Video Transcript / Subtitles:
About AI Subtitles »
* AI ("Artificial Intelligence") subtitles on Tagalog.com are generated using "Whisper" by OpenAI (the same company that created ChatGPT and DallE2). Results and accuracy may vary.
* The subtitles do include errors occasionally and should only be used as a tool to help with your listening practice.
* You can request this website to create a transcript for a video if one doesn't already exist by clicking the "Request AI Subtitles" button below a video. Transcribing usually takes 30-40% of the length of a video to complete if there are no other videos in the queue
. For example, a 21 minute video will take 7-8 minutes to transcribe.
* Running a super fast cloud GPU server to do these transcriptions does cost money. If you have the desire and financial ability, consider becoming a patron
to support these video transcriptions, and the other tools and apps built by Tagalog.com
Unknown to many, there have been many short-lived republics and nation-states in modern history.
One of the shortest, for example, was the Shuliavskaya Republic which lasted a grand total
of only four days in the city of Kiev between the 12th and the 16th of December in 1905.
And in terms of modern-day independent nation-states, this was outdone by the
Sultanate of Zanzibar which ruled the small East African island for just one day.
You know, between the end of the British rule on the 10th of December 1963
and its merger with Tanganyika to become the United Republic of Tanzania the following day.
You know, few of these short-lived republics and nation-states have much by way of history.
But that is not the case with one of Southeast Asia's shortest-lived nation-states,
the First Philippine Republic which between 1898 and 1902 aspired to rule an independent Philippines.
So in today's video, let's learn more and dig deeper about the history
and the legacy of Asia's very first independent constitutional republic.
Welcome back to another history video. It's me Kabeer Arroyo, your friendly Pinoy historian.
And in this channel, if you're new to my channel, I make videos about our people's history,
culture, and everything in between. So if you like learning about the Philippines,
Southeast Asia, and beyond, don't forget to like, share this video, comment down below,
and please, please subscribe. But before we begin today's topic, here's a few reminders.
Today's video is just an introduction to this topic, so check out the links below for a list
of sources and recommended readings. And this video is actually an updated version of an older
video I made about this topic many years ago. So if you would like to support my channel and
my research, please be my patron on Patreon, be a member of my YouTube channel, or get copies of
any of my books, coloring books and ebooks, or any of the merch linked down below. Maraming salamat po.
So what exactly was the first Philippine Republic? I mean, what is it all about? Let's find out.
So the first Philippine Republic was a short-lived republic that was established
in the Philippines following the Filipino Declaration of Independence back in June 1898.
And after many years of fighting for their freedom, the Filipino Revolution was victorious
in liberating the Filipino people from 300 years of Spanish rule. The Filipinos formally
proclaimed their independence on June 12, 1898. And by August, the Filipino revolutionaries
effectively controlled most of their country. By this time, Emilio Aguinaldo ruled by decree
as the first officially recognized president of the republic. And it was practically a
dictatorship until a democratic constitution was put in place. And so elections were held
between the rainy months of June and September in 1898. And the plan was to elect representatives
for seats in the Revolutionary Congress, which was meant to be the country's first
national legislature. And so on September 15, 1898, this congress representing the different
provinces of the Philippines met in the quiet town of Malolos, Bulacan. And the first item on
their agenda was to write a constitution for the independent Philippines. And by September
29, the so-called Malolos Congress ratified the Declaration of Philippine Independence,
reaffirming the proclamation that was made in Cavite back on June 12. And then by January
of 1899, the new constitution was ratified and put into effect. This constitution, also
known as the Malolos Constitution, or more accurately the Constitución Política de 1899,
became the basic law of an independent Philippines. It established a democratic
republic and placed the sovereignty of the islands back to the Filipino people.
It guaranteed the civil liberties of the people and the separation of church and state. It also
included the protection of what we would now call civil human rights against the abuses of
those in power. And as such, the first Philippine Republic was inaugurated with much celebration
and fanfare. After all, it is considered to be the first constitutional republic in Asia.
But don't get me wrong, there have been many other earlier states in Asia that can practically
be considered republics in a broader sense. But in terms of a modern-day constitutional
republic that most of us are familiar with today, the first Philippine Republic is widely
considered by experts to be the very first modern-day democratic constitutional republic
in Asia. So back to 1898, Emilio Guinaldo was quoted expressing his dream for the nation
to live under the democratic regime of the Philippine Republic, free from the yoke of
any foreign domination. However, these hopes and dreams of an independent republic would
soon be challenged. Sadly, merely a month before the constitution was officially ratified,
the Spaniards formally sold the Philippines to the United States on December 10, 1898.
