Archives of the new possession: Spanish colonial records and the American creation of a ‘national’ archives for the Philippines
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- Punzalan, R.L. Arch Sci (2006) 6: 381. doi:10.1007/s10502-007-9040-z
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Through the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded to the United States all its colonial authority over the Philippines, including its other colonies. The Treaty also placed in American possession the Spanish records kept in the various agencies of the former colonial administration of the islands. Upon assumption of its role as the new de facto colonial regime, the American insular government initiated the process of collecting the Spanish colonial records to be housed in a central repository that became the nucleus of the National Archives of the Philippines. An important aspect of understanding the context of archives in post-colonial Philippines is to trace its early beginnings and to examine the archives’ association with former colonial powers. Established against the backdrop of the shift in the continuum of colonial regimes, the archive is undeniably a colonial creation and a manifestation of colonial domination. For the contemporary imagination, however, its very presence represents a common and collective past that consequently contributes to the formation of a “national consciousness” and ironically reinforces the idea of nationhood of the formerly colonized territory.