As early as 50,000 BC Homo sapiens have existed on the Palawan Island based on archeological and paleontological evidences. The Australo-Melanesian natives, also called “Negritos” are believed to arrive in the Philippines some 33,000 years ago.
During the 9th and 12th centuries, the Philippines have begun trading with China, Japan, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. By the 13th century, Islam is already a recognized religion specifically in the Mindanao region. The rest of the archipelago is a mixture of Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. The historical voyage of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the Visayan Islands paved the way for the religion Christianity and colonization of the Philippines as well. Philip II of Spain demanded more expeditions until Manila was declared capital of the new Spanish colony. For more than 300 years, Philippines was under Spanish rule.
In the late 18th century, different revolutionary movements took place. Local citizens are starting to resist the Spanish government. Revolutionaries insist independence and have emerged to become the nation’s heroes such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, and many more. The Philippines may have achieved its freedom from the Spaniards but the Americans soon dissolved the newly formed government. The effects of the World War II made it more difficult for the Filipinos to regain peace and stability especially after the Japanese invasion. In July of 1946, the Philippines was granted independence from the United States.
After the centuries of occupation by foreign nations, the Philippines have struggled for decades to regain its economic and political stability. Historical personalities such as the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and People Power Revolution heroine Corazon Aquino have made their marks. The current Arroyo administration has been significantly recognized in providing economic improvements though haunted by various corruption and social issues.