Military history of the Philippines

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The military history of the Philippines is characterized by wars between Philippine kingdoms and its neighbors in the precolonial era and then a period of struggle against colonial powers such as Spain and the United States, occupation by the Empire of Japan during World War II and participation in Asian conflicts post-World War II such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Philippines has also battled a communist insurgency and a secessionist movement by Muslims in the southern portion of the country.

Prehistoric period (before 1000 BC – 900 AD)[edit]

Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, descendants of the first human migrations out of Africa via the coastal route along southern Asia to the now sunken landmasses of Sundaland and Sahul area around 48,000 to 5000 BC.[1] The first Austronesians reached the Philippines at around 2200 BC, settling the Batanes Islands and northern Luzon.[2][3] From there, they rapidly spread downwards to the rest of the islands of the Philippines. They assimilated earlier Negritos that arrived during the Paleolithic, resulting in the modern Filipino ethnic groups that all display various ratios of genetic admixture between Austronesian and Negrito groups.[4]

By 1000 BC, the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago had developed into four distinct kinds of peoples: tribal groups, such as the Aetas, Ilongots and the Mangyan who depended on hunter-gathering and were concentrated in forests; warrior societies, such as the Isneg and Kalinga who practiced social ranking and ritualized warfare and roamed the plains; the petty plutocracy of the Ifugao Cordillera Highlanders, who occupied the mountain ranges of Luzon; and the harbor principalities of the estuarine civilizations such as the Tagalogs, Visayans, Taūsugs, Maranaos and the Maguindanaons that grew along rivers and seashores while participating in trans-island maritime trade.[5] It was also during the first millennium BC that early metallurgy was said to have reached the archipelagos of maritime Southeast Asia via trade with India.[6][7]

Archaeological findings dating from prehistoric eras have discovered a variety of stone and metal weaponry, such as axes, arrows and spearheads. Usually used for hunting, they also allowed tribes to battle with each other. Some more elaborate bronze pieces, such as axes and swords, were also part of the native weaponry. The making of swords involved elaborate rituals that were based mainly on the auspicious conjunctions of planets. The passage of the sword from the maker entailed a mystical ceremony that was coupled with tribal beliefs.[8] The lowlanders of Luzon use the kampilan, bararao and panabas, while the Moros and animists of the South still continue the tradition of making kris.

Pre-colonial period (900 AD to 1565)[edit]

Ma-i and Bruneian alliance against China[edit]

By the 800s, British Historian Robert Nicholl citing Arab chronicler Al Ya'akubi, had written that on those years, the kingdoms of Muja (Then Pagan Brunei/Vijayapura) and Mayd (Ma-i) waged war against the Chinese Empire.[9]

Champa-Sulu War[edit]

The Chams who migrated to Sulu were called Orang Dampuan.[10] [11] The Champa Civilization and the port-kingdom of Sulu engaged in commerce with each other which resulted in merchant Chams settling in Sulu where they were known as Orang Dampuan from the 10th–13th centuries. The Orang Dampuan were slaughtered by envious native Sulu Buranuns due to the wealth of the Orang Dampuan.[12] The Buranun were then subjected to retaliatory slaughter by the Orang Dampuan. Harmonious commerce between Sulu and the Orang Dampuan was later restored.[13] The Yakans were descendants of the Taguima-based Orang Dampuan who came to Sulu from Champa.[14] Sulu received civilization in its Indic form from the Orang Dampuan.[15]

Visayan Raids against China[edit]

A Visayan kadatuan (royal) and his wife wearing red, the distinctive color of their class. He is wielding a golden sword.

