Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam
Chapter 8: The Philippines
Joseph Anthony Y. Lim Pre-war economic history The Philippines was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years from around 1565 to 1570 (the conquest period) to 1898. Spain subjugated a diverse and divided set of peoples ranging from large Muslim societies to scattered animist tribes in both upland and lowland areas. The Spanish colonial authorities and friars ruling the land vigorously eﬀected the Catholicization of the country, but hardly educated the main bulk of the population. Economically, the archipelago, especially the main port of Manila, was initially used in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries as the Asian end of the Manila– Mexico galleon trade, where exotic products from China and other parts of the Far East were traded with Spanish and Latin American products. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Philippines participated in international trade with the Spaniards, forcing the natives to produce tobacco, sugar and coconut products. The Spaniards implemented a feudal landed system, initially administered by friars and Spanish colonial authorities, but which in the late nineteenth century began to be leased and managed by Spanish and Chinese mestizos (people who have a mixture of Spanish/Chinese and Filipino native blood). These mestizos were used by the Spanish authorities and friars as the educated Filipino elite class to help to administer the natives. Many peasant landholdings were either appropriated through land grabbing, indebtedness or sold to the elite class. The feudal landed system became the precursor of the current unequal land system in the Philippines...
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