Historical Events in the Philippines During the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years


The Spanish governor, made a viceroy in 1589, ruled with the counsel of the powerful royal audiencia.


Spanish rule on the Philippines was briefly interrupted in 1762, when British troops invaded and occupied the islands as a result of Spain’s entry into the Seven Years’ War. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 brought back Spanish rule and the British left in 1764. The brief British occupation weakened Spain’s grip on power and sparked rebellions and demands for independence.

1778 and 1793

The Philippines fought an expensive war against Muslim raiders between 1778 and 1793.


The Philippines prohibited foreigners from retail business in 1828.


Manila was opened to world trade in 1834.


Gunboats bought from the British were used to defeat the Muslims on Mindanao in 1848.


In 1869 a new Spanish constitution brought to the Philippines universal suffrage and a free press.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cut travel time to Spain. This prompted the rise of the ilustrados, an enlightened Filipino upper class, since many young Filipinos were able to study in Europe.


After the Dominicans expelled his family from Calamba, Rizal’s 1891 novel El Filibusterismo was a stronger call for revolution but also a warning against violence.

1897-1899 (Sabbatical and Jubilee Years)

The Philippine Revolution began in 1896. Rizal was concerned in the outbreak of the revolution and executed for treason in 1896. The Katipunan split into two groups, Magdiwang led by Andrés Bonifacio and Magdalo led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Conflict between the two revolutionary leaders ended in the execution or assassination of Bonifacio by Aguinaldo’s soldiers. Aguinaldo agreed to a treaty with the Pact of Biak na Bato and Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were exiled to Hong Kong.

It was the opposition to the power of the clergy that in large measure brought about the rising attitude for independence. Spanish injustices, prejudice, and economic oppressions fed the movement, which was greatly inspired by the brilliant writings of José Rizal. In 1896 revolution began in the province of Cavite, and after the execution of Rizal that December, it spread throughout the major islands. The Filipino leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, achieved considerable success before a peace was patched up with Spain. The peace was short-lived, however, for neither side honored its agreements, and a new revolution was made when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898.

The Spanish-American war started in 1898 after the USS Maine, sent to Cuba in connection with an attempt to arrange a peaceful resolution between Cuban independence ambitions and Spanish colonialism, was sunk in Havana harbor. After the U.S. naval victory led by Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, the U.S. invited Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines, which he did on May 19, 1898, in the hope he would rally Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken control of the entire island of Luzon, except for the walled city of Intramuros Manila, which they were besieging. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines in Kawit, Cavite, establishing the First Philippine Republic under Asia’s first democratic constitution. Their dreams of independence were crushed when the Philippines were transferred from Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898), which closed the Spanish-American War.


200,000 Filipinos died in 1902-04 in a cholera epidemic.

1946-1948 (Sabbatical and Jubilee Years)

Following occupation by the Japanese in World War II, the Philippines gained independence in 1946.

With help from the rich and the Americans, the Liberal party won the election on April 23, 1946 and excluded the six elected from the DA. The US withheld aid until July 4 when the Philippines accepted a trade agreement that favored the Americans and was declared independent. In 1947 McNutt secured 99-year leases on 22 military installations for the US. In March 1948 President Roxas outlawed the Hukbalahaps, but he died of a heart attack on April 15.


In January 1981, after being reelected to another six years as president through fraudulent balloting, Marcos appeared to make new efforts to move the country toward economic stability.  He ended martial law, which had hampered domestic commerce and foreign investment in the country since 1972, and continued with his development plans, including the construction of new plants for steel, phosphate, cement, diesel engines, and petrochemicals.  He also sought to reduce dependence on foreign oil by building nuclear and geothermal electric power plants.

1997 (Jubilee Year)

Asian Financial Crisis


The Great Recession

Historical Events in the Philippines During the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years

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