Map of the Philippines showing Negros in red
|Location||South East Asia|
|Area||13,328.4 km2 (5,146.1 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,435 m (7,989 ft)|
|Province||Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental|
|Largest settlement||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 fourth largest island in the country, with a land area of 12,706 square kilometres (4,906 sq mi). Inhabitants of the island are called Negrenses, the name of the Filipino island means Blacks in the Spanish language
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, although other places in Negros Occidental majorly speak Cebuano.
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 Mount Silay and Mount 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 was originally called Buglas, an old Hiligaynon word thought to mean "cut off", as it is believed that the island was separated from a larger landmass by rising waters during the last ice age. Among its earliest inhabitants were the dark-skinned Ati people, one of several aboriginal Negrito ethnic groups dispersed throughout Asia that possess a unique culture.
Upon arriving on the island in April 1565, the Spanish colonisers called the land Negros after the black natives they observed. Two of the earliest native settlements, Binalbagan and Ilog, became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively, while other settlements of the period included Hinigaran, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Mamalan (now Himamaylan), and Candaguit (a sitio of San Enrique). In 1572, King Philip II of Spain conferred the title of Marques de Buglas to the heirs of Juan Sebastián Elcano; the current Marquis is the 17th in line, and 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 with Ilog as its first capital. The seat of government was later transferred to Himamaylan until Bacolod became the capital in 1849.
In 1890, the island was partitioned into the present-day provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. The Spanish Governor, D. Isidro Castro y Cinceros, surrendered to the Philippine Revolutionists, led by Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta, on 6 Nov. 1898.:520 General Miller appointed Aniceto, Governor of the Island in March 1899.:520 On 9 April 1901, the Second Philippine Commission under the chairmanship of William H. Taft arrived in Dumaguete. Weeks later on 1 May, the civil government under American sovereignty was established, and on 28 August, Dr. David S. Hibbard founded what is now Silliman University, with the help of the first Mayor Dumaguete, Meliton Larena, and The Hon. Demetrio Larena.
From 3 to 6 November 1898, the Negrense people rose in revolt against the local Spanish colonial government 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, bore fake arms consisting of rifles carved out of palm fronds and cannons of rolled bamboo mats painted black. By the afternoon of 6 November, Col. de Castro signed the Act of Capitulation, thus ending centuries of Spanish rule in Negros Occidental.
On 27 November 1898, the Cantonal Republic of Negros unilaterally proclaimed independence, but this was short-lived as the territory became a protectorate of the United States on 30 April 1899. The state was renamed the Republic of Negros (Spanish: República de Negros) on 22 July 1899, and eventually dissolved by the United States and annexed by the U.S. Military Government of the Philippine Islands on 30 April 1901.
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
Negros Island, like the Central Philippines overall, is generally recognized as a top priority area for wildlife conservation, both in terms of numbers of endemic species and severity of threat. More than half of the critically endangered species listed in the Philippines occurs in Negros and the West Visayas. It is the most threatened area of the Philippines, since it has the least remaining forest cover and the highest numbers of severely threatened endemic species and subspecies. Mt. Silay and Mt. Mandalagan are the two mountain peaks in the Northern Negros Natural Park. These mountains have old-growth forests. Threatened species recorded in this area are White-winged cuckoo shrike, Visayan Flowerpecker, Flame-templed babbler, Writhed-billed hornbill, Visayan tarictic hornbill, Rufous-lored kingfisher, Blue napped parrot, Philippine hawk-eagle.
- "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.
- Foreman, J., 1906, The Philippine Islands, A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
- World Statesmen - Philippines - Republic of Negros
- Developing Field Research Priorities in Negros Island (West Visayas, Philippines) with particular reference to key threatened endemic species, September 2008, by Bristol Clifton and West of England Zoological Society Fauna and Flora International – Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Programme Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc.
|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