The philippine islands: from the spanish era to the philippine republic

The Philippines, sovereign island country consisting of 7,107 islands, is situated in Southeast Asia. The post pre-historic Philippines was composed of three time periods; The Spanish Era, The American Occupation, and the Philippine Independence. Before the Spanish first occupied the Philippines, the country was already rich with local cultural history ranging from trading interactions with the Chinese, Japanese, etc to engaging with Islamic leaders from the Middle East and eventually spreading Islam. The Spanish conquerors violently took control of the land though envisioned a cooperative relationship with the local Filipinos which met with some resistance. The Americans came over in 1898 after the Treaty of Paris deemed the United States the rightful owner of the Philippine Islands after the Spanish-American War. World War II affected the country as it was one of the epi-centre of the Pacific Theatre. After beating the Japanese, the Americans eventually gave the Philippines its long awaited independence. One of the most under-appreciated country in all of Asia, The Philippines is often left out when Asian history is discussed in higher education classes. This exhibition celebrates the rich history of how The Philippines was developed from a Spanish territory to an independent nation. 

A collection of over 7,000 islands, The Philippines was already known as a strong trading partner throughout Southeast and Northeast Asia but relatively unknown to the Westeners during the Age of Exploration. This painting by Egnazio Danti depicts the earliest attempt to create a map for The Philippines and its surrounding islands despite of limited information about the contour of this newly explored Pacific island
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer working under the Spanish Crown, declared Spain as the rightful owner of the country in 1521. The Spanish regime then started and turned Philippines from a primitive-based culture to a modern Westernize culture. Juan Luna, a Filipino painter, portrayed the relationship between Spain and the Philippine colony by depicting two sisters walking together which romanticizes how the Spanish conquerors and the local Filipinos treat each other. Although the Filipinos did not like how the Spanish forcefully converted them to the Western culture, the locals and its conquerors somewhat worked in harmony for over 300 years.
The year 1898 marked the end of the Spanish Era and the beginning of the American regime in the Philippines. In this drawing from Life Magazine, the Americans were depicted as a mighty force to be reckoned with as they carved the Spanish Armada during the 1898 Spanish-American War in the Philippine theatre. The Philippines was given to the United States after the Treaty of Paris in 1898 for $20,000,000.
Initially thought as the liberators from the Spanish powers, the Filipinos later on learned that the Americans have no intentions of giving them their own independence. The artist depicted traditional Filipino culture through selected square boxes while painting images of the American occupation in the Philippines. The focal point of the painting, the middle box, displays how the Filipinos initially tried to stop the incoming American power but the new superpower United Stated eventually succeeded to raise the American flag over the Philippine skies.
While it was true that the Filipino people mostly suffered under the hands of the Spanish crown, the American government planned to tame the Filipino "savages" by developing the culture and infrastructure of the country in order for the local people to handle their own country in the future. Tourism increased and even some American people moved to the Philippines during its occupation. A photographic proof of a developing country shows non-locals enjoying roller-skating at a newly-developed urban park in Baguio City courtesy of American funding.
World War II was one of the most catastrophic events the world has ever experienced and in the Pacific Theatre, the Philippines was the main target for the Japanese powers due to the presence of the Americans in the country. The Filipinos and the Americans joined forces to try and defeat the Japanese Army advancing into Manila, the country's capital. Here in this photograph shows an American soldier guarding the streets during the war while the local Filipinos try to live a normal life despite of the circumstances.
The Fall of Bataan during World War II proved costly for the joined American and Filipino Forces as the Japanese captured over 60,000 soldiers and forced to walk 97 km to Camp O'Donnell. It was characterized by occasional severe physical abuse as over 20,00 POW died during the march. The Americans in the photograph, obvious victims of physical abuse and neglect, were one of the soldiers that survived the "Death March".
With the Japanese losing the Pacific Theatre, the Americans pushed harder to finish the war and drive the Japanese out of the country. Manila, the country's capital, was obliterated from bombings by both American and Japanese forces. Manila was later on liberated though was the second most destroyed city in the world after Warsaw
The Filipino people, longed for their freedom from any foreign ruling power, was finally given their full independence on July 4, 1946 by the United States. It is very clear that the locals were very ecstatic during the inauguration celebration as for the first time since 1521, the Philippines will under a local government without any obstruction from foreign power.
This diorama represents the celebration of the Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 as the American finally recognizes The Repoublic of The Philippines as an independent. The lowering of the American flag signifies the end of the American conquest in the Philippine Island while the raising of the new local flag represents the long-awaited freedom from foreign power in which the Filipino people can finally reign over their own land.
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