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Philippine History During the Japanese Occupation Essay

Pre-Spanish Times

There are two theories on the origins of the first Filipinos, the inhabitants of what will later be called the Philippine Islands and eventually the Republic of the Philippines. See the Early Inhabitants of the Philippine Islands.

In the beginning of the 3rd century, the inhabitants of Luzon island were in contact and trading with East Asian sea-farers and merchants including the Chinese. In the 1400’s the Japanese also established a trading post at Aparri in Northern Luzon.

In 1380, Muslim Arabs arrived at the Sulu Archipelago and established settlements which became mini-states ruled by a Datu. They introduced Islam in the southern parts of the archipelago including some parts of Luzon and were under the control of the Muslim sultans of Borneo. They had a significant influence over the region for a couple of hundreds years. The Malay Muslims remained dominant in these parts until the 16th century.

Philippine History During the American Era

The Spanish-American war which started in Cuba, changed the history of the Philippines. On May 1, 1898, the Americans led by U.S. Navy Admiral George Dewey, in participation of Emilio Aguinaldo, attacked the Spanish Navy in Manila Bay. Faced with defeat, the Philippines was ceded to the United States by Spain in 1898 after a payment of US$ 20 million to Spain in accordance with the “Treaty of Paris” ending the Spanish-American War. On June 12, 1898, Filipinos led by Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence. This declaration was opposed by the U.S. who had plans of taking over the colony. And this led to a guerrilla war against the Americans.

In 1901, Aguinaldo was captured and declared allegiance to the United States. On the same year, William Howard Taft was appointed as the first U.S. governor of the Philippines. The U.S.passed the Jones Law in 1916 establishing an elected Filipino legislature with a House of representatives & Senate. In 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was passed by the U.S. Congress, established the Commonwealth of the Philippines and promised Philippine independence by 1946. The law also provided for the position of President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. On the May 14, 1935 elections, Manuel L.

Quezon won the position of President of the Philippine Commonwealth.

In accordance with the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, The Philippines was given independence on July 4, 1946 and the Republic of the Philippines was born.

Philippine History During the Japanese Occupation

On December 8, 1941, the Japanese invades the Philippines hours after bombing Pear Harbor in Hawaii. While the forces of Gen. Douglas MacArthur retreated to Bataan, the Commonwealth government of President Quezon moved to Corregidor Island. Manila was declared an open city to prevent further destruction. After the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942 and Corregidor, In March 1942, MacArthur & Quezon fled the country and by invitation of President Roosevelt, the Commonwealth government went into exile to Washington D.C. American and Filipino forces surrendered in May 6, 1942. Soon a guerrilla war against the Japanese was fought by the Philippine & American Armies while Filipinos were enduring the cruelty of the Japanese military against civilians.

Prior to Quezon’s exile, he advised Dr. Jose P. Laurel to head and cooperate with the Japanese civilian government in the hope that the collaboration will lead to a less brutality of the Japanese towards the Filipinos. Rightly or wrongly, President Laurel and his war time government was largely detested by the Filipinos.

In October 1944, Gen. MacArthur with President Sergio Osmeña (who assumed the presidency after Quezon died on August 1, 1944 in exile in Saranac Lake, New York) returned and liberated the Philippines from the Japanese.


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