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The Philippines in

the 19th Century

By: Ms Syvel Jay T. Silvestre, MPM

At the end if the unit, the students will be able to:

1. Appraise the link between the individual and

2. Understand Jose Rizal in the context of his time.
3. Analyze the various social, political, economic
and cultural changes that occured in the 19th
Economy in 19th
Many scholars consider the 19th century as
an era of profound change in the
Philippines. During this period, vast
economic, political, social, and cultural
currents were felt.
Jose de Basco y
He is the first Governor-
General who arrived in
the Philippines under the
Bourbon mandate after
the shift from Habsburgs
By the time Basco arrived, the Galleon Trade
which was a form of trade between the
Philippines and Mexico. The galleons would
sail to Mexico loaded with goods and return to
the Philippines carrying the payment in silver.

The galleon which was the main economic

institution existing in the Philippines, was
already a losing enterprise.
Basco then viewed greater
opportunity into the
agricultural potential of
the Philippines by being
harnessing the agricultural
products which
established the Royal
Philippine Company in
Royal Philippine
The company fraught with issues of mismanagement
and corruption with the resistant of the Catholic
Church who are still holding in to the Galleon Trade.

Basco lifted a ban on Chinese merchants that:

a. reinvigorated internal trade;

b. initialize the development of cash crop farms;
c. policies that opened Manila to foreign markets;
d. established the Tobacco Monopoly
Mexican War
By 1810, the Mexican War of
Independence rattled the
Spanish empire which led to
the loss of their precious Latin
American colonies that also
affected the Philippines and
the eventual closing of Royal
Philippine Company but
opened Manila to world trade
by 1834.
Opening of
World Trade
The opening of Manila to
world trade resulted to
foreign merchants and
traders to act as the
financing and facilitating of
the agricultural cash crop,
export-oriented economy
through their major investors
from British and America.
By the first half of the 19th century, majority of
the exports of the Philippines came from cash
crops like tobacco, sugar, cotton, indigo,
abaca, and coffee.

As the provinces shifted to cultivating of cash

crops, land ownership and management
became the problem. The small
landowners/farmers felt the pressure while the
hacenderos grabbed the opportunity.
Pacto de Retroventa
It is an agreement that allowed a landowner to
sell his/her land with the guarantee that he/she
could buy the land back at the same price.
However, it became difficult to buy back tha
land sold to the hacenderos due to the
continous increase of demand of the economy
and the the renewals of the sale that buried the
farmers to indebtedness that made them forfeit
their land and become tenant farmer or
Land acquisition became a
form of land-grabbing.

As the growing economy

required better management
of lands, inquilinos
emerged, renting land to
sublet it to smaller farmers
which brough change to the
social stratification in the
The Chinese and
Chinese Meztizos
Chinese and Chinese Mestizos changed the
economy eversince the pre-colonial times as one of
our first traders even during the height of Galleon

The influx of Chinese settlements in the Philippines

made Spaniards suspicious which led to stringent
rate policies towards the sangley ranging from
higher taxes, the restrictionof movement with the
establishment of Chinese enclave or Parian, to
actual policies of expulsion.
Eventually and gradually,
Chinese became integrated
into colonial society, giving
rise to intermarriages with
indios that gave birth to
Chinese Mestizos that
influenced in the change in
the economy by purchasing
land, accumulating wealth
and influence.
Impact in the Life
in the Colony
The economic developments, precipitated
social, political, and cultural development as

