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Philippine History Timeline

About 25,000 B.C.

The ancestors of the Philippines' aboriginal inhabitantsthe Negritos or Aetacome from the Asian mainland, crossing shallow seas and land bridges. (Archaeological evidence suggests that the Philippines may have been inhabited many thousands of years before then, but that can't be stated with certainty. The oldest human fossil found so far is 22,000 years old.)

About 3000 B.C. About 200 B.C. 1300s A.D. 1521 1542

New inhabitants come from Indonesia. This is repeated around 1000 B.C.

The first of several waves of Malayan settlers arrives from South China.

Extensive trade is being conducted with India, Indonesia, China, and Japan. Arab traders from Indonesia introduce Islam to the Filipinos. Ferdinand Magellan explores the islands now known as the Philippines Spanish military party claims islands for Spain; names them "Philippines" after Prince Philip, later King Philip II of Spain; Philippines becomes part of Spanish Empire Jos Rizal publishes anti-Spanish novel, Noli Me Tangere (The Lost Eden); popularizes independence sentiment



Spanish execute Rizal for instigating insurrection; public outrage spawns rebellion Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War, cedes Philippines to U.S. Filipinos declare their independence; Emilio Aguinaldo leads guerrilla war against U.S. U.S. captures Aquinaldo; William Howard Taft arrives as first U.S. governor of Philippines




Insurrection ends; Taft improves economic conditions, settles disputes over church ownership of land, establishes pensionado program, allowing Filipinos to study in U.S., which helped modernize and westernize the country


U.S. government passes Jones Law establishing elected Filipino legislature with house and senate


U.S. approves Tydings-McDuffie Act promising Philippine independence in 1946; transition to independence begins


Filipino people approve constitution creating Commonwealth of the Philippines with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president Japanese invade Philippines, and defeat Gen. Douglas MacArthur at Bataan and Corregidor; Quezon establishes government in exile Quezon dies; Vice President Sergio Osmea takes presidency; MacArthur reinvades Philippines




MacArthur liberates Manila; Osmea establishes government Philippines becomes independent nation; Manuel Roxas y Acua elected first president


1965 Ferdinand E. Marcos becomes president. 1972 Marcos establishes martial law.
Opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino returns from exile, is slain on arrival at Manila Airport; Benigno's widow Corazon Aguino leads "People Power" protest movement.



Marcos defeats Aquino in a presidential election amid charges of fraud; riots erupt; Marcos flees into exile; Aquino forms new government. Former Gen. Fidel Ramos wins presidential election with Aquino's support; U.S.

1992 turns Subic Bay naval base to Philippine government, ending American military
presence in the country. Philippine government agrees to greater autonomy for southernmost island of Mindanao, where Islamic separatists called Moro National Liberation Front wage guerrilla war.


1997 Philippines escape Asian financial crisis despite series of currency devaluations. 1998 Former movie star Joseph Estrada elected president.
Legislature begins impeachment hearings against Estrada on corruption charges. The hearings are never completed. Public outrage forces Estrada to step down; Vice President Gloria MacapagalArroyo assumes the presidency; Estrada indicted for corruption; rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front agrees to a ceasefire.




U.S. government provides training to Philippine troops fighting the guerilla group Abu Sayyaf, which is believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden; the group's leader, Abu Sabaya, is killed.

2003 Ceasefire with Moro Islamic Liberation Front breaks down, then reinstated;

hundreds of mutinous soldiers demonstrate against the regime. Dozens of mutinous soldiers took over a Manila shopping complex, protesting low pay and demanding the resignation of President Arroyo and the defense secretary. The demonstration ended peacefully.

Presidential election takes place on May 10; Arroyo's closest rival is film star Fernando Poe, Jr., a friend of Estrada. President Arroyo narrowly defeated Poe, taking 39.5% of the vote to his 36.6%, according to the unofficial count.

Angelo dela Cruz, a truck driver kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents, released on July 10 after Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo accedes to kidnappers' demands and pulls troops from Iraq. He had been held for two weeks.

In March, police kill three top members of Abu Sayyaf while quelling a prison uprising in Manila. In all, 22 people, including 20 prisoners and two guards, die in the violence. A week after the operation, police arrest a suspected Islamic militant who they believe was planning a retaliatory bomb attack on Manila over Easter weekend.

2005 Members of the opposition call for the resignation of President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo in June, after she admitted to calling an election official during 2004's presidential race. A taped phone conversation between Arroyo and an election commisisoner seems to suggest that she had tried to use her power to influence the outcome. The opposition filed an impeachment motion in July.

A mudslide in February leveled the town of Guinsaugon and killed about 1,800 of its 1,857 residents. Arroyo declared a state of emergency in February, saying the government had foiled an attempted coup by the military. She also banned rallies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. Some observers, however, dismissed the report of the coup attempt as political maneuvering to gain support and weaken the opposition. On June 24, President Arroyo announced the abolition of the death penalty. On June 26, opponents of President Arroyo filed a new impeachment complaint,


alleging corruption and human rights abuses.

In September 2007, former president Joseph Estrada was convicted of corruption and senteced to life in prison.

2007 The government said in November that it had reached a deal with the separatist
Moro National Liberation Front that set boundaries for a Muslim homeland on the southern island of on Mindanao.


In May, Benigno S. Aquino III is elected president during the first automated national elections in the Philippines.