Timeline of the Philippine–American War

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The Philippine–American War, also known as the Philippine War of Independence or the Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902),[1] was an armed conflict between Filipino revolutionaries and the government of the United States which arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to gain independence following the Philippines being acquired by the United States from Spain.[2][3] This article lists significant events from before, during, and after that war, with links to other articles containing more detail.

Spanish–American War period[edit]

Prewar events[edit]

Prior to the Spanish–American War, the Philippine Revolution against Spain had been suspended by the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. Following on that pact, Emilio Aguinaldo, who had been leader of the Katipunan, went into exile in Hong Kong along with other revolutionary leaders. Some revolutionaries remained in the Philippines and continued the revolution. When the Spanish–American War broke out, American forces sailed for the Philippines and decisively defeated the Spanish Navy. Aguinaldo then returned to the Philippines, and resumed a leadership role in the revolution. As the Spanish–American War continues, Aguinaldo proclaims Philippine independence and establishes an insurgent government.


  • 19 May – Emilio Aguinaldo returns to the Philippines from exile in Hong Kong aboard an American naval vessel[4]
  • 24 May – Aguinaldo issues a proclamation in which he assumed command of all Philippine forces and established a dictatorial government with himself as dictator.[5]
  • 12 June – The Philippine Declaration of Independence is proclaimed by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, its author, on behalf of the Dictatorial Government of the Philippines.
  • 18 June – Aguinaldo, believing the Americans had no intent to occupy the Philippine Islands, issued a decree formally establishing the Dictatorial Government of the Philippines.[6]
  • 23 June – Aguinaldo issues a decree replacing the Dictatorial Government with a Revolutionary Government, with himself as president.[7][8]
  • 25 June – The third of three U.S. expeditions arrives in Manila, bringing U.S. land forces in the country to a total of 10,946 men.[9]
  • 8 August – Eight American soldiers were killed or wounded by the Spanish fire. American officers suspected at the time that the insurgents were informing the Spaniards of the American movements. This was later confirmed by captured insurgent documents.[10]
  • 12 August – The Protocol of Peace is signed in Washington, D.C. between the U.S. and Spain. U.S. President William McKinley directs that "all operations against the enemy be suspended." Word of this will not reach Manila until 16 August.[11]
  • 13 August – In the 1898 Battle of Manila, U.S. forces take possession of the country's capital.[12] At the conclusion of the battle, U.S. forces control the city and Filipino forces remain in the suburbs.[13]
  • 14 August – U.S. Major General Wesley Merritt, at the time commander of U.S. forces in the Philippines, issues a proclamation establishing a military government in the Philippines, designating himself as Governor of the Philippines.[14]
  • 25 August – One American soldier was killed, another mortally wounded and four more slightly wounded in a clash at Cavite between American soldiers and Filipino revolutionaries. Aguinaldo expressed his regret and promised to punish the offenders.[15]
  • 26 September – American and Spanish delegations begin negotiations in Paris on a treaty to end the Spanish–American War.[16]
  • 10 December – The Treaty of Paris is signed in Paris.[17] In Article III of the treaty, Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands.[2]


  • 20 January – Malolos Congress ratifies the Malolos constitution.[18]
  • 21 January – Emilio Aguinaldo sanctions the Malolos Constitution.[18]
  • 22 January – Malolos Constitution is promulgated.[18]
  • 6 February – The U.S. Senate approved the Treaty of Paris by a vote of 52 to 27. President McKinley signed it on that day.[19]
  • 19 March – Spain ratified the Treaty of Paris when the Queen Regent María Cristina signed the agreement to break the impasse of the deadlocked Cortes.[19]

Start and ending dates[edit]

Depending on events chosen to mark the beginning and the end of the war, a number of different start and ending dates can be given. For purposes of this article, the war is considered to have begun on 4 February 1899, and to have ended on 4 July 1902.

Armed conflict erupted in Manila between U.S. and Filipino forces on 4 February 1899. On that date, Emilio Aguinaldo issued a proclamation ordering, in part, "[t]hat peace and friendly relations with the Americans be broken and that the latter be treated as enemies, within the limits prescribed by the laws of war."[20] On 2 June 1899, the Malolos Congress enacted and ratified a Declaration of War on the United States, which was publicly proclaimed on that same day by Pedro Paterno, President of the Assembly.[21]

The ending of the war was not formalized in a treaty by which it can be dated. Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by U.S. forces on 23 March 1901, and swore allegiance to the U.S. on 1 April, appealing to all Filipinos to accept the "sovereignty of the United States ...". Armed conflict continued, however, until the surrender of the last Filipino general on 13 April 1902.[22] On 4 July 1902, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed a full and complete pardon and amnesty to all people in the Philippine archipelago who had participated in the conflict, and that July 4 date is often mentioned as the ending date of the war.[23] On 9 April 2002, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proclaimed that the Philippine–American War had ended on 16 April 1902 with the surrender of General Miguel Malvar.[24]

