History of the Spanish Language in the Philippines

Topics: Spanish language, Philippines, National language Pages: 5 (1576 words) Published: April 15, 2012
"Prior to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines in 1565, there are no written records of the islands that make up the modern day Philippines."3 In the year 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi, the Conquistador travelled from Spain and founded the first Spanish settlement in the country, firstly on the island of Cebú. They occupied the kingdoms of Tondo and Manila, establishing it as the capital of the Spanish East Indies. "The Philippines were originally named after King Philip II of Spain- Las Islas Felipinas".4The Philippines were part of Spanish territory for hundreds of years from this year on. It was firstly ruled from Mexico City but was later ruled from Madrid. The Spanish language was imposed as an official language. The Philippines were under Spanish Rule for just over 300 years. However Jim Lipski states that “despite the lengthy Spanish presence in the Philippines, the Spanish language never became firmly implanted among Speakers of Indigenous language as occurred in Latin America...”4

The Augustinians and the Franciscan monks arrived after Legazpi had settled and started setting up schools. Education was extremely important to them. The children were taught in their indigenous languages which the monks embraced. However Spanish was spoken by those who had settled in the Philippines and was noted and invariably picked up by the natives. Spanish was not formally introduced to the school system until the 19th century. In 1863, Queen Isabella II of Spain decreed the establishment of a free public school system. The system used Spanish as the language of instruction as well as teaching the language as a compulsory subject. The amount of schools which were set up under the Spanish Rule was impressive; this led to the high level of education that children received in the country. This led to an educated class known as the Ilustrados; these were native-born Philippine poets, writers and intellectuals who wrote in Spanish and sought more reform from the Spanish colonial rule. Some Ilustrados to be noted were José Rizal (who was executed for the part he played in the Philippine Revolution) and Emilio Aguinaldo (the leader of the revolution).

Spanish-American War and Independence from Spain, First Filipine Republic The Philippine Revolution began in 1896 and was led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The Philippine people were looking for secession from Spanish Rule. The revolution was not entirely successful however. Aguinaldo was exiled to Hong Kong. However the outbreak of the Spanish - American War in 1898 led to the Philippines siding with America against the Spanish government. America won the war and on the 12th of June, the Philippines announced their independence from Spain. In 1899, the First Philippine Republic was created; this was an insurgent revolutionary government in the country. The government was put together due to the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Rule. However, ironically I find, they established Spanish as an official language. It was during this short-lived government that the national anthem was written and also the Malolas Constitution, both were written in Spanish. The First Philippine Republic ended with the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo. America took control of the Philippines at this point and this was the real nail in the coffin for the Spanish language. English was imposed on the natives who took to the language well.

20th century and the Spanish language
In 1945, World War II spilled into the Philippines as Japan had invaded 3 years previously. The American and the Philippines fought the Japanese in the month long Battle of Manila. The battle resulted in many deaths and completely destroyed the city of Manila. This was a further devastating blow for Spanish as Manila was the centre of the Spanish language. In 1935, a constitution was declared stating that English and Spanish would continue as official languages. “The Congress shall take steps toward the development and...
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