The new economy demanded for a more

literate population that required all towns to set
up primary schools issued by the Colonial
Government Order in 1836 that soon
mandated free primary education through the
passage of an educationa decree in 1863.
Schools like Ateneo
Municipal is one of the
schools established due
to the growing demand
for more professionals.
He is the one who urged the
people in the colony to adopt
surnames. With the catalogos
de apellidos drawn up, that
gave people surnames and
forbade them to change it at
will. People should also have a
cedula personal bearing one’s
name and residence as one of
their surveillance mechanism
carried out by the guardia civil.
Society in 19th
The Philippine society felt the imoact of the
developing economy. As a result, social
relations underwent redifinitions and
changing dynamics brought about a
renegotiation of social stratification with the
growing relevance of the mestizo
Pure-blooded Spaniards born in thr Iberian
Peninsula (i.e., Spain)
Pure-blooded Spaniards born in the
Born of mixed parentage, a mestizo can
Spanish Mestizo- one parent is Spanish,
the other is a native; or
Chinese Mestizo- one parent is Chinese,
the other is a native
Wealthy pure-blooded native supposedly
descended from the kadatoan class.
Indio Pure-blooded native of the Philippines
Chino Infiel Non-Catholic pure-blooded Chinese
As the Spaniards lost economic power, they
asserted dominance by virtue of their race
that brought complications with the rising
principalia and mestizo populations were
the elites of the said population demanded
social recognition that the pure-blooded
Spaniards had consistently denied to them.
Politics in 19th
Spanish Colonial
a. From 1565- 1821, the Philippines was
indirectly governed by the King of Spain
through Mexico.

b. From 1821 when Mexico obtained

their freedom from Spain, to 1898, the
Philippines was ruled directly from Spain.
Government in the
Philippines Unitary
The government which Spain established in the
Philippines was centralized in structure and national in

The barangays were consolidated into towns or

pueblos headed by the governadorcillo (little
Governor)/ capitan.

Towns into provinces headed by a governor who

represented the Governor General in the province.
Spanish Centralized System
Provincias ( provinces) headed by the Alcalde
Cabildos (cities)
(municipalities) headed
headed by 2 Alcaldes
by Gobernadorcillos
Barrios (barangays) headed by Cabeza de
Governor General
Powers of the government were actually
exercised by the Governor-General who
resided in Manila. He had executive,
administrative, legislative, and judicial

The first Spanish Governor- General in

the Philippines was Miguel Lopez de
Legazpi (1565-1571)
Education System
in 19th Century
There are lots of criticisms
received in the educational
system of the Philippines in the
late 19th century. Below are the
Overemphasis on religious
- The power of religious orders remained one of the
great constants, over the centuries, of Spanish
colonial rule. The friars of the Augustinian,
Dominican, and Franciscan orders conducted many
of the executive and control functions of government
on the local level. They were responsible for
education and health measures. These missionaries
emphasized the teachings of the Catholic religion
starting from the primary level to the tertiary level of
Obsolete teaching methods

- Their methods are outdated.

Limited curriculum
- The students in the primary level were
taught the Christian Doctrines, the reading
of Spanish books and a little of the natives’
language. Science and Mathematics were
not very much taught to the students even in
the universities. Aside from the Christian
Doctrines taught, Latin was also taught to
the students instead of Spanish.
• Poor classroom facilities
• Absence of teaching materials
• Primary education was
Absence of academic freedom
- The absence of academic freedom in Spain’s
educational system was extended to the
schools that Spaniards established in the
Philippines. Learning in every level was largely
by rote. Students memorized and repeated the
contents of book which they did not understand.
In most cases knowledge was measured in the
ability of the students to memorize, largely
hampering intellectual progress.
Prejudice against Filipinos in the
schools of higher learning
- In entirety, education during the Spanish
regime was privileged only to Spanish students.
The supposed Philippine education was only a
means to remain in the Philippines as colonizers.
For this reason, the Filipinos became followers to
the Spaniards in their own country. Even
auspicious Filipinos became cronies, to the
extent that even their life styles were patterned
from the Spaniards.
Friars control over the system
- The friars controlled the educational
system during the Spanish times. They
owned different schools, ranging from the
primary level to the tertiary levels of
education. The missionaries took charge
in teaching, controlling and maintaining
the rules and regulations imposed to the
The Philippines, being part of the wider Spanish
empire, underwent changes when the Spanish
Crown also had a dynastic shift in the 18th
Century that gave birth to Bourbon reform that
brought new policies and economic
reorientation for the colonies which paved the
way to the opening of Manila to the world trade.
The development saw the emergence of
mestizos and principalia classes that asserted
their relevance to the society.
Thus, it is not surprising that mean like Jose
Rizal flourished in the 19th century that grew up
in a society in transitions and by the time he
matured, he could reap the benefits of the
changes that were happening. As he was
exposed to higher education, he would realize
that as much as economic development was a
reality, so was the rising of inequality and
worsening conditions for the majority of the