Antecedent to this raids, sometime between A.D. 1174 and 1190, a traveling Chinese government bureaucrat Chau Ju-Kua reported that a certain group of "ferocious raiders of China's Fukien coast" which he called the "Pi-sho-ye", believed to have lived on the southern part of Formosa.[16]

In A.D. 1273, another work written by Ma Tuan Lin, which came to the knowledge of non-Chinese readers through a translation made by the Marquis D'Hervey de Saint-Denys, gave reference to the Pi-sho-ye raiders, thought to have originated from the southern portion of Formosa. However, the author observed that these raiders spoke a different language and had an entirely different appearance (presumably when compared to the inhabitants of Formosa). Some scholars have put forth the theory that the Pi-sho-ye were actually people from the Visayas islands.[16] Furthermore, Boholano oral legends say that people from the Kedatuan of Dapitan were the ones that lead the raids on China.[17]

Resistance movements by Madja-as[edit]

According to local Filipino oral legends which is placed later than the written Chinese version records, the Kedatuan of Madja-as (c. 1200–1569) was founded following a civil war in collapsing Srivijaya, wherein loyalists of the Malay datus of Srivijaya defied the invading Chola dynasty and its puppet-Rajah, called Makatunao, and set up a remnant state in the islands of the Visayas. Its founding datu, Puti, had purchased land for his new realms from the aboriginal Ati hero, Marikudo.[18] Madja-as was founded on Panay island (named after the destroyed state of Pannai and settled by its descendants. Pannai was a constituent state of Srivijaya which was located in Sumatra and Pannai housed a Buddhist Monastic-Army that successfully defended the Strait of Malacca, the world's busiest maritime trading choke-point, which was surrounded by 3 most populous nations in the world then; China, India and Indonesia, yet they held the territory against all odds for 727 years). The people of Madja-as, descendants of loyalist Visayans from Pannai and Borneo who rebeled against a Chola occupation and Majapahit invasion then conducted resistance movements against the Hindu and Islamic invaders that arrived from the west from their new home-base in the Visayas islands.[19]

Madja-as sack of Brunei[edit]

According to Augustinian Friar, Rev. Fr. Santaren, Datu Macatunao or Rajah Makatunao is the “sultan of the Moros,” and a relative of Datu Puti[20] who seized the properties and riches of the ten datus. The Bornean warriors Labaodungon and Paybare, after learning of this injustice from their father-in-law Paiburong, Datu of Iloilo, sailed to Odtojan in Borneo where Makatunaw ruled. The warriors sacked the city, killed Makatunaw and his family, retrieved the stolen properties of the 10 datus, enslaved the remaining population of Odtojan, and sailed back to Panay. Labaw Donggon and his wife, Ojaytanayon, later settled in a place called Moroboro. Afterwards there are descriptions of various towns founded by the datus in Panay and southern Luzon.[20]

War between Sulu and Majapahit[edit]

In the mid 14th century, the Majapahit empire mentioned in its manuscript Nagarakretagama Canto 14, written by Prapanca in 1365, that the area of Solot (Sulu) was part of the empire.[21][22] Nagarakretagama was composed as a eulogy for their emperor Hayam Wuruk.[23] However, Chinese sources then report that in 1369, the Sulus regained independence and in vengeance, assaulted Majapahit and its province, Po-ni (Brunei), looting it of treasure and gold. A fleet from the Majapahit capital succeeded in driving away the Sulus, but Po-ni was left weaker after the attack. The Majapahit Empire, attempted to reconquer the kingdoms of Sulu and Manila but they were permanently repulsed.[24]

War between the Maguindanao and Cebu[edit]

During the early 1400s, Rajamuda Sri Lumay, a Chola dynasty prince who rebeled against the Cholas and sided with his Malay subjects established an independent Tamil-Malay Indianized kingdom in Cebu called the Rajahnate of Cebu, he established his country by waging scorched earth tactics against raiders from Mindanao mainly against the Sultanate of Maguindanao. War between Maguindanao and Cebu lasted until the Spanish era.[25]

Collection of Philippine lantaka in a European museum

Brunei's invasion of Tondo, incorporation of Sulu and establishment of Manila[edit]

