250,000 years ago, first people arrive in the Philippines, probably migrating over a land bridge from Asian mainland.

25,000 years ago, Negrito people arrive. The Negritos were later driven back by waves of immigrants from Indonesia. Maritime immigrations of Malayan people follow.

In 1380, Islam arrives in the southern Philippines with the arrival of the Arab-taught Makdum in the Sulu archipelago.This marks the beginning of a powerful Islamic sphere of influence over the next hundred years.

1521, Ferdinand Magellan arrives in the Philippines (Homonhon island, Eastern Samar). He claims the archipelago for Spain. The same year Magellan was killed by local chiefs.

1543, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos followed in and named the territory Filipinas after King Philip II of Spain.

1565, permanent Spanish occupation began, and by 1571 the entire country, except for the strictly Islamic Sulu archipelago, was under Spanish control.

In the 19th century a Filipino independence movement grew. 1898 the Spanish-American War begins, Filipinos fought on the side of the Americans. When the Spanish were defeated, General Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent. The USA purchased the islands from Spain for US$20 million, In December 1898 the United States announced the establishment of U.S. military rule in the Philippines. The american takeover resulted in the bloody Filipino-American war, which ended in 1902.

1935, Manuel L. Quezon was sworn in as President of the Philippine Commonwealth as part of a transitional phase pending full independence.

1942, Japan invaded the Philippines. The brutal Japanese rule lasted for more than two years, until the USA re-invadedr.

1946, the Philippines received full independence.

1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president and reelected 1969.

1972, Philippine constitution didn't allow a third term, so Marcos declared martial law and ruled virtually as a dictator until 1986. Both communist and Muslim guerrillas attacked his government.

1983, the assassination of prominent opposition figure Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino Jr. sparked massive anti-government protests. A snap election in 1986 saw the opposition parties rally around Aquino's widow, Cory. Both parties claimed victory, but it was widely believed that Aquino had polled most votes. Aquino initiated a programme of nonviolent civil unrest which ended in the 'EDSA revolution'. After some of Marcos generals changed the sides Marcos fled the country.

Aquino became president and re-established the democratic institutions of the country. Economic problems remained and she failed to win over the military and the powerful Filipino elite. Aquino survived seven coups in six years.

1991, the Philippine Senate refused to ratify the lease on the Subic Bay Naval Station. The Americans finally left the country.

1992, Fidel Ramos, the former Defence Minister of Aquino was elected president. Ramos pursued an ambitious economic reform program.

1996, The Philippines government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed a peace accord in September ending, formally at least, the MNLF's 24-year struggle for autonomy in Mindanao. A more radical splinter group, the militant Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), opposed the agreement.

In 1998, Ramos was replaced as president by the former movie star Joseph Estrada.

2000, Estrada was impeached and brought to trial on charges of taking bribes from gambling syndicates, and using the proceeds to line his own dens and to build extravagant houses for his mistresses. The attempt to derail the trial by blocking prosecutors' access to his financial accounts, the people took to the streets and started 'EDSA 2 (dos). After most of his allies gave up support Estrada left Malacanang Palace on 19 January 2001 and the next day his former vice-president, Gloria Arroyo, was sworn in as the new president of the Philippines.

Since then, Arroyo's presidency has been sorely tested. A military coup attempt on 27 July 2003 underscored the tensions below the surface in the country. A standoff lasting 20 hours ended when Arroyo issued a five-hour ultimatum.

On May 10, 2004, Arroyo was reelected president but there were accusations about fraud. A warrant of arrest against Arroyo was issued on November 18,.2011.

The election in 2010 won Benigno Aquino III, the son of Benigno Aquineo who was assassinated in 1983.


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Government and administration

The Philippines is a presidial republic, the official name is Republika ng Pilipinas (Republic of the Philippines). The constitution of 1987 allows the president to serve only one term with the maximum of 6 years in office. The main purpose of amanding the constitution in 1987 was to avoid a new dictatorship. According to the constitution congress comprises of the senate (24 members, elected for 6 years) and the house of representatives with a maximum of 260 members. 208 members are elected for three years while 52 are appointed by the president. The incumbent president is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was reelected on May 10, 2004.

Regions and provinces

The administration of the Philippines is divided into 16 regions, consisiting of 76 provinces. Every province consists of a provincial capital and municipalities. Every municipaity or city consists of barangays (village communities), the smallest administrative unit.


Regions and provinces of Luzon are:

Region 1, Ilocos Region (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan).

Region 2, Cagayan vally (Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela del Norte, Isabela del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino).

Region 3, Central Luzon (Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales).

Region 4, Southern Tagalog Region (Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal, Romblon).

Region 5, Bicol Region (Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate).

CAR, Cordillera Administrative Region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province).

NCR, National Capital Region (Metro Manila).

Regions and provinces of the Visayas:

Region 6, Western Visayas (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental).

Region 7, Central Visayas (Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor).

Region 8, Eastern Visayas (Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar (Western), Southern Leyte).

Regions and provinces of Mindanao:

Region 9, Western Mindanao (Lanao del Norte, Basilan, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur).

Region 10, Northern Mindanao (Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin).

Region 11, Southern Mindanao (Davao, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat).

Region 12, Central Mindanao (North Cotabato, South Cotabato).

Region 13, Caraga Region (Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur).

Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi Tawi).

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History | Government and administration | Regions and Provinces