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Many of you probably already know this... but for those who don\'t, today, June 12, is a public holiday in the Philippines: Independence Day.

How did it come about? Independence from Spain or from the United States? (Here follows something I have written to educate myself...)

A quick spin through Wikipedia.org shows that today is a celebration of the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898, by the great nationalist Emilio Aguinaldo (later to become the Philippines\' first Republican President) at his \"ancestral home... Cavite, some 30 kilometers South of Manila\".

(from [ http://www.beda7882.com/Philippine_History.htm ])

The surrounding circumstances were rather convoluted... so please bear with me...

With America more internationally assertive since its independence in the late 18th century, adopting in 1823 the Monroe Doctrine of foreign policy of her fifth president President James Monroe (and with the end of the Civil War in 1865 well and truly behind it), America under the presidency of its 25th president, William McKinley, supported the movement in Cuba for independence from Spain. On April 20, 1898, McKinley signed a joint resolution of the Congress and the Senate \"demand(ing) Spanish withdrawal and authoriz(ing) the president to use as much military force as he thought necessary... and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain. In response, Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States and declared war on April 25. On that same day, Congress declared that a state of war between the United States and Spain had existed since April 20 (later changed to April 21).\"

On April 27 Commodore Dewey \"transported Emilio Aguinaldo to the Philippines from exile in Hong Kong in order to rally Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government\". (In some other accounts, Aguinaldo was transported from Hong Kong to Cavite later in May, arriving May 19.) Commodore Dewey, on May 1, with four cruisers and two gunboats, defeated the Spanish squadron in one day (or as Wikipedia says \"in a matter of hours\"), sinking seven Spanish ships in the Battle of Manila Bay.

Admiral Montojo (left) and Commodore Dewey (right) in the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898

(From the Library of Congress [ http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/intro.html ]) Dewey \"did not have enough manpower to capture Manila and so Aguinaldo\'s guerrillas maintained their operations until 15,000 U.S. troops arrived at the end of July\". The city of Manila itself was not captured until August 13.

During this time, \"on June 12, 1898 at the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo... Cavite, some 30 kilometers South of Manila... The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared and written by Senior Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Spanish, who also read the said declaration... The flag of the Philippines, which was made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad was first flown in that event. It is also where the Philippine National Anthem, composed by Julian Felipe, was first played...\"

Of course America was not prepared to recognize this declaration of independence.

It was mentioned above that the city of Manila itself was not captured until August 13. In fact this \"Battle of Manila\" would lead ominously to war between Filipinos and America in the \"Philippine–American War\" which would only have an official end in 1902.

\"This battle marked an end of Filipino-American collaboration, as Filipino forces were prevented from entering the captured city of Manila, an action which was deeply resented by the Filipinos...\"

\"Aguinaldo had been told bluntly by the Americans that his army could not participate and would be fired upon if it crossed into the city. The insurgents were infuriated at being denied triumphant entry into their own capital... Relations continued to deteriorate, however, as it became clear to Filipinos that the Americans were in the islands to stay.\"

And so the Battle Of Manila \"... later led to the Philippine–American War\" - and as you know, the Filipinos did not remove the Americans from the Philippines, with the result being that the U.S. was responsible for the Philippines until WWII. (... As it so happens, this is about the same period of time that Japan had possession of Taiwan as part of its own empire. These two rising powers, Japan and the U.S., were shaping up for a Pacific showdown - which they had in WWII - ending with the deadly flash of the nuclear age brought upon the world from the laboratories of Los Alamos.)

This print, titled \"The Battle of Paceo, February 4-5, 1899, Philippine Islands\", is a depiction of initial hostilities between Philippine and American forces.

Filipino casualties on the first day of Philippine-American War

Later in 1898, on December 10: \"as an outcome of the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded Cuba, along with Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the US under the 1898 Treaty of Paris\". As it was Cuban independence that started the war, \"the Republic of Cuba gained formal independence from the United States of America on May 20, 1902. Under the new Cuban constitution, however, the US retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations.\" Puerto Rico and Guam never achieved full independence; and the Americans were not disposed to granting independence to people with whom they were at war in the Philippines.

\"Dewey returned to America to a hero\'s welcome, and by act of Congress was made Admiral of the Navy in 1899...  He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy.\"

Around 50 years later, after the conclusion of WWII \"The United States recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila [to coincide with the 4th of July American Independence Day]. Independence Day was observed in the Philippines on the July 4 anniversary of this event until, upon the advice of historians and at the urging of nationalist politicians, President Diosdado Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 4166 into law on August 4, 1964, designating June 12, which had previously been observed as Flag Day, as the country\'s Independence Day\".

So there you have it... the ups and downs that led to today\'s celebrations.

Quotations above from Wikipedia.org:

Independence Day (Philippines), Philippine Declaration of Independence [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(Philippines) ]

Spanish-American War [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish-American_War ]

Battle of Manila Bay (1898) [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manila_Bay ]

Philippine-American War [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine-American_War ]

Cuba [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba ]

George Dewey [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Dewey ]


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