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1872 Cavite mutiny

The Cavite mutiny of 1872 was an uprising of Filipino military personnel of Fort San Felipe, the Spanish
arsenal in Cavite,[1]:107 Philippine Islands (then also known as part of the Spanish East Indies) on
January 20, 1872. Around 200 locally recruited colonial troops and laborers rose up in the belief that it
would elevate to a national uprising. The mutiny was unsuccessful, and government soldiers executed
many of the participants and began to crack down on a burgeoning Philippines nationalist movement.
Many scholars believe that the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 was the beginning of Filipino nationalism that
would eventually lead to the Philippine Revolution of 1896.[2]

Cavite mutiny

Part of the Philippine revolts against Spain

Cavite Mutiny of 1872 historical marker in Cavite City.jpg

"Ang Pag-aaklas sa Kabite ng 1872" historical marker for the Cavite mutiny at Fort San Felipe in Cavite
City, 1872

Date January 20, 1872

Location Fort San Felipe, Cavite, Spanish East Indies (Philippine Islands)


Spanish victory

Execution of Gomburza

Forced exile of many Philippine liberals to Hong Kong, Japan, Marianas and other places.

Beginning of Filipino nationalism leading to the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and later the Philippine–
American War (1899–1902)


Kingdom of Spain

Spanish Empire

Flag of the Cavite Mutiny.svg Filipino workers and military personnel

Commanders and leaders

Felipe Ginoves

Flag of the Cavite Mutiny.svg Ferdinand La Madrid


One regiment, four cannons

Around 200 soldiers and laborers

Causes Edit

The primary cause of the mutiny is believed to be an order from Governor-General Rafael de Izquierdo to
subject the soldiers of the Engineering and Artillery Corps to personal taxes, from which they were
previously exempt. The taxes required them to pay a monetary sum as well as to perform forced labor
called, polo y servicio. The mutiny was sparked on January 20, when the laborers received their pay and
realized the taxes as well as the falla, the fine one paid to be exempt from forced labor, had been
deducted from their salaries.

Battle Edit

Their leader was Fernando La Madrid, a mestizo sergeant with his second in command Jaerel Brent
Pedro, a moreno. They seized Fort San Felipe and killed eleven Spanish officers. The mutineers thought
that fellow Filipino indigenous soldiers in Manila would join them in a concerted uprising, the signal
being the firing of rockets from the city walls on that night.[1]:107 Unfortunately, what they thought to
be the signal was actually a burst of fireworks in celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Loreto, the
patron of Sampaloc. News of the mutiny reached Manila, the Spanish authorities feared for a massive
Filipino uprising. The next day, a regiment led by General Felipe Ginovés besieged the fort until the
mutineers surrendered. Ginovés then ordered his troops to fire at those who surrendered, including La
Madrid. The rebels were formed in a line, when Colonel Sabas asked who would not cry out, "Viva
España", and shot the one man who stepped forward.[1]:107 The remainder were sent to prison.[1]:107

Aftermath Edit

In the immediate aftermath of the mutiny, some Filipino soldiers were disarmed and later sent into exile
on the southern island of Mindanao. Those suspected of directly supporting the mutineers were
arrested and executed. The mutiny was used by the colonial government and Spanish friars to implicate
three secular priests, Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, collectively known as Gomburza.
They were executed by garrote on the Luneta field, also known in the Tagalog language as Bagumbayan,
on 17th February 1872.[1]:107 These executions, particularly those of the Gomburza, were to have a
significant effect on people because of the shadowy nature of the trials. José Rizal, whose brother
Paciano was a close friend of Burgos, dedicated his work, El filibusterismo, to these three priests.
On January 27, 1872, Governor-General Rafael Izquierdo approved the death sentences on forty-one of
the mutineers. On February 6, eleven more were sentenced to death, but these were later commuted to
life imprisonment. Others were exiled to other islands of the colonial Spanish East Indies such as Guam,
Mariana Islands, including the father of Pedro Paterno, Maximo Paterno, Antonio M. Regidor y Jurado,
and José María Basa.[1]:107–108 The most important group created a colony of Filipino expatriates in
Europe, particularly in the Spanish capital of Madrid and Barcelona, where they were able to create
small insurgent associations and print publications that were to advance the claims of the seeding
Philippine Revolution.

