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,
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 
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
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: 柯仪柯; 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 name. After a few years, he settled on the name "Rizal Mercado" as a compromise,
but usually just used the original surname "Mercado". Upon enrolling at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, José dropped the last three
names that make up his full name, at the advice of his brother, Paciano Rizal Mercado, and the Rizal Mercado family, thus rendering
his name as "José Protasio Rizal". Of this, Rizal writes: "My family never paid much attention [to our second surname Rizal], but now
I had to use it, thus giving me the appearance of an illegitimate child!" This was to enable him to travel freely and disassociate him
from his brother, who had gained notoriety with his earlier links with Filipino priests who were sentenced to death as subversives.
From early childhood, José and Paciano were already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which
infuriated the authorities. Despite the name change, Jose, as "Rizal" soon distinguishes himself in poetry writing contests,
impressing his professors with his facility with Castilian and other foreign languages, and later, in writing essays that are critical of the
Spanish historical accounts of the pre-colonial Philippine societies. Indeed, by 1891, the year he finished his El filibusterismo, this
second surname had become so well known that, as he writes to another friend, "All my family now carry the name Rizal instead of
Mercado because the name Rizal means persecution! Good! I too want to join them and be worthy of this family name..." José
became the focal point by which the family became known, at least from the point of view of colonial authorities.
Rizal, 11 years old, a student at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila.
Aside from Chinese ancestry, recent genealogical research has found that José had traces of Spanish, and Japanese ancestry. His
maternal great-great-grandfather (Teodora's great-grandfather) was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers, who married a
Filipina named Benigna (surname unknown). They gave birth to Regina Ursua who married a Tagalog Sangley mestizo from
Pangasinán named Atty. Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brígida de Quintos married a Spanish mestizo
named Lorenzo Alberto Alonso, the father of Teodora. Austin Craig mentions Lakandula, Rajah of Tondo at the time of the Spanish
incursion, also as an ancestor.
Rizal as a student at the University of Santo Tomas.