The Battle of Manila (1500s) was fought in Manila between citizens of the Kingdom of Tondo led by their Lakan, Sukwu and the soldiers of the Sultanate of Brunei led by Sultan Bolkiah the singing captain. The aftermath of the battle was the formation of an alliance between the newly established Kingdom of Maynila (Selurong) and the Sultanate of Brunei, to crush the power of the Kingdom of Tondo and the subsequent installation of the Pro-Islamic Rajah Sulaiman into power. Furthermore, Sultan Bolkiah's victory over Sulu and Seludong (modern day Manila),[26] as well as his marriages to Laila Mecanai the daughter of Sulu Sultan Amir Ul-Ombra (an uncle of Sharifa Mahandun married to Nakhoda Angging or Maharaja Anddin of Sulu), and to the daughter of Datu Kemin, widened Brunei's influence in the Philippines.[27]

Territorial conflict between Manila and Tondo[edit]

According to the account of Rajah Matanda as recalled by Magellan expedition members Gines de Mafra, Rodrigo de Aganduru Moriz, and expedition scribe Antonio Pigafetta, Maynila had a territorial conflict with Tondo in the years before 1521.

At the time, Rajah Matanda's mother (whose name was not mentioned in the accounts) served as the paramount ruler of the Maynila polity, taking over from Rajah Matanda's father (also unnamed in the accounts), who had died when Rajah Matanda was still very young. Rajah Matanda, then simply known as the "Young Prince" Ache, was raised alongside his cousin, who was ruler of Tondo – presumed by some to be a young Bunao Lakandula, although not specifically named in the accounts.

During this time, Ache realized that his cousin, who was ruler of the Tondo polity, was "slyly" taking advantage of Ache's mother by taking over territory belonging to Maynila. When Ache asked his mother for permission to address the matter, his mother refused, encouraging the young prince to keep his peace instead. Prince Ache could not accept this and thus left Maynila with some of his father's trusted men, to go to his "grandfather", the Sultan of Brunei, to ask for assistance. The Sultan responded by giving Ache a position as commander of his naval force.

In 1521, Prince Ache was coming fresh from a military victory at the helm of the Bruneian navy and was supposedly on his way back to Maynila with the intent of confronting his cousin when he came upon and attacked the remnants of the Magellan expedition, then under the command of Sebastian Elcano. Some historians[28] suggest that Ache's decision to attack must have been influenced by a desire to expand his fleet even further as he made his way back to Lusong and Maynila, where he could use the size of his fleet as leverage against his cousin, the ruler of Tondo.

Battle of Mactan[edit]

The Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521, is celebrated as the earliest reported resistance[dubious ] of the natives in the Philippines against western invaders.[according to whom?] Lapu-Lapu, a Chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Christian European explorers led by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.[29][30]

On March 16, 1521, the island of Samar was sighted. The following morning, March 17, Magellan landed on the island of Homonhon.[31][32] He parleyed with Rajah Calambu of Limasawa, who guided him to Cebu Island on April 7. With the aid of Magellan's Malay interpreter, Enrique, Rajah Humabon of Cebu and his subjects converted to Christianity and became allies. Suitably impressed by Spanish firearms and artillery, Rajah Humabon suggested that Magellan project power to cow Lapu-Lapu, who was being belligerent against his authority.

Magellan deployed 49 armored men, less than half his crew, with crossbows and guns, but could not anchor near land because the island is surrounded by shallow coral bottoms and thus unsuitable for the Spanish galleons to get close to shore. His crew had to wade through the surf to make a landing and the ship was too far to support them with artillery. Antonio Pigafetta, a supernumerary on the voyage who later returned to Seville, Spain, records that Lapu-Lapu had at least 1500 warriors in the battle. During the battle, Magellan was wounded in the leg, while still in the surf. As the crew were fleeing to the boats, Pigafetta recorded that Magellan covered their retreat, turning at them on several occasions to make sure they were getting away, and was finally surrounded by a multitude of warriors and killed. The total toll was of eight crewmen killed on Magellan's side against an unknown number of casualties from the Mactan natives.

The Kedatuan of Dapitan vs the Ternate and Lanao Sultanates[edit]

Kampilan Swords in Display

By 1563, before the full Spanish colonization agenda came to Bohol, the Kedatuan of Dapitan was at war with the Sultanate of Ternate, a Papuan speaking Muslim state in the Moluccas, which was also raiding the Rajahnate of Butuan. At the time, Dapitan was ruled by two brothers named Dalisan and Pagbuaya. The Ternateans at the time were allied to the Portuguese. Dapitan was destroyed by Ternateans and Datu Dalisan was killed in battle. His brother, Datu Pagbuaya, together with his people fled to Mindanao and established a new Dapitan in the northern coast of the Zamboanga peninsula and displaced its Muslim natives. In the process, waging war against the Sultanate of Lanao and conquering territories from the Sultanate.[17]

Lucoes Mercenary Activity[edit]

Due to the conflict-ridden nature of the Philippine archipelago, warriors were forged in the many wars in the islands, thus the islands acquired a reputation for its capable mercenaries, which were soon employed all across Southeast Asia with some influence even manifested in East Asia at Japan where Lucoes sailors initially guided Portuguese ships to the Shogunate[33] and even South Asia in Sri Lanka where Lungshanoid pottery from Luzon were found in burials there.[34] Lucoes (warriors from Luzon) aided the Burmese king in his invasion of Siam in 1547 AD. At the same time, Lusung warriors fought alongside the Siamese king and faced the same elephant army of the Burmese king in the defense of the Siamese capital at Ayuthaya.[35] The former sultan of Malacca decided to retake his city from the Portuguese with a fleet of ships from Lusung in 1525 AD.[a]

Pinto noted that there were a number of them in the Islamic fleets that went to battle with the Portuguese in the Philippines during the 16th century. The Sultan of Aceh gave one of them (Sapetu Diraja) the task of holding Aru (northeast Sumatra) in 1540. Pinto also says one was named leader of the Malays remaining in the Moluccas Islands after the Portuguese conquest in 1511.[37] Pigafetta notes that one of them was in command of the Brunei fleet in 1521.[35] One famous Lucoes is Regimo de Raja, who was appointed by the Portuguese at Malacca as Temenggung (Jawi: تمڠݢوڠ[38]) or Supreme Governor and Chief General. The Lucoes were so commercially and militarily influential that the Portuguese soldier Joao de Barros considered them, "the most warlike and valiant of these parts."[39] Yet among themselves the Lucoes were not united and the Portuguese soldier, Mendes Pinto noted that Muslim and Non-Muslim Lucoes rivaled each other.[37]

Spanish colonial period (1565–1898)[edit]

Early Spanish Conquest[edit]

Major Revolts (1567–1872)[edit]

Moro campaign (1569–1898)[edit]

  • Battle of Cebu (1569)
  • Spanish-Moro Incident (1570)
  • Jolo Jihad (1578–1580)
  • Cotabato Revolt (1597)
  • Spanish-Moro Incident (1602)
  • Basilan Revolt (1614)
  • Kudarat Revolt (1625)
  • Battle of Jolo (1628)
  • Sulu Revolt (1628)
  • Lanao Lamitan Revolt (1637)
  • Battle of Punta Flechas (1638)
  • Sultan Bungsu Revolt (1638)
  • Mindanao Revolt (1638)
  • Lanao Revolt (1639)
  • Sultan Salibansa Revolt (1639)
  • Corralat Revolt (1649)
  • Spanish-Moro Incident (1876)

Limahong campaign (1574–1576)[edit]

Castilian War (1578)[edit]

Cagayan battles (1582)[edit]

The 1582 Cagayan battles were a series of clashes between the forces of Colonial Philippines led by Captain Juan Pablo de Carrión and wokou (possibly led by Japanese pirates) headed by Tay Fusa. These battles, which took place in the vicinity of the Cagayan River, finally resulted in a Spanish victory.

