(June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by the National Heroes Committee. His execution day in 1896, now known as Rizal Day, is a national holiday in the Philippines. Rizal was born to a rich family in Calamba, Laguna and was the seventh of eleven children. He attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts, and enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. He continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid in Madrid, Spain, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He also attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot, conversant in twenty-two languages. He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These social commentaries on Spanish rule formed the nucleus of literature that inspired peaceful reformists and armed revolutionaries alike. As a political figure, José Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunanled by Andrés Bonifacio, which would start the Philippine Revolution against Spain, leading to the foundation of the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of achieving Philippine self-government peacefully through institutional reform rather than through violent revolution, although he would support "violent means" as a last resort. Rizal believed that the only justification for national liberation and self-government is the restoration of the dignity of the people, saying "Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?" The general consensus among Rizal scholars is that his execution by the Spanish government ignited the Philippine Revolution. Family of Jose Rizal:
He was born to Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado (1818–1897) and Teodora Alonzo Realonda y Quintos, who were both prosperous farmers that were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. Rizal was the seventh child of their eleven children namely: Saturina (Neneng) (1850–1913), Paciano (1851–1930), Narcisa (Sisa) (1852–1939), Lucia (1857–1919), María (Biang) (1859–1945), José Protacio (1861–1896), Concepción (Concha) (1862–1865), Josefa (Panggoy) (1865–1945), Trinidad (1868–1951) and Soledad (Choleng) (1870–1929). José Rizal also had Spanish and Japanese ancestors. His grandfather and father of Teodora was a half Spaniard engineer named Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo. His maternal great-great-grandfather was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers. Lam-co changed his surname to the Spanish "Mercado" (market), possibly to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. In 1849, Governor-General of the Philippines Narciso Clavería, issued a Decree by which native Filipino and immigrant families were to adopt Spanish surnames from a list of Spanish family names (the Chino Mestizos were allowed to hold on to their Chinese surnames). José's father Francisco Mercado now  adopted the surname "Rizal" (originally Ricial, the green of young growth or green fields), which was suggested to him by a provincial governor, or as José had described him, "a friend of the family". However, the name change caused confusion in the business affairs of Francisco, most of which were begun under the old name. After a few years, he settled on the name "Rizal Mercado" as a compromise, but usually just used the original surname "Mercado". Education
Jose Rizal as a student at the University of Santo Tomas.
Rizal first studied under Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Biñan, Laguna before he was sent to Manila. As to his father's request, he...