Monday, February 20, 2012

The Philippine–American War

The Philippine–American War, also known as the Philippine War of Independence or the Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902), was an armed conflict between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries. The conflict arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to gain independence following annexation by the United States. The war was part of a series of conflicts in the Philippine struggle for independence, preceded by the Philippine Revolution and the Spanish–American War.

Fighting erupted between U.S. and Filipino revolutionary forces on February 4, 1899, and quickly escalated into the 1899 Battle of Manila. On June 2, 1899, the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the United States. The war officially ended on July 4, 1902. However, members of the Katipunan society continued to battle the American forces. Among them was General Macario Sacay, a veteran Katipunan member who assumed the presidency of the proclaimed Tagalog Republic, formed in 1902 after the capture of President Aguinaldo. Other groups, including the Moro people and Pulahanes, continued hostilities until their defeat at the Battle of Bud Bagsak on June 15, 1913.

Opposition to the war inspired Mark Twain to found the Anti-Imperialist League on June 15, 1898. The war and occupation by the United States would change the cultural landscape of the islands, as the people dealt with an estimated 34,000–1,000,000 casualties, disestablishment of the Catholic Church as the Philippine state religion (as the United States allowed freedom of religion), and the introduction of the English language as the primary language of government and most businesses. In 1916, the United States promised some self-government, a limited form of which came in 1935. In 1946, following World War II, the United States gave the territory independence through the Treaty of Manila.

On July 7, 1892, Andrés Bonifacio, a warehouseman and clerk from Manila, established the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization which aimed to gain independence from Spanish colonial rule by armed revolt. The Katipunan spread throughout the provinces, and the Philippine Revolution of 1896 was led by its members, called Katipuneros. Fighters in Cavite province won early victories. One of the most influential and popular Cavite leaders was Emilio Aguinaldo, mayor of Cavite El Viejo (modern-day Kawit), who gained control of much of eastern Cavite. Eventually Aguinaldo and his faction gained control of the leadership of the movement. In 1897, Aguinaldo was elected president of an insurgent government while the “outmaneuvered” Bonifacio was executed for treason. Aguinaldo is officially considered the first president of the Philippines.

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