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II. The Philippine Geography: An Overviewa.HistoryA Brief History of the Early PhilippinesThe Philippines is named after King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598) and it was a Spanish colony for over 300 years.Today the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,000 islands. However it is believed that during the last ice age they were joined to mainland Asia by a land bridge, enabling human beings to walk from there.The first people in the Philippines were hunter-gatherers. However between 3,000BC and 2,000 BC people learned to farm. They grew rice and domesticated animals. From the 10th AD century Filipinos traded with China and by the 12th Century AD Arab merchants reached the Philippines and they introduced Islam.Then in 1521 Ferdinand Magellan sailed across the Pacific. He landed in the Philippines and claimed them for Spain. Magellan baptized a chief called Humabon and hoped to make him a puppet ruler on behalf of the Spanish crown. Magellan demanded that other chiefs submit to Humabon but one chief named Lapu Lapu refused. Magellan led a force to crush him. However the Spanish soldiers were scattered and Magellan was killed.The Spaniards did not gain a foothold in the Philippines until 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi led an expedition, which built a fort in Cebu. Later, in 1571 the Spaniards landed in Luzon. Here they built the city of Intramuros (later called Manila), which became the capital of the Philippines. Spanish conquistadors marched inland and conquered Luzon. They created a feudal system. Spaniards owned vast estates worked by Filipinos.Along with conquistadors went friars who converted the Filipinos to Catholicism. The friars also built schools and universities.The Spanish colony in the Philippines brought prosperity - for the upper class anyway! Each year the Chinese exported goods such as silk, porcelain and lacquer to the Philippines. From there they were re-exported to Mexico.The years passed uneventfully in the Philippines until in 1762 the British capturedManila. They held it for two years but they handed it back in 1764 under the terms of theTreaty of Paris, signed in 1763.
b.Philippine GeographyThe Republic of the Philippines, a nation of 7,107 islands with a total area of 111,830 square miles (307,055 square kilometers), is located on the Pacific Rim of Southeast Asia. Two thousand of its islands are inhabited. Luzon, the largest island with one-third of the land and half the population, is in the north. Mindanao, the second largest island, isin the south. The Philippines are 1,152 miles (1,854 kilometers) long from north to south. The width is 688 miles (1,107 kilometers). There are no land boundaries; the country is bordered on the west by the South China Sea, on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the south by the Celebes Sea, and on the north by the Luzon Strait, which separates the country from its nearest neighbor, Taiwan. The closest nations to the south are Malaysia and Indonesia. Vietnam and China are the nearest neighbors on the mainland of Asia.