Finally, a decree was made, stating there were to be no further ordinations /appointments of Filipinos as
Roman Catholic parish priests.[1]:107 In spite of the mutiny, the Spanish authorities continued to employ
large numbers of native Filipino troops, carabineros and civil guards in their colonial forces through the
1870s–1890s until the Spanish–American War of 1898.[3]

Back story Edit

During the short trial, the captured mutineers testified against José Burgos. The state witness, Francisco
Saldua, declared that he had been told by one of the Basa brothers that the government of Father
Burgos would bring a navy fleet of the United States to assist a revolution with which Ramón Maurente,
the supposed field marshal, was financing with 50,000 pesos. The heads of the friar orders held a
conference and decided to dispose Burgos by implicating him to a plot. One Franciscan friar disguised as
Burgos and suggested a mutiny to the mutineers. The senior friars used an una fuerte suma de dinero or
a banquet to convince Governor-General Rafael de Izquierdo that Burgos was the mastermind of the
coup. Gómez and Zamora were close associates of Burgos, so they too were included in the allegations.

See also Edit

Philippine revolts against Spain

Fort San Felipe (Cavite)


References Edit

Foreman, J., 1906, The set course for her patrol area off the northeastern coast of the main Japanese
island Honshū. She arrived, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
Chandler, David P. In search of Southeast Asia: a modern history. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-

Field, Ron. Spanish–American War 1898. pp. 98–99. ISBN 1-85753-272-4.

External links




WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica




Fletcher Christian



Maritime law

Military law

Mutiny, any overt act of defiance or attack upon military (including naval) authority by two or more
persons subject to such authority. The term is occasionally used to describe nonmilitary instances of
defiance or attack—such as mutiny on board a merchant ship or a rising of slaves in a state in which
slavery is recognized by law or custom. Mutiny should be distinguished from revolt or rebellion, which
involve a more widespread defiance and which generally have a political objective.
Mutiny was regarded as a most serious offense, especially aboard ships at sea. Because the safety of the
ship was thought to depend upon the submission of all persons on board to the will of the captain, wide
disciplinary powers were given to the commanding officer, including the power to inflict the death
penalty without a court-martial. With the development of radio communications, however, such
stringent penalties have become less necessary, and, under many current military codes, sentences for
mutiny can be passed only by court-martial.

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Fletcher Christian

Fletcher Christian, seaman and leading mutineer on HMS Bounty, under the command of William Bligh.

Indian troops during the Indian Mutiny.

Indian Mutiny

Indian Mutiny, widespread but unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in India in 1857–58. Begun


1872 Cavite Mutiny

Posted on September 5, 2012


By Chris Antonette Piedad-Pugay

The 12th of June of every year since 1898 is a very important event for all the Filipinos. In this
particular day, the entire Filipino nation as well as Filipino communities all over the world gathers to
celebrate the Philippines’ Independence Day. 1898 came to be a very significant year for all of us— it is
as equally important as 1896—the year when the Philippine Revolution broke out owing to the Filipinos’
desire to be free from the abuses of the Spanish colonial regime. But we should be reminded that
another year is as historic as the two—1872.

Two major events happened in 1872, first was the 1872 Cavite Mutiny and the other was the
martyrdom of the three martyr priests in the persons of Fathers Mariano Gomes, Jose Burgos and
Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA). However, not all of us knew that there were different accounts in
reference to the said event. All Filipinos must know the different sides of the story—since this event led
to another tragic yet meaningful part of our history—the execution of GOMBURZA which in effect a
major factor in the awakening of nationalism among the Filipinos.