However, despite these proclamations from the Americans and ilustrado elite, the war continued across the archipelago for over a decade. Bands of guerrillas, millenarian movements and other resistance groups continued to roam the countryside, still clashing with American Army or Philippine Constabulary patrols. American troops and the Philippine Constabulary continued hostilities against such resistance groups until 1913.[25][26] Some other sources describe post-1902 actions in Mindanao as a separate conflict.[27]



  • 4 February – General hostilities erupt between U.S. inside Manila and Filipino forces surrounding the city.
  • 4 February – Emilio Aguinaldo proclaims war on U.S. forces.[20]
  • 5 February – Battle of Manila: the first and largest battle of the Philippine–American War; Americans drive Filipino forces away from Manila.[28]
  • 31 March – American forces capture Malolos, capital of the Philippine Republic on Luzon, driving out Aguinaldo and his government.[29]
  • 9–10 April – Battle of Santa Cruz: U.S. General Henry W. Lawton captures Filipino stronghold of Santa Cruz and pushes into Laguna province on Luzon.[30]
  • 11 April – Battle of Pagsanjan: American sharpshooters skirmish with Filipinos outside of Pagsanjan, succeeding in driving them out. General Lawton's troops take Pagsanjan in the second action of the Laguna Campaign.[31]
  • 12 April – Battle of Paete: General Lawton's forces disperse Filipinos blocking route to Paete in a stiff fight. Paete taken by the Americans. The last action of the Laguna Campaign.[32]
  • 23 April – Battle of Quingua: Filipino General Gregorio del Pilar stops American cavalry scouts on Luzon, but is then routed after an artillery bombardment and infantry ground assault.[33]
  • 2 June – The Malolos Congress of the First Philippine Republic enacted and ratified a Declaration of War on the United States, which was publicly proclaimed on that same day by Pedro Paterno, President of the Assembly.[34]
  • 5 June – Filipino General Antonio Luna assassinated by Aguinaldo's men.[35]
  • 13 June – Battle of Zapote Bridge: Lawton's American forces rout a larger Philippine force under General Maximo Hizon and inflict heavy casualties on the enemy in 2nd largest battle of the Philippine–American War.[36]
  • 11 November – Battle of San Jacinto: American General Loyd Wheaton drives Filipinos out of San Jacinto, Luzon.[37]
  • 13 November – Emilio Aguinaldo decrees that guerrilla warfare would henceforth be the strategy.[38]
  • 2 December – Battle of Tirad Pass: Sixty Filipino soldiers under General Gregorio del Pilar fight off an attack of 500 American soldiers for 5 hours, before nearly all Filipinos are killed, including del Pilar.[39]
  • 19 December – Battle of Paye: For unknown reasons, General Lawton assumed personal command of the expedition, and was struck in the chest and killed when the unit he was with came under fire. The town of Montalban was occupied in the action before Lawton's death, and the town of San Mateo was occupied afterwards. Lawton was the only U.S. fatality in the action.[40]


  • 15 April – In the Siege of Catubig, Filipino guerrillas launch a surprise attack against a detachment of American soldiers, and after a four-day siege, Americans evacuate the town of Catubig in Samar.
  • May – General Arnold MacArthur, Jr. replaces General Elwell Stephen Otis as military governor[41] and William Howard Taft arrived as civilian Governor-General of the Philippines (until 1904)
  • June – General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. proclaims a 90-day amnesty and offers 30 pesos per rifle. The amnesty pledges "complete immunity for the past and liberty for the future." The results of the amnesty were disappointing. It is suspected that many of the natives surrendering were opportunists collecting bounty for obsolete weapons.[42]
  • 4 June – In the Battle of Makahambus Hill, Filipinos rout an American regiment and inflict heavy casualties, but take less than 5 casualties of their own.
  • 13 September – In the Battle of Pulang Lupa, Filipino resistance fighters under Colonel Maximo Abad ambush 55 American Soldiers, killing, wounding, or capturing all of them.
  • 17 September – Battle of Mabitac: Filipino forces outmaneuver and routed American forces on Luzon.
  • 2 November – William McKinley defeats Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election. Bryan was hurt by Aguinaldo's endorsement of the Democratic party. Albert Beveridge, the freshman senator from Indiana, emerged during the campaign as the "golden orator" of Republican imperialism, debating Senator George Frisbie Hoar, using his tour of the Philippines to claim direct knowledge of the war, holding out a golden nugget from the islands to prove its potential wealth: "I was there."


