Chapter 9: The Philippines
The Philippines, formally the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelago in Southeast Asia, comprising about 7000 islands bordering the Western Pacific Ocean and situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire between about 5 and 20 degrees north latitude. It is resource-rich, but vulnerable to earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters. The population of the Philippines is about 100 million. Religiously, the population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic of varied ethnicity. The Philippines is a political democracy. In some southern islands of the country, Muslims form the majority and therefore exercise some autonomy in political affairs. In modern colonial times, the Philippines has a long past dating to the sixteenth century when it was part of the Spanish East Indies. Hence, it has inherited complex, heavily European-influenced economic, social and political institutions, with English as the major external language supplementing Spanish and local languages. The Philippine Islands moved from the Spanish to the US sphere of influence at the end of the nineteenth century following the Spanish-American War (1898). Its recent political history dates from the end of World War II when it gained full independence from the United States. The United States still plays a key role in the economic, social and political affairs of the Philippines.
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