|Date of birth: |June 19, 1861. | |Place of birth: |Calamba, Laguna, Philippines | |Date of death: |December 30, 1896 (aged 35) | |Place of death: |Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park), Manila, Philippines | |Major organizations: |La Solidaridad, La Liga Filipina | |Major monuments: |Rizal Park |
José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896, ancestral home: Quanzhou, Fujian), was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is considered the Philippines' national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution. The seventh of eleven children born to a wealthy family in the town of Calamba, Laguna (province), Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts. He enrolled in Medicine and Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain, where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten 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 are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries from the Spanish colonial authorities. As a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.
Francisco Rizal Mercado II
José Rizal's parents, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandra II (1818-1898) and Teodora "Donya Lolay" Morales Alonso Realonda y Quintos (1827-1911), were prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. Rizal was the seventh child of their eleven children namely: Saturnina (1850-1913), Paciano (1851-1930), Narcisa (1852-1939), Olympia (1855-1887), Lucia (1857-1919), Maria (1859-1945), José Protasio (1861-1896), Concepcion (1862-1865), Josefa (1865-1945), Trinidad (1868-1951) and Soledad (1870-1929). Rizal was a 6th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co (Chinese: 柯仪南; pinyin: Ke Yinan), a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines from Jinjiang, Quanzhou in the mid-17th century. Lam-co married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley native of Luzon. To free his descendants from the Sinophobic animosity of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the surname to the Spanish "Mercado" (market) to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. In 1849, Governor-General Narciso Claveria ordered all Filipino families to choose new surnames from a list of Spanish family names. José's father Francisco 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...