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Today in History, June 12th

Today in History, June 12th

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  • AmyW AmyW's Avatar 06-12-06 | 08:25 AM
    June 12, 1898[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="4"]During the Spanish-American War, Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo
    proclaim the independence of the Philippines after 300 years of Spanish rule. By
    mid-August, Filipino rebels and U.S. troops had ousted the Spanish, but
    Aguinaldo's hopes for independence were dashed when the United States formally
    annexed the Philippines as part of its peace treaty with Spain.The Philippines,
    a large island archipelago situated off Southeast Asia, was colonized by the
    Spanish in the latter part of the 16th century. Opposition to Spanish rule began
    among Filipino priests, who resented Spanish domination of the Roman Catholic
    churches in the islands. In the late 19th century, Filipino intellectuals and
    the middle class began calling for independence. In 1892, the Katipunan, a
    secret revolutionary society, was formed in Manila, the Philippine capital on
    the island of Luzon. Membership grew dramatically, and in August 1896 the
    Spanish uncovered the Katipunan's plans for rebellion, forcing premature action
    from the rebels. Revolts broke out across Luzon, and in March 1897, 28-year-old
    Emilio Aguinaldo became leader of the rebellion.By late 1897, the
    revolutionaries had been driven into the hills southeast of Manila, and
    Aguinaldo negotiated an agreement with the Spanish. In exchange for financial
    compensation and a promise of reform in the Philippines, Aguinaldo and his
    generals would accept exile in Hong Kong. The rebel leaders departed, and the
    Philippine Revolution temporarily was at an end.In April 1898, the
    Spanish-American War broke out over Spain's brutal suppression of a rebellion in
    Cuba. The first in a series of decisive U.S. victories occurred on May 1, 1898,
    when the U.S. Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey annihilated the
    Spanish Pacific fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. From his
    exile, Aguinaldo made arrangements with U.S. authorities to return to the
    Philippines and assist the United States in the war against Spain. He landed on
    May 19, rallied his revolutionaries, and began liberating towns south of Manila.
    On June 12, he proclaimed Philippine independence and established a provincial
    government, of which he subsequently became head.His rebels, meanwhile, had
    encircled the Spanish in Manila and, with the support of Dewey's squadron in
    Manila Bay, would surely have conquered the Spanish. Dewey, however, was waiting
    for U.S. ground troops, which began landing in July and took over the Filipino
    positions surrounding Manila. On August 8, the Spanish commander informed the
    United States that he would surrender the city under two conditions: The United
    States was to make the advance into the capital look like a battle, and under no
    conditions were the Filipino rebels to be allowed into the city. On August 13,
    the mock Battle of Manila was staged, and the Americans kept their promise to
    keep the Filipinos out after the city passed into their hands.While the
    Americans occupied Manila and planned peace negotiations with Spain, Aguinaldo
    convened a revolutionary assembly, the Malolos, in September. They drew up a
    democratic constitution, the first ever in Asia, and a government was formed
    with Aguinaldo as president in January 1899. On February 4, what became known as
    the Philippine Insurrection began when Filipino rebels and U.S. troops
    skirmished inside American lines in Manila. Two days later, the U.S. Senate
    voted by one vote to ratify the Treaty of Paris with Spain. The Philippines were
    now a U.S. territory, acquired in exchange for $20 million in compensation to
    the Spanish.In response, Aguinaldo formally launched a new revolt--this time
    against the United States. The rebels, consistently defeated in the open field,
    turned to guerrilla warfare, and the U.S. Congress authorized the deployment of
    60,000 troops to subdue them. By the end of 1899, there were 65,000 U.S. troops
    in the Philippines, but the war dragged on. Many anti-imperialists in the United
    States, such as Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan,
    opposed U.S. annexation of the Philippines, but in November 1900 Republican
    incumbent William McKinley was reelected, and the war continued.On March 23,
    1901, in a daring operation, U.S. General Frederick Funston and a group of
    officers, pretending to be prisoners, surprised Aguinaldo in his stronghold in
    the Luzon village of Palanan and captured the rebel leader. Aguinaldo took an
    oath of allegiance to the United States and called for an end to the rebellion,
    but many of his followers fought on. During the next year, U.S. forces gradually
    pacified the Philippines. In an infamous episode, U.S. forces on the island of
    Samar retaliated against the massacre of a U.S. garrison by killing all men on
    the island above the age of 10. Many women and young children were also
    butchered. General Jacob Smith, who directed the atrocities, was court-martialed
    and forced to retire for turning Samar, in his words, into a "howling
    wilderness."In 1902, an American civil government took over administration of
    the Philippines, and the three-year Philippine insurrection was declared to be
    at an end. Scattered resistance, however, persisted for several years.More than
    4,000 Americans perished suppressing the Philippines--more than 10 times the
    number killed in the Spanish-American War. More than 20,000 Filipino insurgents
    were killed, and an unknown number of civilians perished.In 1935, the
    Commonwealth of the Philippines was established with U.S. approval, and Manuel
    Quezon was elected the country's first president. On July 4, 1946, full
    independence was granted to the Republic of the Philippines by the United

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