Read full document

Life of Jose Rizal

Page 1 of 2
José Rizal's parents, Francisco Engracio Rizal Mercado y Alejandra II (1818-1898) and Teodora 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, 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 anti-Chinese animosity of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the family surname to the Spanish surname "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...