Map of the Philippines showing Negros in red
|Location||South East Asia|
|Area||13,328.4 km2 (5,146.12 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,435 m (7,989 ft)|
|Province||Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental|
|Largest city||Bacolod (pop. 511,820)|
|Population||4,194,525 (as of 2010)|
|Density||315 /km2 (816 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Visayan (Hiligaynon, Cebuano)|
Negros (Tagalog pronunciation: [ˈneɡros]) is an island of the Philippines located in the Visayas. It is the third largest island in the country, with a land area of 13,328 square kilometres (5,146 sq mi). Inhabitants of the island are called Negrenses.
Politically and linguistically, Negros is divided into two provinces: Negros Oriental in the Central Visayas region and Negros Occidental, part of the Western Visayas region. This division of the island, which roughly follows the mountain range in the center of the island, corresponds to the two ethno-linguistic groups. The western part (Occidental) is where the Ilonggo or Hiligaynon-speaking Negrenses are located, and the eastern portion (Oriental) is home to the Cebuano-speaking population.
The island is further subdivided into 19 cities (18 component cities and 1 highly urbanized city) and 38 municipalities. Chief cities on the island are Bacolod in Negros Occidental and Dumaguete in Negros Oriental.
Negros is noted for being the country's prime producer of sugar. Sugar cane plantations abound in the agricultural areas of the island.The island also produces cotton.
Kanlaon Volcano in the northern part of the island is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, and overlooks Bacolod. It is the highest peak on the island as well as of all the Visayas region. Other notable peaks on the island are Mt Silay and Mt Mandalagan in Negros Occidental, and Cuernos de Negros in Negros Oriental.
The volcanic activity in Negros is harvested into electricity through two geothermal power plants in the island. One is located in Palinpinon, Negros Oriental, and the other, to open in 2007, is in Mailum, Negros Occidental.
Negros Island was originally called Buglas – an old Hiligaynon word thought to mean "cut off." It is believed that Negros was once part of a greater mass of land, but was cut off by rising waters during the Ice age. Among its earliest inhabitants were dark-skinned natives belonging to the Ati, one of several indigenous Negrito ethnic groups dispersed throughout Asia, who had a unique culture.
Thus, the Spaniards called the land Negros after the black natives they saw on their arrival on the island in April 1565. Two of the earliest native settlements, Binalbagan and Ilog, became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively. Other settlements were Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan), and Candaguit (a sitio of San Enrique). In 1572 the Spanish King Philip II conferred the title of Marques de Buglas to the heirs of Juan Sebastián Elcano. The 17th and current Marques resides in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
After appointing encomenderos for the island, Miguel López de Legazpi placed Negros under the jurisdiction of the governor of Oton on Panay. In 1734, however, the island became a military district and Ilog was made its first capital. The seat of government was later transferred to Himamaylan until Bacolod became the capital in 1849.
In 1890, the island was divided into Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. On April 9, 1901, the Second Philippine Commission under the Chairmanship of William H. Taft, arrived in Dumaguete. On May 1, 1901, the civil government under American rule was established. On August 28, of the same year Dr. David S. Hibbard founded Silliman Institute now Silliman University with the help of Meliton Larena the first town mayor of Dumaguete & Hon Demetrio Larena.
From November 3 to November 6, 1898, the Negrenses rose in revolt against the Spanish authorities headed by politico-military governor Colonel Isidro de Castro. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing armed troops marching in a pincer movement towards Bacolod. The revolutionaries, led by General Juan Araneta from Bago and General Aniceto Lacson from Talisay, were actually carrying fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of November 6, Colonel de Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, thus ending Spanish rule in Negros Occidental. This event is commemorated in Negros Occidental every November 5 as the day the Negrenses bluffed the Spaniards to attain their freedom.
For a detailed article on this event, see Negros Revolution.
On November 27, 1898, the Cantonal Republic of Negros was established. It came under U.S. protection on April 30, 1899. On July 22, 1899, it was renamed the Republic of Negros (República de Negros), but on April 30, 1901, this was dissolved by the United States.
The leaders of the short-lived republic were:
- Aniceto Lacson, November 5, 1898 – July 22, 1899 (to November 27, 1898, in Negros Occidental)
- Demetrio Larena, November 24, 1898 – November 27, 1898 (in Negros Oriental)
- President of the Constituent Assembly José Luzuriaga, July 22, 1899 – November 6, 1899
- Secretary of War Juan Araneta
- Civil Governor Melecio Severino, November 6, 1899 – April 30, 1901
- Secretary of Justice Antonio Ledesma Jayme, July 24, 1854 – October 9, 1937
- "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". National Statistics Office of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- World Statesmen - Philippines - Republic of Negros
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Negros Island.|
- Official Website of the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental
- Official Website of the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental