The Philippines was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. In 1898 Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo and U.S. troops ousted the Spanish in the Spanish-American War. However, Philippine independence was thwarted when the U.S. formally annexed the country as part of its peace treaty with Spain.

In 1899 Filipino rebels fought with U.S. troops in Manila. Thereafter, the rebels, unable to win in open battle, pursued guerrilla warfare. >60,000 troops American troops were then sent to the Philippines to pacify the population. In 1901 U.S. forces captured Aguinaldo who promised allegiance to the United States and an end to the rebellion. Nevertheless, many rebels fought on. During the next year, U.S. forces gradually pacified the Philippines.

In one infamous example of ruthless suppression, U.S. forces under the command of General Jacob Smith, retaliated against the rebel massacre of a U.S. garrison by killing every male older than 10 years of age (along with may women and young children) on the island of Samar.

>4,000 Americans and >20,000 Philippino insurgents were killed along with an unknown number of civilians during the insurrection.

In 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established with U.S. approval, and Manuel Quezon was elected the Commonwealth’s first president.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942-45, a highly effective guerilla campaign by resistance forces controlled sixty percent of the islands, mostly jungle and mountain areas. General Douglas MacArthur supplied them by submarine, and sent reinforcements and officers.

On July 4, 1946, full independence was granted to the Republic of the Philippines by the United States.