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The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator

makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with
abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The
Philippines has an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi),[4][5] according to the
Philippines Statistical Authority and the WorldBank and, as of 2015, had a
population of at least 100 million.[7] As of January 2018, it was the eighth-most
populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world.
Approximately 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas,[20] comprising one of
the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found
throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the
archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of
Austronesian peoples.[21] Exchanges with Chinese, Malay, and Indian nations
occurred. Then, various competing maritime states were established under the rule
of datus, rajahs, sultans or lakans.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the
Spanish, in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic
colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the
archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of
Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in
the archipelago was established.[22] The Philippines became part of the Spanish
Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Catholicism becoming the dominant
religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific
trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons.[23]

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the Philippine Revolution quickly
followed, which then spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, followed by
the bloody Philippine–American War.[24] Aside from the period of Japanese
occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until after
World War II, when the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since
then, the unitary sovereign state has often had a tumultuous experience with
democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent
revolution.[25]

It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization,


Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
forum, and the East Asia Summit. It also hosts the headquarters of the Asian
Development Bank.[26] The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a
newly industrialized country,[27] which has an economy transitioning from being
based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing.[28] Along
with East Timor, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's predominantly Christian
nations.