1872 Cavite Mutiny: Spanish Perspective

Jose Montero y Vidal, a prolific Spanish historian documented the event and highlighted it as an
attempt of the Indios to overthrow the Spanish government in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Gov. Gen.
Rafael Izquierdo’s official report magnified the event and made use of it to implicate the native clergy,
which was then active in the call for secularization. The two accounts complimented and corroborated
with one other, only that the general’s report was more spiteful. Initially, both Montero and Izquierdo
scored out that the abolition of privileges enjoyed by the workers of Cavite arsenal such as non-payment
of tributes and exemption from force labor were the main reasons of the “revolution” as how they called
it, however, other causes were enumerated by them including the Spanish Revolution which overthrew
the secular throne, dirty propagandas proliferated by unrestrained press, democratic, liberal and
republican books and pamphlets reaching the Philippines, and most importantly, the presence of the
native clergy who out of animosity against the Spanish friars, “conspired and supported” the rebels and
enemies of Spain. In particular, Izquierdo blamed the unruly Spanish Press for “stockpiling” malicious
propagandas grasped by the Filipinos. He reported to the King of Spain that the “rebels” wanted to
overthrow the Spanish government to install a new “hari” in the likes of Fathers Burgos and Zamora. The
general even added that the native clergy enticed other participants by giving them charismatic
assurance that their fight will not fail because God is with them coupled with handsome promises of
rewards such as employment, wealth, and ranks in the army. Izquierdo, in his report lambasted the
Indios as gullible and possessed an innate propensity for stealing.

The two Spaniards deemed that the event of 1872 was planned earlier and was thought of it as a big
conspiracy among educated leaders, mestizos, abogadillos or native lawyers, residents of Manila and
Cavite and the native clergy. They insinuated that the conspirators of Manila and Cavite planned to
liquidate high-ranking Spanish officers to be followed by the massacre of the friars. The alleged pre-
concerted signal among the conspirators of Manila and Cavite was the firing of rockets from the walls of

According to the accounts of the two, on 20 January 1872, the district of Sampaloc celebrated the
feast of the Virgin of Loreto, unfortunately participants to the feast celebrated the occasion with the
usual fireworks displays. Allegedly, those in Cavite mistook the fireworks as the sign for the attack, and
just like what was agreed upon, the 200-men contingent headed by Sergeant Lamadrid launched an
attack targeting Spanish officers at sight and seized the arsenal.

When the news reached the iron-fisted Gov. Izquierdo, he readily ordered the reinforcement of the
Spanish forces in Cavite to quell the revolt. The “revolution” was easily crushed when the expected
reinforcement from Manila did not come ashore. Major instigators including Sergeant Lamadrid were
killed in the skirmish, while the GOMBURZA were tried by a court-martial and were sentenced to die by
strangulation. Patriots like Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, Antonio Ma. Regidor, Jose and Pio Basa and other
abogadillos were suspended by the Audencia (High Court) from the practice of law, arrested and were
sentenced with life imprisonment at the Marianas Island. Furthermore, Gov. Izquierdo dissolved the
native regiments of artillery and ordered the creation of artillery force to be composed exclusively of the

On 17 February 1872 in an attempt of the Spanish government and Frailocracia to instill fear among
the Filipinos so that they may never commit such daring act again, the GOMBURZA were executed. This
event was tragic but served as one of the moving forces that shaped Filipino nationalism.

A Response to Injustice: The Filipino Version of the Incident

Dr. Trinidad Hermenigildo Pardo de Tavera, a Filipino scholar and researcher, wrote the Filipino
version of the bloody incident in Cavite. In his point of view, the incident was a mere mutiny by the
native Filipino soldiers and laborers of the Cavite arsenal who turned out to be dissatisfied with the
abolition of their privileges. Indirectly, Tavera blamed Gov. Izquierdo’s cold-blooded policies such as the
abolition of privileges of the workers and native army members of the arsenal and the prohibition of the
founding of school of arts and trades for the Filipinos, which the general believed as a cover-up for the
organization of a political club.

