By Augusto V. de Viana
Given the benefit of hindsight, we could stretch
our imagination on what the country could have been if history had
taken a different turn. Could it have been for the better or worse?
What if the Philippines became a German colony?
The Philippines would have been a German colony
had a second battle of Manila Bay taken place in 1898. After
defeating the Spanish fleet on May 1, 1898, US Rear Admiral George
Dewey ordered a blockade of Manila. Other countries like Japan,
Great Britain, France and Germany sent naval vessels to protect
their nationals and interests in the country. The German squadron
under Vice Admiral Otto Von Diederichs, which consisted of five
warships and two auxiliaries, outnumbered the Americans.
One ship alone, the transport Darmstadt, carried
1,400 men, nearly the number of Dewey’s men. The Germans violated
Dewey’s blockade of Manila by supplying flour to the trapped
Spaniards and Spanish ladies and residents were treated aboard the
German vessels. German officers also visited Spanish and Filipino
outposts. At one time the German warship Irene interfered with the
landing of Filipino troops on Grande Island in Zambales that Dewey
had to send the cruiser Concord. On seeing the American warship the
German vessel quietly left Subic Bay.
At that time Germany was looking for new
territories to colonize. It had acquired the eastern half of New
Guinea in 1873 and half of Samoa in 1889. In 1876 a German resident
of Jolo, Captain Hermann Leopold Schuck, asked Germany to intervene
on behalf of the Sultan of Sulu. The sultanate at that time was
being attacked by Spanish forces.
The Germans continued to violate the blockade.
They took soundings off Malabon and at the mouth of the Pasig River.
Von Diederichs himself landed at Manila and occupied one of the
quarters of the Spanish officers. The German soldiers occupied the
lighthouse of Manila and some of them landed in Mariveles and
They also irritated Dewey by sending a launch
one night at 11 p.m. to deliver an unimportant message.
To be continued