Andrés Novales

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For the municipality, see Novales.
Andrés Novales
Born 1800
Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died June 2, 1823(1823-06-02)
Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Allegiance Spain
Years of service 1814–1823
Rank Captain

Andrés Novales (Manila, 1800–1823) was a Creole captain in the Spanish Army in the Philippines.

His discontentment with the treatment of creole soldiers led him to start a revolt in 1823 that inspired even the ranks of José Rizal. He successfully captured Intramuros and was proclaimed Emperor of the Philippines by his followers. However, he was defeated within the day by Spanish reinforcements from Pampanga.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Novales' father was a captain of the Spanish Army, while his mother was born to a prominent family in the Philippines. He became a cadet at the age of nine and a lieutenant at fourteen. When he heard of an existing war between Spain and France, he sought his senior officer's consent to send him to Madrid. Despite being demoted to a volunteer soldier with no rank after arriving in Spain, he returned to the Philippines with the rank of captain.[2] His zeal for service had not waned, earning him the envy and ire of other military officers – something which Governor-General Juan Antonio Martínez later usde against Novales.

Novales Revolt[edit]

Novales' discontent with the way Spanish authorities treated creoles later grew, reaching its climax when peninsulars were shipped to the Philippines to replace creole officers. He found sympathy of many Creoles, including Luis Rodríguez Varela, the Conde Filipino. As punishment for this dissent, many military officers and public officials were exiled, including Novales, who was exiled to Mindanao to fight pirates. Undeterred, he secretly returned to Manila.[1]

On the night of June 1, 1823, Novales along with a certain sub-lieutenant Ruiz and other subordinates in the King's Regiment, went out to start a revolt.[2][3] Along with 800 Filipinos in which his sergeants recruited, they seized the Governor-General's Palace, the Manila Cathedral, the city's cabildo (city hall) and other important government buildings in Intramuros.

Failing to find Juan Antonio Martínez, they killed the lieutenant governor and former governor general, Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras. Folgueras was the one that suggested Spain to replace creole officers with peninsulars.[1] The soldiers shouted ¡Viva el Emperador Novales! ( ("Long live the Emperor Novales!"). Surprisingly, the townsfolk followed Novales and his troops as they marched into Manila. They eventually failed to seize Fort Santiago because Andrés' brother Mariano, who commanded the citadel, refused to open its gates. Authorities rushed soldiers to the fort upon learning that it was still holding out against the rebels. Novales himself was caught hiding under the Puerta Real by Spanish soldiers.

At 5:00 pm of June 2, Novales, Ruiz, and 21 sergeants were executed by firing squad in a garden near Puerta del Postigo. In his last minutes, Novales declared that he and his comrades shall set an example of fighting for freedom. Mariano was initially to be executed as well for being Andrés' brother, but the crowd pleaded for his freedom with the argument that he had saved the government from being overthrown. Mariano received a monthly pension of 14, but went mad after the execution.[2][4]


Novales was a self-proclaimed emperor, and his revolution lasted only a day. His fight for equality and freedom, however, set ablaze a series of other uprisings that eventually led to the formation of the Philippines as a nation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila,My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc. 
  2. ^ a b c John Scott, John Taylor. The London Magazine, Volume 14. pp. 512–516. 
  3. ^ Struggle for Freedom 2008 Edition. p. 106. 
  4. ^
Regnal titles
New title Emperor of the Philippines
June 1, 1823
Succeeded by
(Title abolished)
Title restored in 1925 by Florencio Intrencherado