On 20 January 1872, about 200 men comprised of soldiers, laborers of the arsenal, and residents of
Cavite headed by Sergeant Lamadrid rose in arms and assassinated the commanding officer and Spanish
officers in sight. The insurgents were expecting support from the bulk of the army unfortunately, that
didn’t happen. The news about the mutiny reached authorities in Manila and Gen. Izquierdo
immediately ordered the reinforcement of Spanish troops in Cavite. After two days, the mutiny was
officially declared subdued.

Tavera believed that the Spanish friars and Izquierdo used the Cavite Mutiny as a powerful lever by
magnifying it as a full-blown conspiracy involving not only the native army but also included residents of
Cavite and Manila, and more importantly the native clergy to overthrow the Spanish government in the
Philippines. It is noteworthy that during the time, the Central Government in Madrid announced its
intention to deprive the friars of all the powers of intervention in matters of civil government and the
direction and management of educational institutions. This turnout of events was believed by Tavera,
prompted the friars to do something drastic in their dire sedire to maintain power in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in the intention of installing reforms, the Central Government of Spain welcomed an
educational decree authored by Segismundo Moret promoted the fusion of sectarian schools run by the
friars into a school called Philippine Institute. The decree proposed to improve the standard of
education in the Philippines by requiring teaching positions in such schools to be filled by competitive
examinations. This improvement was warmly received by most Filipinos in spite of the native clergy’s
zest for secularization.

The friars, fearing that their influence in the Philippines would be a thing of the past, took advantage
of the incident and presented it to the Spanish Government as a vast conspiracy organized throughout
the archipelago with the object of destroying Spanish sovereignty. Tavera sadly confirmed that the
Madrid government came to believe that the scheme was true without any attempt to investigate the
real facts or extent of the alleged “revolution” reported by Izquierdo and the friars.
Convicted educated men who participated in the mutiny were sentenced life imprisonment while
members of the native clergy headed by the GOMBURZA were tried and executed by garrote. This
episode leads to the awakening of nationalism and eventually to the outbreak of Philippine Revolution of
1896. The French writer Edmund Plauchut’s account complimented Tavera’s account by confirming that
the event happened due to discontentment of the arsenal workers and soldiers in Cavite fort. The
Frenchman, however, dwelt more on the execution of the three martyr priests which he actually

Unraveling the Truth

Considering the four accounts of the 1872 Mutiny, there were some basic facts that remained to be
unvarying: First, there was dissatisfaction among the workers of the arsenal as well as the members of
the native army after their privileges were drawn back by Gen. Izquierdo; Second, Gen. Izquierdo
introduced rigid and strict policies that made the Filipinos move and turn away from Spanish
government out of disgust; Third, the Central Government failed to conduct an investigation on what
truly transpired but relied on reports of Izquierdo and the friars and the opinion of the public; Fourth,
the happy days of the friars were already numbered in 1872 when the Central Government in Spain
decided to deprive them of the power to intervene in government affairs as well as in the direction and
management of schools prompting them to commit frantic moves to extend their stay and power; Fifth,
the Filipino clergy members actively participated in the secularization movement in order to allow
Filipino priests to take hold of the parishes in the country making them prey to the rage of the friars;
Sixth, Filipinos during the time were active participants, and responded to what they deemed as
injustices; and Lastly, the execution of GOMBURZA was a blunder on the part of the Spanish
government, for the action severed the ill-feelings of the Filipinos and the event inspired Filipino patriots
to call for reforms and eventually independence. There may be different versions of the event, but one
thing is certain, the 1872 Cavite Mutiny paved way for a momentous 1898.

The road to independence was rough and tough to toddle, many patriots named and unnamed shed
their bloods to attain reforms and achieve independence. 12 June 1898 may be a glorious event for us,
but we should not forget that before we came across to victory, our forefathers suffered enough. As
weenjoy our freeedom, may we be more historically aware of our past to have a better future ahead of
us. And just like what Elias said in Noli me Tangere, may we “not forget those who fell during the night.”