OUTLINE of PHILIPPINES HISTORY
Prehistoric Prelude: No pre-hominid or hominid species such as Australopithecus or homo erectus has been found in the Philippines. The first human beings probably reached the Philippines about 40,000 years ago at roughly the same time as they reached Australia and New Guinea. The Philippines, like Australia and New Guinea, were never actually joined to the south east Asian mainland but, at the low ocean levels, the water barrier was much less. The earliest human bones found in the Philippines were on Palawan of modern type and date to 22,000 years ago although stone tools from Palawan date back to 30,000 years ago. The original people of the Philippines were the ancestors of the people known today as Negritos or Aeta. They are an Australo-Melanesian people with dark skin and tight, curly brown hair. They are also distinctively small and of short stature. As the Pygmies in the equatorial forests of Africa, the Aeta are believed to have adapted locally to the tropical jungles of the Philippines. The Aeta are a nomadic hunting and gathering people who forage in small family bands with an informal organization and leadership. They were once widespread throughout the Philippines but are now found only in the remote highland areas of Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros and Mindanao. On Taiwan, the Austronesian speaking fishermen-farmers (who had migrated from China between 4,000 and 3,000 BCE) honed their sea-faring skills. They soon embarked on one of the most astonishing and extensive colonizations in human history known as the Austronesian expansion. By about 2,500 BC, one group, and just one group of Austronesian speakers from Taiwan had ventured to northern Luzon in the Philippines and settled there. The archaeological record from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon shows that they brought with them the same set of stone tools and pottery they had in Taiwan. The descendants of this group spread their language and culture through the Indo-Malayan archipelago as far west as Madagascar off the east coast of Africa and as far east as Hawaii and Easter Island in the central Pacific Ocean. For the most part, the Austronesians encountered unoccupied coasts and islands. Where they met hunting and gathering cultures, their horticultural productivity and population growth soon overwhelmed the aboriginal occupants. All the surviving Aeta populations in the Philippines speak Austronesian languages. Where they met established agrarian cultures, such as along the coasts of Vietnam (Champa) and Indo-China, their incursions were limited. The speed of the Austronesian expansion was also a consequence of their maritime culture. Under the pressure of an expanding population, adventurous colonizers would prefer to settle new lands on coasts and islands before pressing inland and away from the sea. Furthermore, the Austronesian kinship system gave higher status, prestige and authority to the lineages most closely related to the society's founder. Austronesian culture put a premium on founding new colonies that gave an additional incentive to continued expansion. As it was, there were many new coasts and islands available for occupation and settlement. In the three thousand or so years that the Neolithic Austronesians had spent settling and populating the Indo-Malayan archipelago, on the Asian mainland sophisticated, metal-working, literate, stratified, state civilizations had developed in China behind them and in India ahead of them. Once the east to west movement of the Austronesian cultures met the high civilization of southern India, a cultural movement of Hindic-Buddhist influences reflected back through the archipelago from west to east. The Philippines are situated at the far northeastern end of the archipelago. They were involved in the very earliest stages of the Austronesian expansion. By the same geography, they were the last to receive the civilizational influences emanating from mainland Asia. Importantly,...
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