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The Spanish Period Historical Background

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    It is an accepted belief that the Spanish colonization of the Philippinesstarted in 1565 during the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi the first Spanish governor-general in the Philippines. Literature started to flourish during his time. This spurt continued unabated until the Cavite Revolt in 1872. The Spaniards colonized the Philippines for more than three centuries. During these times, many changes occurred in the lives of Filipinos. They embraced the Catholic religion, changed their names, and were baptized. Their lifestyles changed too.

    They built houses mad of stones and bricks, used beautiful furniture like the piano and used kitchen utensils. Carriages, trains and boats were used as means of travel. They held fiestas to honor the saints, the pope and the governors. They had cockfights, horse races and the theater as means of recreation. This gave rise to the formation of the different classes of society like the rich and the landlords. Some Filipinos finished courses like medicine, law, agriculture and teaching.

    Sa aming catagalogangiven us, your Tagalog brethren “Icao paraluman naminYou are our guide Ang sucat nga naming sundinWhom we shall follow strictly Hanggang di cami dumatingTill we reach Sa lalawigan mahimbing. ”The peaceful haven. October 3, 1646 -For the second time, the Spanish fleet defeated the British warship in Manila Bay. This event is commemorated in a yearly feast called “La Naval de Manila”. 1704-Padre Gaspar Aquilino de Belen, a native of Rosario Batanggas was the first Filipino who composed and sang the pasion in tagalong and permitted by the church by Father Antonio del Pueblo to be imprint.

    Due to strong forces and large presence of the Filipino troops, both camps of the Spaniards retreated. But in the end, Filipinos lost the battle when the latter came back with large number of fighters and stronger ammunition. Setember 12, 1896. A group of revolutionaries from Cavite were executed. They are now known as teh “Trece Martires de Cavite” or the thirteen martyrs of Cavite. December 30, 1896. Jose Rizal was executed by firing squad in Bagumbayan (now called Rizal Park) after being held captive at fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. March 22, 1897.

    The Katipuneros elected a new set of officers to replace the Katipunan. This was held in Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon and was called the Tejeros Convention. Bonifacio diisolved the convention after Daniel Tirona, an associate of Emilio Aguinaldo, questioned his professional credibility as the director of the interior without a Lawyer’s diploma. Aguinaldo’s group won and considered Bonifacio and his men enemies of the revolution. May 10, 1897. Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were excuted in Mt. Tala, Cavite after an unjust trial headed by General.

    Mariano Noriel, an associate of Emilio Aguinaldo. April 23, 1897. A new Spanish Governor named Fernando Primo de Rivera arrived in Manila for the purpose of minimizing the thriving rebellion of the Filipinos. He issued a decree to grant pardon to those who would surrender to the Spanish government. December 15, 1897. Primo de Rivera and Pedro Paterno signed the Truce of Biak-na-Bato allowing a temporary ceasefire between the Spanish and the Filipinos. December 27, 1897. Aguinaldo and his associates voluntarily moved to Hongkong for the amount of P800,000. January 20, 1898.

    Periodic battles between the Filipinos and the Spaniards erupted due to mutual suspicion. General Francisco Makabulos of Tarlac established a provisional goverment. The arrest and imprisonment of suspected rebels continued and despite the Truce, the revolution persisted.

    April 25, 1898. The United States declared war against Spain ordering Commodore George Dewy to attack the Spanish fleet in the Philippines. May 1, 1898 -Manila Bay turned into a massive battle field between United States and Spain. The Americans defeated the Spanish fleet led by Admiral Patricio Montojo. June 12, 1898 -General Emilio Aguinaldo, who had returned from Hongkong, proclaimed Philippine independence at his mansion in Kawit, Cavite. August 13, 1898 -A mock battle between the Spanish and the Americans occured forbidding the participation of Filipino soldiers.

    SPANISH INFLUENCES ON PHILIPPINE LITERATURE Due to the long period of colonization of the Philippines by the Spaniards, they have exerted a strong influence on our literature.

    • The first Filipino alphabet called ALIBATA was replaced by the Roman Alphabet.
    • Literature was used as tool for religious conquest.
    • The teaching of the Christian Doctrine became the basis of religious practices.
    • The Spanish language which became the literary language during this time lent many of its words to our language.
    • European legends and traditions brought here became assimilated in our songs, corridos, and moro-moros.
    • Ancient literature was collected and translated to Tagalog and other dialects.
    • Many grammar books were printed in Filipino, like Tagalog, Ilocano and Visayan
    • Our periodicals during these times gained a religious tone.
    • The friars produced a variety of religious manuals, grammar books, and dictionaries in the vernacular intended for friar missions
    • Spanish missionaries utilized the stage to propagate the Christian religion
    • Literature was predominantly religious and moral in character and tone.

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