Cambodian-Spanish War (1593–1597)[edit]

Eighty Years' War (1568–1648)[edit]

Chinese insurrections (1603–1640)[edit]

Seven Years' War (1756–1763)[edit]

Wars in the Americas (1812–1821)[edit]

Cochinchina Campaign (1858–1862)[edit]

Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864)[edit]

  • Some 200-300 Filipinos were recruited by Frederick Townsend Ward as his personal and separate Bodyguard unit under the Ever Victorious Army against the Taiping rebels due to their fighting prowess which they showed during the group’s earlier campaigns. A Filipino and a former consulate policeman Vicente Macanaya became Ward's trusted aide-de-camp and was supposed to have succeeded the American after he died in one battle. However, he was later bypassed for promotion in favor of Charles Gordon, a British soldier.[46][47][48]

Philippine Revolution and Declaration of Independence (1896–1898)[edit]

Philippine Revolution (1896–1898)[edit]

The Philippine Revolution began in August 1896, upon the discovery of the anti-colonial secret organization Katipunan by the Spanish authorities. The Katipunan, led by Andrés Bonifacio, was a secessionist movement and shadow government spread throughout much of the islands whose goal was independence from Spain through armed revolt. In a mass gathering in Caloocan, the Katipunan leaders organized themselves into a revolutionary government and openly declared a nationwide armed revolution. Bonifacio called for a simultaneous coordinated attack on the capital Manila. This attack failed, but the surrounding provinces also rose up in revolt. In particular, rebels in Cavite led by Emilio Aguinaldo won early victories. A power struggle among the revolutionaries led to Bonifacio's execution in 1897, with command shifting to Aguinaldo who led his own revolutionary government. That year, a truce was officially reached with the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and Aguinaldo was exiled to Hong Kong, though hostilities between rebels and the Spanish government never actually ceased.[49][50]

Spanish–American War (1898)[edit]

The first battle in the Philippine theater was in Manila Bay, where, on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey, commanding the United States Asiatic Squadron aboard the USS Olympia, in a matter of hours, defeated the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón. Dewey's force sustaining only a single casualty—a heart attack aboard one of his vessels.

After the battle, Dewey blockaded Manila and provided transport for Emilio Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines from exile in Hong Kong. Aguinaldo arrived on May 19 and, after assuming command of Filipino forces on May 24, initiated land campaigns against the Spanish. After the Battle of Manila on the morning of August 13, 1898 (a mock battle between U.S. and Spanish forces), the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes, surrendered Manila to U.S. forces under Dewey.

On June 12, 1898, with the country still under Spanish sovereignty, Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine independence from Spain, under a dictatorial government then being established. The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared and written in Spanish by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who read it at the proclamation ceremony. The Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The insurgent dictatorial government was replaced on June 23 by an insurgent revolutionary government headed by Aguinaldo as president. The government included a Department of War and Public Works under which was placed the Army of Liberation of the Philippines, a volunteer army to be organized as soon as possible.[51]

The Spanish–American War was formally concluded on December 10, 1898, by the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain. In that treaty, Spain ceded the Philippine Archipelago to the United States, and the United States agreed to pay US$20,000,000 to the Spanish government.[52] The United States then exercised sovereignty over the Philippines. The insurgent First Philippine Republic was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899.

