settlements were built. The Spanish also began introducing their religion, Roman Catholism.
1571 Construction of a fortified town to serve as capital of Spanish Philippine. Today it is known as Intramuros, a "Walled City" comprising of European buildings and churches.
1572 Spanish General Miguel López de Legazpi defeated the forces of Muslim ruler Rajah Soliman and proclaimed Manila as the capital of the colony.

1886 Filipino doctor and author Jose Rizal published an anti-Spanish novel which stirred the desire for independence.
1892 Andres Bonifacio formed a secret revolutionary society called the Katipunan (Association of Sons of the People) to act against the Spanish authorities.
1896 The Spanish arrested and executed Jose Rizal for starting insurrection. Emilio Aguinaldo, the new leader of Katipunan, openly led a revolt against the Spanish.
1898 Filipinos declared their country's independence from Spain on 12 June.


The Spanish-American war began in April.
In May, the US sank all the Spanish ships in Manila Bay.

The war ended in December with the Treaty of Paris under which US paid Spain US$20 million for the Philippines.

Insurrection against the US started.
1901 Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of insurgents, was captured.
1902 Insurrection against the US ended
1907 A Philippine assembly was inaugurated.
1935 The Filipinos voted to accept a new constitution and formed the Commonwealth of the Philippines with Manuel Quezon y Molina as its president. The US remained in-charge of foreign affairs and national defence.

1941 Japan invaded the Philippines and controlled the country till 1944.
1945 The US defeated Japan.

1946 Philippines received full independence from the US on 4 July.

Hukbong Magpapalayang Bayan (People's Liberation Army), a Communist-led group of former guerrillas against the Japanese, organized a rebel government in central Luzon. Its members, known as Huks, demanded that the government divide the estates of the wealthy landowners into small lots and give the land to poor farmers.
1947 The US was awarded military bases on a 99-year lease, shortened in 1959 to 25 years.
1954 The Philippine Army defeated the Communist-led Huk rebels after a five-year fight.

1965 Ferdinand Marcos was elected as president and reelected in 1969.
1967 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) established by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
early 1970s The Communist New People's Army and the Moro National Liberation Front, a Muslim separatist movement in the south, waged guerrilla war on the government.
1972 Marcos suspended the constitution, declared martial law, and seized dictatorial powers.
1981 Martial law ended.
1983 Benigno Aquino, Marcos' leading political rival, was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines from self-exile in the United States.

1986 In February, Corazón Aquino (widow of the slain Benigno Aquino) challenged Marcos in a snap presidential election. She won but Marcos refused to step down.

Thousands of people poured into the streets of Manila and challenged the military to open fire on unarmed civilians. The military backed down and withdrew their support for Marcos. The US military airlifted Marcos out to exile.

Corazón Aquino was sworn in as president.
1988 The Marcoses indicted by a US grand jury of fraud and embezzlement.
1989 Marcos died in Hawaii.

During the Aquino presidency there were six unsuccessful military coup attempts, the most serious one in December 1989 ... US jets assisted government forces to suppress the attempted coup.
1991 Mount Pinatubo erupted and the United States evacuated the nearby Clark Air Base.
1992 Fidel V. Ramos was elected as president.

Subic Bay Naval Station was closed.
mid-1990s Renewed guerrilla violence by Muslim separatist forces in the south, fighting for political autonomy
1996 The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government. Another group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), carried on its campaign.
1998 Joseph Marcelo Estrada, a former movie actor, was elected president with the largest majority in Philippine presidential history.
2001 Estrada was impeached on charges of graft, but the Senate, controlled by Estrada's allies, rejected an examination of the president's bank records.

Mass demonstrations against Estrada mounted and protesters marched to the palace. Estrada stepped down, proclaiming his innocence. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as Estrada's successor.
2002 US held joint exercises with Filipino military in southern Philippines to rescue foreign hostages held by the Islamic militant group, Abu Sayyaf.
2003 Government signed ceasefire with MILF.
2004 Macapagal-Arroyo was elected president in her own right in May.
2005 In January, heavy fighting between troops and MILF rebels broke the July 2003 ceasefire.

In November-December, clashes between troops and Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels on the southern island of Jolo
2006 The death penalty was abolished, the second time.
2007 The military stepped up its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, after they beheaded seven Christian hostages.

Former Philippine president Estrada received a life sentence for corruption but subsequently received a presidential pardon.
2008 On August 4, the Supreme Court ordered the government to drop plans to establish an extended Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines.

Fighting resumed in the southern Philippines despite a commitment by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels to withdraw from inhabited areas where they had been menacing local residents. Many civilians, mainly women and children, flee the fighting.

Voting in the first fully-automated elections in the five-province Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) proceeded amidst violence - incumbent Zaldy Ampatuan was re-elected governor.