Philippines; key historical events

Page last modified 25/7/2021


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10/5/2016, Duterte (born 28/3/1945) was elected President of the Philippines.

30/12/2015, The Philippines said it will join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank despite disputes between it and the bank's founder, China.

2005, Peace talks between the government and Islamic separatists.

2002, Bomb attacks blamed on Islamic extremists.

19/1/2001, Gloria Arroyo became President of the Philippines.

2000, President Joseph Estrada was impeached for corruption. His deputy, Gloria Arroyo, became President.

1998, Joseph Estrada became President.

1996, Peace agreement made with MNLF secesionists.

24/9/1993. In the Philippines, Imelda Marcos was jailed for 18 years for corruption.

30/6/1992, Fidel Ramos became President of the Philippines. The USA withdrew from Subic Bay base.


Rule of President Aquino

16/6/1992, In the Philippines, Cory Aquino was defeated in elections by General Fidel Ramos.

9/6/1991. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted. 500,000 people had to be evacuated as the USA�s biggest overseas air base, Clark Naval Base, was threatened. Manila was covered 30 cm deep in volcanic ash.

1990, Cory Aquino survived a 7th coup attempt.

30/11/1989, Rebels in the Philippines attacked Cory Aquino�s palace and three military bases.

28/9/1989. Ex-President Marcos of the Philippines died in Honolulu.

1988, Land Reform Act, favourable compensation terms granted to large landowners.

21/12/1987, 2,000 killed in a ferry disaster in The Philippines.

29/1/1987, President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines put down a second attempted coup against her two-year-old administration; she was assiated by the USA. Rebels supporting ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda abandoned the TV station in Manila they had occupied on 27/1/1987. Loyalist troops had thwarted the rebels by cutting power to the TV station.

13/9/1986, The Mount Data Peace Accord was signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Cordillera People's Liberation Army ending the latter's campaign for greater autonomy for the Cordillera region.

22/6/1986, In the Philippines, Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Deputy Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos took over the HQ of the Philippines Defence Ministry and declared opposition to President Marcos and support for Corazon Aquino.


Rule of President Marcos

25/2/1986. Right-wing President Marcos, who had ruled since 1965, was forced to flee the Philippines, after defeat by Corazon Aquino (born 1933). Mrs Aquino�s husband had been shot by Marcos� troops in 1983. President Marcos fled to the roof of the palace and were whisked away by US helicopters.

15/2/1986, In the Philippines, President Marcos declared himself the victor in elections. Opposition members walked out in protest.

21/8/1984, Half a million people in Manila demonstrated against the rule of Ferdinand Marcos, on the first anniversary of the assassination of Benigno Aquino. Marcos had ruled since 1972.

21/8/1983, The Philippines opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, was shot dead minutes after returning home from exile. Born in 1932, Benigno became a Senator at 35 and was the leader of the opposition to Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos during the period of martial law from 1972. Had martial law not been declared and the Presidential elections due for 1973 been run, it is generally accepted that Benigno Aquino would have won. In fact Aquino was arrested in November 1977 on charges of murder sand subversion. In 1980, suffering from a heart condition, Aquino was allowed to leave for exile and treatment in the USA. His assassination was widely believed to be on the orders of Marcos, and it unleashed protests that led to the collapse of the Marcos Presidency; in February 1986, Benigno�s widow, Cory Aquino, became President of the Philippines.

17/1/1973. President Marcos of the Philippines extended his term indefinitely. He was barred by law from a third term which would have started in 9/1972, so he declared martial law.

30/12/1965, In the Philippines, Ferdinand E Marcos became President. He was elected on a promise to solve the chronic economic and social problems facing the Philippines, and succeeded in winning a second term in 1969. However by then problems with corruption were starting, and the rich-poor gap was still wide. A Communist insurgency was, by 1969, gathering strength in the remoter rural areas. In Mindanao there was a bloody Islamic uprising.


10/8/1965, The agreement between the United States and the Philippines on U.S. military bases was formally amended, returning exclusive jurisdiction over the Port of Manila and the city of Olongapo to the Philippines, and ceding more than 1,200 km2 of territory back to the Philippine government.

1956, Maria Corazon married Benigno Aquino.

23/10/1953, TV broadcasting began in The Philippines.

30/8/1951, The US and The Philippines concluded a mutual defence pact.

4/7/1946, The Philippines became independent from the USA.

1944, US troops landed in the Philippines, liberating it from the Japanese.

1942, The Hukbalahap (Huks) was formed, a peasant guerrilla army to fight the Japanese. After World War Two, the US and the Philippine Government made efforts to suppress the Hukbalahap.

For main events of World War Two in the Pacific see China/Japan

1941, Japan invaded the Philippines.

1935, The Sakdalista Movement began, to combat unequal land distribution and heavy taxes. The movement was quickly suppressed.

1935, The Philippines became a Commonwealth under an elected President. By 1941, under US President Taft, the Philippines enjoyed a democratically-elected Senate, an indepenedent judiciary and an indigenous civil service. The US promised full independence for 1945, but the Japanese invasion interrupted this.

11/9/1917, Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines, was born.

4/7/1902, The US suppressed a rebellion in the Philippines.

4/7/1901, The US Republican, Taft, was appointed Governor of the Philippines, replacing a former military government with civilian rule. He announced an amnesty for all former rebels who took an oath of allegiance to the USA.

4/6/1900, The Battle of Makahambus Hill took place near Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines. This was the first victory of the Filipino soldiers against the American occupation forces.

1898, The USA seized control of the Philippines from Spain, and destroyed the Spanish fleet there.

1897, Andres Bonifacio was executed on the orders of a court set up by a rival rebel leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. Later this year, Aguinaldo was exiled to Hong Kong; Aguinaldo retirned to the Philippines in 1901, was captured, and later fought against the US occupying forces.

1896, Katipunan launched a revolution against Spanish rule. The pro independence writer, Jose Rizal, was executed by the Spanish,

1892, The Katipunan (Sons of the People) movement began in the Phulippines, led by Andres Bonifacio.

5/10/1762, The British captured Manila, Philippines, from Spain,

14/4/1617, At the Second Battle of Playa Honda, the Spanish navy defeated the Dutch in the Philippines.

1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and English traders; at this time Portugal was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly from India, and the creation of the Dutch East India Company followed.

19/5/1571, Manila was founded by Miguel Lopez de Legazpe.

13/2/1565, Spain began the colonisation of the Philippines, initially claiming the central island of Cebu. However they shifted focus to Luzon, making Manila the capital in 1571.

7/4/1521, Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Cebu.

16/3/1521, Ferdinand Magellan sighted the Philippine Islands.


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