  • 5 March – Lonoy Massacre; in a reverse ambush, U.S. Infantryman launch a surprise attack on Bohol natives who had laid an ambush and kill over 400.[43]
  • 23 March – Aguinaldo is captured in Palanan, Isabela by Macabebe Scouts and U.S. forces.[44]
  • 1 April – Aguinaldo swears allegiance to the United States.[45]
  • 1 April – Aguinaldo appeals to all Filipinos to accept the "sovereignty of the United States ...".[45]
  • 1 May - Generals Manuel Tinio & Benito Natividad surrender to Gen. J. Franklin Bell at Sinait and the complete pacification of Northern Luzon.
  • 4 July – Civil government was inaugurated with William H. Taft as the Civil Governor.[46]
  • 28 September – Balangiga massacre; over 50 Americans are killed in an uprising on Samar. Gen. Jacob H. Smith orders retaliation.
  • 7 December – American General J. Franklin Bell begins concentration camp policy in Batangas on Luzon - everything outside the "dead lines" was systematically destroyed—humans, crops, domestic animals, houses, and boats. A similar policy had been initiated on the island of Marinduque some months before. An American Anti-imperialist press argues this policy is similar to the reconcentrado policy of Spanish General Valeriano Weyler in Cuba and British General Horatio Kitchener in the Second Boer War in South Africa.[47]


Postwar events[edit]




  • September – General John J. Pershing, governor of the Moro province, ordered the complete disarmament of all Moros.
  • December – In the Second Battle of Bud Dajo, U.S. forces, assaulted and captured a Moro-held defensive position in the Bud Dajo crater.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wolters, W.G. (2004), "Philippine War of Independence", in Keat Gin Ooi (ed.), Southeast Asia: A historical encyclopedia from Angkor Wat to East Timor, vol. II, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1-57607-770-5
  2. ^ a b Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain; December 10, 1898, Yale University
  3. ^ Carman Fitz Randolph (2009), "Chapter I, The Annexation of the Philippines", The Law and Policy of Annexation, BiblioBazaar, LLC, ISBN 978-1-103-32481-1
  4. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 184, 192.
  5. ^ Titherington 1900.
  6. ^ Guevara 1972, p. 10.
  7. ^ Kalaw 1927, pp. 423–429 Appendix C.
  8. ^ Guevara 1972, p. 35.
  9. ^ Linn 2000, p. 15.
  10. ^ Worcester 1914, p. 63.
  11. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 197–198.
  12. ^ Linn 2000, p. 24; Aguinaldo 2000, pp. 196–197.[citation needed]
  13. ^ Linn 2000, p. 25.
  14. ^ Halstead 1898, pp. 110–112.
  15. ^ Halstead 1898, p. 315.
  16. ^ Wolff 2006, p. 163.
  17. ^ Wolff 2006, p. 172; Zaide 1994, p. 262
  18. ^ a b c Guevara 1972, p. 104.
  19. ^ a b Wolff 2006, p. 173; "Chronology of Puerto Rico in the Spanish–American War". U.S. Library of Congress.
  20. ^ a b Halstead 1898, p. 318,
  21. ^ Kalaw 1927, pp. 199–200 Ch.7
  22. ^ Tucker 2009, p. 476.
  23. ^ a b Worcester 1914, p. 180; Tucker 2009, p. 476.
  24. ^ "Presidential Proclamation No. 173 S. 2002". Official Gazette. April 9, 2002.
  25. ^ "PNP History", Philippine National Police, Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government, archived from the original on 2008-06-17, retrieved 29 August 2009
  26. ^ Constantino 1975, pp. 251–253
  27. ^ Arnold, James R. (2011). The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine Jungle, 1902-1913. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60819-365-3.
  28. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 42–64.
  29. ^ Linn 2000, p. 99.
  30. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 102–104.
  31. ^ Linn 2000, p. 103,
  32. ^ Report of an expedition to the Province of La Laguna, culbertsonmansion.com, (archived from the original Archived 2008-07-24 at the Wayback Machine on 2008-07-24).
  33. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 106–107.
  34. ^ Kalaw 1927, pp. 199–200.
  35. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 136–137.
  36. ^ Linn 2000, p. 120; "Battle Across the Zapote River". 1st Battalion /14th Infantry Regiment. Archived from the original on 2006-06-15.
  37. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 150–151
  38. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 187, 362 (note 6).
  39. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 155–156.
  40. ^ Linn 2000, pp. 160–161
  41. ^ Barnes 2010, p. 255.
  42. ^ Miller 1984, p. 161.
  43. ^ Mona Lisa H. Quizo. "Jagna Martyrs: Unsung Heroes". National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
  44. ^ Linn 2000, p. 175; Agoncillo 1990, pp. 226–227.
  45. ^ a b Agoncillo 1990, p. 227.
  46. ^ Escalante 2007, p. 126.
  47. ^ Miller 1984, pp. 207–211; Also see J. Franklin Bell#Alleged War crimes.
  48. ^ Tucker 2009, p. 132.
  49. ^ "U.S. War Crimes in the Philippines". worldfuturefund.org.
  50. ^ a b c Linn 2000, p. 321.


Further reading[edit]