Philippine history outline

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This is the Philippine history outline page. It serves as the take-off point for browsing through this site's articles, sub-outline pages, and other materials on Philippine history, from the pre-Spanish era to the current period. You might want to bookmark it for easier revisits.

For a decade-by-decade and (starting in 1898) a year-by-year review of significant dates in Philippine history, you can also browse through specific decades and years in the General chronology of events in Philippine history.


Philippine prehistory

  • Theories and evidence on the peopling of the Philippines
  • The probable stages of pre-Spanish social development
  • Pre-Spanish Luzon
  • Pre-Spanish Visayas
  • Pre-Spanish Mindanao-Sulu
  • Pre-Spanish external influences

Early Spanish colonial period (1521-1750)

This is the period of Spanish exploration and colonization of the Philippine islands. It may be tentatively divided into three phases:

Spanish exploration and initial colonization (1521-1571)

  • Successive Spanish expeditions to the islands

Expansion and consolidation of Spanish rule (1571-1650s)

  • Imposition of the Spanish colonial system in key areas; pacification strategies
  • The feudal encomienda system; start and growth of the galleon trade (1565 onwards)
  • Revolts from the Dagami revolt (1567) to the Sumuroy revolt (1650)
  • Moro wars from 1569 (Battle of Cebu) to 1650 (Sultan Kudarat)

Deepening of Spanish rule (1650s-1750)

This is a period during which the Spanish regime deepened its hold over widening areas of the country, excepting vast unsubjugated territories in Mindanao, Northern Luzon, and smaller interior pockets in other parts of Luzon and Visayan islands.

Middle Spanish colonial period (1750-1850)

This is the period of the maturing colonial and feudal system under Spanish rule, triggered by the rise of industrial capitalism in Europe, which in turn led to major shifts in Spanish policy on its Philippine colony.

  • The rise of the hacienda system and the principalia class
  • Decline of the encomienda system
  • Peak and decline of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade
  • Opening of the Philippine economy to world trade
  • Establishment of government monopolies in tobacco, wine
  • British invasion, major revolts in the 1760s
  • Economic and political reforms
  • Spread of liberalism

Late Spanish period (1850-1898)

This is the period of the rapid decline of the Spanish colonial and feudal system in the Philippines.

Philippine revolution against Spanish rule (1896-1898)

This period covers the first two phases of the First Philippine Revolution:

Phase 1 of the revolution (1896-97)

from the outbreak of the Katipunan-led armed uprising in 1896 to the Peace of Biak-na-Bato

Phase 2 of the revolution

from the outbreak of the Spanish-American war in 1898 and the resumption of the armed struggle, to the Battle of Manila and the uneasy peace that followed.

Philippine war against US occupation (1899-1906)

This period covers the last two phases of the First Philippine Revolution:

Phase 3 (1899-1901)

This phase covers events from the outbreak of the Philippine-American war in 1899, the ensuing battles and retreat of the main forces of the revolutionary army to Northern Luzon, to the establishment of US civilian government and the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901.

Phase 4 (1901-06)

This phase covers the continuing formal armed resistance and strategic shift to guerrilla warfare, and the brutal US counter-insurgency campaign until the surrender of Gen. Macario Sakay in 1906. It also covers the start of the repressive US laws and other measures against the continuing nationalist sentiments and movements among the people.

US colonial rule (1901-1941)

This period covers major events during the early, middle, and late (Commonwealth) phases of direct US rule. These include various armed and unarmed resistance movements of the Filipino people against US colonial and semi-feudal rule.

US colonial rule, early phase (1901-1915)

In this phase, the US colonial regime completed its subjugation of the Philippines and consolidated its control over the the entire country.

  • Establishment of civilian government
  • Suppression of nationalist movements and pockets of armed resistance
  • Filipino participation via local governments, electoral parties, Philippine Assembly

US colonial rule, middle phase (1915-1935)

  • Impact of World War I and global crisis
  • Jones Law of 1916
  • Filipinization of the bureaucracy
  • Establishment and growth of US-Philippine free trade
  • Continuing nationalist agitation, labor and agrarian unrest; the Colorum, Tayug, Sakdalista revolts
  • CPP establishment and illegalization

Philippine Commonwealth period (1935-1941)

This period covers the short-lived Philippine Commonwealth as mandated by the 1935 Philippine constitution, and the preparations for the approaching world war.

World War II period (1941-1945)

This is the period of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and the Filipino people's anti-Japanese resistance. It may be divided into the following sub-periods and components:

Early post-war period (1945-1965)

This period covers the succeeding administrations of Roxas, Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia and Macapagal.

This period also covers the entirety of the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) insurgency led by the old CPP-SPP merger party, which shifted from parliamentary struggle in 1946 to armed struggle from 1948 to the late 1950s, when it again reverted back to parliamentary struggle.

Marcos period (1966-1986)

This period covers the following sub-periods:

The Marcos period also covers much of the reemergence and dramatic rise of the CPP-led revolutionary movement, as well as other armed and legal movements. This process may be divided into the following phases:

  • Development of the KM and Leftist mass movements (1964-1967, after their reemergence in the early 1960s)
  • Establishment and rapid expansion of the CPP-NPA (1968-1972) and the First Quarter Storm (1970-1972)
  • Early years of the anti-Marcos dictatorship movement (1972-1981)
  • Rapid expansion of the anti-dictatorship movement (1981-1986)

Post-Marcos period (1986-present)

This period covers the Aquino I, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino II administrations.

This period also covers the continuing revolutionary and insurgency movements as well as open mass movements against the successive regimes of the Philippine government.