The Philippines

Independence without Decolonisation
  • Alfred W. McCoy
Part of the Macmillan Asian Histories Series book series


Sometime after 4 o’clock on the afternoon of 12 June 1898 in a small town just south of Manila a ‘motley crowd’ gathered before the gothic-style, wooden home of General Emilio Aguinaldo, commander of the Philippine revolutionary forces, to witness the declaration of independence from a Spanish colonial regime that had ruled the islands or more than three centuries. Appearing stolid and martial with the close-cropped haircut that matched the squarish cast to his jaw, General Aguinaldo, still only twenty-nine years old, was proclaimed ‘Dictator’ and ‘Supreme Chief of the Nation’. Following the reading of the Act of the Declaration of Independence from Spain, the new Philippine flag was raised officially for the first time, while a band played the Marcha Nacional Filipina. Aguinaldo’s aide, General Artemio Ricarte, spoke to the crowd explaining the significance of the new flag’s colours and markings. Featuring a stylised sun blazing in a triangle of white, the Philippine flag symbolised the nation’s birth and unity — the sun itself was the emblem of the nationalist secret society that had launched the revolution in August 1896 and its eight rays represented the provinces that first rallied to the revolt1 (see illustration, p. 21).


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Copyright information

© Alfred W. McCoy 1981

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  • Alfred W. McCoy

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