The Americans, who were once the allies of the Filipino people in their fight for independence,
were by now the invaders threatening to take away the very freedom they earned with their
blood. By February of 1899, the Philippine-American War would erupt between the first Philippine
Republic and the United States. The war would prove to be a prolonged agony for the Filipino
people, the ghosts of which still haunt the islands and its people to this day. It was
a bloody war that resulted in a violent occupation of the Philippines and what we would consider
a merciless genocide of its people. Formally, the first Philippine Republic ended towards
the end of 1901, after the capture of Emilio Guinaldo in March of the same year. And by
1902, the United States would officially declare an end to the war, or what they called the
Filipino Insurrection. However, the fight against US imperialism in the Philippines
would continue on for at least another decade. And if you think about it, in many ways, the
struggle continues to this day. But what exactly led to the establishment of Asia's very first
constitutional republic in the Philippines? You know, what was happening in the Philippines?
So the background to the advent of the first Philippine Republic was over 300 years of
Spanish colonial rule across the Philippines. The Spaniards first began colonizing the
archipelago in the late 1500s. But it had been a fraught process. In fact, the major
northern island of Luzon was only brought firmly under Spanish rule by the end of the
17th century. And the island, which dominates the south of the archipelago, aka Mindanao,
proved to be a major challenge. In Sulu and Mindanao, the Muslim sultanates held out and
indeed brought the war to Spain over control of the many islands of the Visayas, aka Central
Philippines. It is also worth mentioning that within the 300 years, the three centuries of
Spanish rule in the Philippines, there were over 200 revolts and anti-colonial uprisings that were
recorded throughout the islands. But eventually, over time, the Spaniards cemented their control
over many parts of their archipelago. But by the 1700s, the colonial community itself,
the Spaniards living in the Philippines, had begun to view themselves as distinct
from the Spaniards in Spain. And this was compounded in the early 19th century
by the many wars of independence across the Spanish empire in the Americas.
So long story short, by the mid-1800s, there was a growing movement amongst native Filipinos,
along with the colonial community of Spanish descent and those of mixed heritage, to try to
establish an independent Philippines, one which could benefit from its own resources rather than
being robbed of its wealth by the colonial power in Madrid. So by the 1890s, a growing number of
independence movements had emerged in the Philippines, most notably the Katipunan,
a revolutionary anti-colonial movement led by Andres Bonifacio and inspired by the writings
of José Rizal. And so in August of 1896, when the Spanish government learned of the existence
of the Katipunan movement, Bonifacio called his fellow Katipuneros to attack the colonial
seat of government in Manila. And the rebellion spread quickly across the archipelago, led by
the followers of the Katipunan, along with the other revolutionary groups that emerged elsewhere.
So by the end of autumn of 1896, the Spanish colonial government in Manila was facing armed
insurrections in most of the provinces it controlled. So by the spring of 1897, the
Katipunan movement and the Philippine Revolution had reached a sufficient point that presidential
elections were held for an independent Philippine government. And the war with the Spaniards
continued on with different parts of the archipelago held by the Filipino revolutionaries
while the areas under Spanish control continued to dwindle. Emilio Aguinaldo served as its first
head of state between 1898 and 1901. Although many would argue that this honor should have
been given to the father of the revolution, Andres Bonifacio. But anyway, following Aguinaldo's
capture and eventual surrender to the Americans, Miguel Malvar would become the unofficial
president of the first republic. And he held this position for several months between 1901 and 1902.
