Philippine National Liberation Revolution of 1896–98

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Philippine National Liberation Revolution of 1896–98


(also Philippine Revolution), a bourgeois democratic revolution that ended the domination of the Spanish colonialists in the Philippines.

In 1892 the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary league headed by A. Bonifacio and E. Jacinto, was formed. Reflecting the aspirations of the broad masses, it undertook the preparation of an armed uprising against Spanish rule. In August 1896, at Bonifacio’s appeal, the uprising began. Several regions in central Luzon and to the south of Manila passed into the hands of the Katipunan; western Luzon was engulfed by the rebellion as well.

The rebels were joined by members of the bourgeois landowning circles, led by E. Aguinaldo. On Mar. 22, 1897, the rebel leaders met in the city of Tejeros and proclaimed an independent Philippine republic, with Aguinaldo as president and chief of state. Seeking to monopolize leadership of the movement, the Aguinaldo faction succeeded in having the Katipunan disbanded, and on May 10, Bonifacio was shot on Aguinaldo’s orders. Aguinaldo’s followers began leaning toward a compromise with Spain. Meanwhile, on Nov. 1, 1897, in the town of Biac-na-Bató, representatives of the insurgent detachments met and adopted a provisional constitution for an independent Philippines. On November 18 the Spanish governor-general, Primo de Rivera, and a representative of Aguinaldo signed an agreement calling for an end to the uprising [seeBIAC-NA-BATÓ PACT (1897)]. On December 27, Aguinaldo and his staff left for Hong Kong.

In February 1898, military actions against the Spanish were resumed by rebels who were dissatisfied with the agreement signed by Aguinaldo. F. Makabulos was one of the leaders of the new uprising.

In April 1898 the USA went to war in order to seize the Spanish colonies (seeSPANISH-AMERICAN WAR OF 1898). Seeking to enlist the Philippine patriots as allies, the USA guaranteed, even before hostilities began, that the Philippines would be granted independence after the islands had been liberated. On June 12, 1898, in Cavite, the patriots again proclaimed the Philippines independent. Aguinaldo, who had returned, assumed leadership of the rebel forces and became head of the revolutionary government, which was established on June 23. The rebels liberated nearly all the Philippine archipelago from Spanish control and, together with American forces, besieged Manila. On August 13, in accordance with an agreement made with the Spanish commanding officer, American troops entered Manila without opposition.

On Sept. 15, 1898, a revolutionary congress met in the city of Malolos. It adopted a constitution, which became effective on Jan. 21, 1899, and which proclaimed the formation of the Philippine Republic (also known as the Malolos Republic). Soon thereafter the USA violated its promises of independence by declaring its intention of annexing the Philippines. Under the Treaty of Paris, which was concluded on December 10 and ended the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the USA for $20 million. On Feb. 4, 1899, the American command launched an attack against the Philippines, thereby initiating the Philippine War of 1899–1901. The war ended with the defeat of the republican army and the establishment of an American colonial regime in the Philippines.


Guber, A. A. Filippinskaia respublika 1898 g. i amerikanskii imperializm, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Agoncillo, T. The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. Quezon City, 1956.
Agoncillo, T. Malolos: The Crisis of the Republic. Quezon City, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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