American colonial period (1899–1941) and Japanese occupation (1942–1945)[edit]

Philippine–American War (1899–1913)[edit]

The Philippine–American War[b] was a conflict between the United States and the First Philippine Republic from 1899 through at least 1902, when the Filipino leadership generally accepted American rule. A Philippine Constabulary organized in 1901 to deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement and gradually assumed the responsibilities of the United States Army. Skirmishes between government troops and armed groups lasted until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions part of the war.[53]

World War I (1914–1918)[edit]

In 1917 the Philippine Assembly created the Philippine National Guard with the intent to join the American Expeditionary Force. By the time it was absorbed into the National Army it had grown to 25,000 soldiers. However, these units did not see action. The first Filipino to die in World War I was Private Tomas Mateo Claudio who served with the U.S. Army as part of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe. He died in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France on June 29, 1918.[54][55] The Tomas Claudio Memorial College in Morong Rizal, Philippines, which was founded in 1950, was named in his honor.[56]

Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)[edit]

During the Spanish Civil War, Filipino volunteers fought for both sides in the war. Over 1,000 volunteers from other nations served in the Nationalist forces, including Filipino Mestizos, Britons, Finns, Norwegians, Swedes, White Russians, Haitians, Welsh People, Americans, Mexicans, Belgians, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Belgians, Hungarians, Romanians and Turks.[57]

World War II (1939–1945)[edit]

The first Filipino military casualty during the Second World War was serving as an aviator with British forces. First Officer Isidro Juan Paredes of the Air Transport Auxiliary was killed on November 7, 1941, when his aircraft overshot a runway and crashed at RAF Burtonwood. He was buried at Great Sankey (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, but later repatriated to the Philippines.[58] Paredes Air Station in Ilocos Norte, was named in his honor.

World War II Veterans are members of the following:

Related articles:

Korean War (1950–1953)[edit]

The Philippines joined the Korean War in August 1950. The Philippines sent an expeditionary force of around 7,500 combat troops. This was known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea, or PEFTOK. It was the 4th largest force under the United Nations Command then under the command of US General Douglas MacArthur that were sent to defend South Korea from a communist invasion by North Korea which was then supported by Mao Zedong's China and the Soviet Union. The PEFTOK took part in decisive battles such as the Battle of Yultong, Battle of the Imjin River, and the Battle of Hill Eerie. This expeditionary force operated with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division.[59]

Vietnam War (1964–1969)[edit]

The Philippines was involved in the Vietnam War, supporting civil and medical operations. Initial deployment in 1964 amounted to 28 military personnel, including nurses, and 6 civilians. The number of Filipino troops who served in Vietnam swelled to 182 officers and 1,882 enlisted personnel during the period 1966–1968. This force was known as the Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam or PHILCAG-V. Filipino troops withdrew from Vietnam on December 12, 1969.[61][62][63]

EDSA Revolution (February 22–25, 1986)[edit]

On February 22, 1986, former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Vice Chief of Staff and chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) (now the Philippine National Police) Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos withdrew their support for President Ferdinand Marcos and led the EDSA Revolution by Corazon Aquino (Ninoy's widow). On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino was sworm in as the 11th president of the Philippines. Marcos and his family were ousted from power by a combination of the military, people and church members to end the 20-year dictatorship of Marcos.

Persian Gulf War (1990–1991)[edit]

The Philippines sent 200 medical personnel to assist coalition forces in the liberation of Kuwait from the stranglehold of Iraq then led by Saddam Hussein.

Iraq War (2003–2004)[edit]

The Philippines sent 60 medics, engineers and other troops to assist in the invasion of Iraq. The troops were withdrawn on the 14th of July, 2004, in response to the kidnapping of Angelo dela Cruz, a Filipino truck driver. When insurgent demands were met (Filipino troops out of Iraq), the hostage was released. While in Iraq, the troops were under Polish command (Central South Iraq). During that time, several Filipino soldiers were wounded in an insurgent attack, although none died.

Communist rebellion in the Philippines[edit]

Early 1950s to present

Moro conflict[edit]

Late 1960s to present

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The former sultan of Malacca decided to retake his city from the Portuguese with a fleet of ships from Lusung in 1525 AD.[36]
  2. ^ This conflict is also known as the 'Philippine Insurrection'. This name was historically the most commonly used in the U.S., but Filipinos and some American historians refer to these hostilities as the Philippine–American War, and, in 1999, the U.S. Library of Congress reclassified its references to use this term.

References[edit]

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