And as mentioned, the Malolos constitution was also promulgated and came into effect on the 22nd
of January 1899, with the Republican Congress, the Malolos Congress, convening in the town of
Malolos in Central Luzon. So how exactly did it fall? Why did the first Philippine Republic
cease to exist within just a few years? On the 15th of February 1898, the USS Maine,
a U.S. Navy ship, was sunk in Havana, Cuba. The incident, which was a byproduct of the Cuban
Revolution against Spanish rule on the Caribbean island, was taken as an excuse by the government
of the United States to declare war on Spain. In one of the most naked acts of imperialism ever
practiced by the U.S., the Spanish-American War was fought for the U.S. to effectively
seize control of Spain's few remaining colonies. Over the next several months,
the United States sent troops to seize control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
And thus, just as the Philippine Revolution was developing into an independent Philippines,
the revolution became entangled with the conflict between Spain and the United States. The
revolutionary government in the Philippines now viewed the U.S. as naturally an ally against the
Spaniards. But in the process of accepting American aid, the Filipino revolutionaries
would effectively simply swap one imperial overlord for another. And the Treaty of Paris,
which was signed on December 10 of 1898, brought the Spanish-American War to an end after just
over six months of fighting, in which the Spaniards had been widely and roundly defeated
by the United States. However, rather than ensuring the success of the Philippine Revolution,
the Treaty of Paris effectively ceded the Philippines from Spain to the U.S. Rather
than acquiring independence, the Filipino revolutionaries now face a much more powerful
colonial overlord. For some weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the revolutionaries
held out some hope that the United States government would grant a large amount of
independence to the archipelago. But it was soon realized that this would not be the case.
And thus, on the 4th of February, 1899, the First Battle of the Philippine-American War
erupted between the First Philippine Republic and the United States. A battle that pitted
15,000 Filipino soldiers against 19,000 American troops. This fierce battle, however,
only lasted till the end of the following day, before the Americans emerged victorious. However,
it was also just the beginning of a much longer war between the Filipinos and the Americans.
The Philippine-American War would drag on for three years, before the revolutionaries were
largely defeated by the American imperial regime. The Philippine-American War was the
first major colonial war that catapulted the United States as a world power. You know,
it became a template for U.S. expansion and imperialism from the Vietnam War to Iraq and
even Afghanistan today. Indeed, the Philippine-American War was oftentimes referred to
as the First Vietnam. It was indeed a bloodier war that immediately followed the much-romanticized
Spanish-American War. And you know, because of the massive number of casualties and the
atrocities that followed the war, the Philippine-American War is also considered a genocide.
Now, the exact number of casualties has been debated in the past century. But according to
the official numbers, 4,200 American soldiers and more than 20,000 Filipino fighters were killed in
combat. But the violence was not confined within the limits of the battlefields. You know, despite
the conservative claims that only 200,000 Filipino civilians lost their lives during the war,
the total number of victims, you know, this is far bigger. In fact, multiple sources, historians,
even U.S. military officials and oral traditions acknowledge that by 1902, on the island of Luzon
alone, about 600,000 Filipino people were killed in the slaughter. And this alone is three times
the conservative number recognized by the United States. Now, Filipino historians also believe that
at the very least, the number of civilian casualties in the Philippines actually reached
1.4 million people. And given that at the beginning of the war, only about 9 million people lived in
the Philippines, if we think about it, 1.4 million Filipinos killed was about one-sixth of the total
population of the archipelago. And on paper, the war may have officially ended in 1902. But the
merciless violence and the conflict continued on for almost two decades. And within these decades
of darkness and violence, scholars also believe that up to 3 million Filipinos lost their lives
as a result of America's imperial ambitions in the Philippines. Three million people! That is
about a third of the archipelago's population before the war. But sadly, most people today
have forgotten about this. Most Filipinos are not even aware of this bloodshed. In the end,
you know, officially on paper, the conflict was somewhat brought to an end when the United States
made some concessions through the Philippine Organic Act of 1902, through which a Philippine
assembly was created, granting the archipelago a limited, a very limited amount of self-determination.
And with this, one might say that the first Philippine Republic came to an end as the
revolutionaries of 1896 laid down their arms in 1902. But as mentioned earlier, the war and the
merciless violence and conflict and genocide continued on for almost two decades. And it was
only on November 15, 1935 that the Commonwealth of the Philippines was inaugurated. And this
basically allowed for a certain degree of self-government while still being a colony of
the United States. So basically, it was like how Puerto Rico is today minus the US citizenship.
And in the end, though direct US rule over the Philippines would prove to be somewhat short-lived
compared to the Spaniards, much like the Spaniards, the United States faced a bloody war against
Muslims in Sulu and Mindanao for decades to come. While the islands were eventually also occupied
by the Japanese during the Second World War, a period that also saw the establishment of the
Second Philippine Republic on October 14, 1943. Now on paper, the Second Republic was supposed
to fulfill the promises of the First Philippine Republic and independent Philippines free from
Western imperialism. However, in reality, the Second Philippine Republic was not truly independent.
