History Timeline 1940's

Troops from the United States and other Allied nations land on the beach at Normandy, France in 1944, beginning the western European invasion that would lead to defeat of Nazi Germany.

World War II, Invading Africa

U.S. Timeline - The 1940s

World War II

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  • Timeline

  • 1946 Detail

    July 4, 1946 - The island nation of the Philippines is given their independence by the United States. This ends four hundred and twenty-five years of dominance by the west.

    Philippine Independence

    Independence, a concept we sometimes take for granted, and rarely think of as us granting that status to someone else. While many in the Philippines think of their independence as June 12, 1898, the date when they were freed from the confines of Spain and which is today celebrated as their National Day of Independence, it was not until July 4, 1946, that the island nation of the Philippines was officially freed from any foreign power, the date granted in the Bill of Independence signed by President Roosevelt prior to World War II. And this signalled the end of over four hundred years of subjugation to some foreign entity for the 7,641 islands that today make up the Republic of the Philippines.

    So, how did the islands lose their sovereignty four hundred and twenty-five years ago? And how did they get it back?

    They lost it with the arrival of Magellan on March 16, 1521. Yes, as Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the world for Spain, even though he was Portuguese, he happened to stop by Homonhan in Eastern Samar on the east side of the Gulf of Leyte. Devoid of food and needing supplies of all kinds, the three surviving ships of the expedition landed on the uninhabited island. They were detected, however, by the boats of an ally to the ruler of Cebu, who guided them to the populated province. Within forty years of this first contact, there would be a Spanish settlement on the island and a three hundred year rule by Spain would begin.

    Timeline of Philippine Foreign Rule

    March 16, 1521 - Ferdinand Magellan arrives on uninhabited island of Homonhan.
    April 7, 1521 - Rajah Culambu, an ally of the Datu of Cebu, guides Magellan to Cebu.
    April 1544 - Spanish explorer, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, names the islands, Las Islas Filipinas, after Philip II.
    April 27, 1565 - Miguel Lopez de Legazpi becomes the first Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies after establishing the first permanent settlement, on this date, in Cebu.
    June 6, 1570 - Spanish conquer the Kingdom of Manila with Manila becoming its capital.
    1599 - Philippine referendum by natives agree that Spanish soveignty over the islands exists.

    August 30, 1896 - Philippine Revolution now underway with the revolt involving eight provinces. State of war declared by Governor-General Ramon Blanco, instituting martial law. Armed rebels, Katipunan, under the independence movement of Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, gain control of some territory and within one year sign a Pact of Biak-na-Bato, reducing hostilities.
    April 21, 1898 - U.S. establish blockade of Cuba, first act of the Spanish-American War.
    May 1, 1898 - Battle of Manila Bay begins with Commodore Dewey and the American fleet defeating the Spanish.
    May 19, 1898 - Emilio Aguinaldo returns from exile to take control of Philippine independence forces.
    June 12, 1898 - Aguinaldo issues Philippine Declaration of Independence.
    August 13, 1898 - Mock Battle of Manila staged between Generals of the U.S. and Spanish fleets to prevent Aguinaldo from becoming official government of the Philippines, instead, through peace protocol, allowing the United States to take control for $20 million.

    February 4, 1899 - Philippine-American War begins with Battle of Manila between Philippine forces (15,000), who disagreed with the terms of the Treaty of Paris, and the United States (19,000). U.S. Victory.
    June 2, 1899 - Philippine Republic Government declares war on United States.
    July 2, 1902 - Philippine- American War ends with United States victory. Limited self-government granted the same year.
    August 29, 1916 - Philippine Autonomy Act establishes the intent of the United States to eventually grant the Philippines their independence.
    March 24, 1934 - Philippine Independence Act enacted, establishing a process for the colony to become independent within ten years. Eventually postponed for two years during World War II.

    Photo above: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing papers for Philippine Independence, circa 1933-4. Photo by Harris & Ewing, courtesy Library of Congress. Image below: Lithograph of the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898, by Kurz and Allison, courtesy Library of Congress.

    Philippine Independence

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