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Philippines History


American Colony and Philippine Commonwealth (1901-1941)

In 1902 the United States passed the Philippine Organic Act, which established a government consisting of a bicameral legislature, and appointed a Governor-General as the chief executive of the Philippines. The first elections to the Philippine assembly were held in 1907; the Nacionalista Party, headed by Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmena, won the election and would dominate Philippine electoral politics until World War II. In 1935, the Philippines were granted commonwealth status. The new Philippine Constitution of 1935 called for the creation of a judicial branch and an elected president.

The United States established a system of universal education based on the American model; English was the primary language of instruction. Rates of literacy increased dramatically, and there were significant improvements in public health during the period of American administration. Improvements in infrastructure and communications were also dramatic. Critics, however, point out that while the country's landed elites benefited greatly from American rule, little was done to address the problems of the peasant masses. The most common arrangement for tenant farmers was a sharecropping system, which often left cultivators deeply in debt. In addition, improvements in public health had led to a dramatic increase in population, thus putting additional economic pressure on tenant farmers' ability to support their families. The failure to enact significant social changes or land reform became a recurrent cause of violent discontent, revolt and insurrection.

Manuel Quezon

cy: One Rupee

Pre-Colonial Period (23,000 BC - 1519 AD)

Spanish Colonization (1521 - 1898)

The Philippine-American War (1899-1902)

American Colony and Philippine Commonwealth (1901-1941)

The Japanese Occupation and Filipino Resistance (1941 - 1945)

Independence and Constitutional Government (1945 - 1972)

Martial Law and Aftermath (1972 - 1983)

The People's Power Movement (1983 - 1986)

Return to Democracy (1986 - present)