It was effectively a puppet state controlled by the imperial government in Tokyo. Now following
the end of World War II, US President Harry S. Truman issued Proclamation 2695 on the 4th of July
1946. And this finally granted independence to the Philippines. And thus, 50 years after the
First Philippine Revolution set in a chain of events that ushered in the establishment of the
First Philippine Republic, the Third Philippine Republic finally and officially achieved independence
for the nation. And today, the world recognizes the Fifth Philippine Republic as an independent
nation-state, with its sovereignty resting upon its diverse multi-ethnic people. However, many
experts and activists today would argue that the Philippines today is not truly independent.
Because historically speaking, the relationship between the Philippines and the United States
has been criticized by many as a form of neo-colonialism, a new form of imperialism
in which the Philippines continues to be subservient to the whims of the superpowers
like China and the United States. And thus, one can say that the promises of the First Philippine
Republic of a genuinely independent Philippines are yet to be fully achieved. Okay, so was the
First Philippine Republic really a failure? I mean, was it an epic fail at creating Asia's
very first modern democratic republic, you know, back in the 1800s? Not exactly. And here's why.
The First Philippine Republic may have only lasted for a few years, but its legacy survives
to this day. It has proven to the world that the people of what is now the Philippines have
always been capable of self-determination. They've always been fit for self-rule. Indeed,
it was evidence of the Filipino people's triumphant victory against three centuries
of colonialism and their determination to fend off foreign domination and imperialism.
And although it was not perfect, I mean, let's be honest. No republic in history has ever been
perfect. Definitely not the Philippines today, nor the United States, and not even ancient Rome
where the word republic comes from. And honestly, we can even make a separate future video just about
the failures and the weaknesses of the First Philippine Republic. So let me know in the
comments if that is something you would like to see on this channel. But yes, although it
was not perfect, the First Philippine Republic had many of the fundamental elements of modern-day
nation-states and present-day democracies. For example, it had a strong executive branch,
a congress to balance it out, an independent judiciary, and its own army. I mean, it even
included the establishment of a public university for the people. And this was back in the 1800s.
But perhaps more importantly, it guaranteed the protection of the rights of the people.
The Monolos Constitution of the First Philippine Republic was a testament to the aspirations and
the capabilities of the Filipino people for democracy, liberty, and justice. Indeed,
it was a beautiful reminder that the diverse multi-ethnic people of the Philippines are
capable of building their own modern democratic nation, capable of their own greatness,
capable of envisioning a free Philippines, and thus laying the foundations for a brighter future
for the Filipino people, for our people. You know, as opposed to being seen as uncivilized
and savages by both the Spanish Empire and the United States. In fact, along with the
Philippine Revolution, the First Philippine Republic was a beacon of hope for many colonized
and occupied people in Asia. Now, unknown to many, many independence movements were inspired
by the Philippine Revolution and the First Philippine Republic. An anti-colonial revolution
would soon spring all across Asia in the century that followed. Indeed, from China to Malaysia,
from India to Indonesia, and many more, the lessons of the Philippine Revolution and the
First Philippine Republic were an inspiration for many in the region across Asia and the Pacific
to fight for their freedom and to establish their own modern and democratic societies.
Now again, this video is just an introduction into this fascinating topic. So if you want to
learn more and dig deeper, make sure to check out my series of videos and my playlist about
the Philippine Revolution and independence. And I also wrote an entire book about these topics
and the solidarity between Filipinos and African Americans in the events surrounding the Philippine
American War. So make sure to check them out, my videos and playlist, and my book in the links
down below. And that is it for me today. So let me know what you think about today's topic in the
comments below. And if you like this video or learn a thing or two, don't forget to like, share
this video, comment down below, and please, please subscribe. But of course, before we go, today's
shout-out goes to Mike Legaspi of New York City, Hello Short from India, Bernie Mac of Cavite,
Aisha from Malaysia, and Bella of Canada. And of course, special thanks and special shout-out to my
patron Brian from San Francisco. You know, this video would not be possible, this channel would
not exist without the love and the support of all my patrons, subscribers, and viewers like you
throughout these years. Kaya naman, maraming maraming salamat po, daghang salamat, dakalpong salamat, at yaman na.
See you next time! Or in Tagalog, kita kits! And in Kapampangan, miki tits! And in Binisaya, kita aita!