The opening of the Philippines to world trade rapidly developed the Philippine economy. Many Filipinos prospered overnight. Everyday Filipinos also benefited from the new economy with the rapid increase in demand for labor and availability of business opportunities. Some Europeans immigrated to the Philippines to join the wealth wagon, among them Jacobo Zobel, patriarch of today's Zobel de Ayala family and prominent figure in the rise of Filipino nationalism. Their scions studied in the best universities of Europe where they learned the ideals of liberty from the French and American Revolutions. The new economy gave rise to a new middle class in the Philippines, usually not ethnic Filipinos.
In the early 19th century, the Suez Canal was opened which made the Philippines easier to reach from Spain. The small increase ofPeninsulares from the Iberian Peninsula threatened the secularization of the Philippine churches. In state affairs, the Criollos, known locally as Insulares (lit. "islanders"). were displaced from government positions by the Peninsulares, whom the native Insulares regarded as foreigners. The Insulares had become increasingly Filipino and called themselves Los hijos del país (lit. "sons of the country"). Among the early proponents of Filipino nationalism were the Insulares Padre Pedro Peláez, archbishop of Manila, who fought for the secularization of Philippine churches and expulsion of the friars; Padre José Burgos whose execution influenced the national hero José Rizal; and Joaquín Pardo de Tavera who fought for retention of government positions by natives, regardless of race. In retaliation to the rise of Filipino nationalism, the friars called the Indios (possibly referring to Insulares and mestizos as well) indolent and unfit for government and church positions. In response, the Insulares came out with Indios agraviados, a manifesto defending the Filipino against discriminatory remarks. The tension between the... [continues]
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