"Reminiscing Cebu History"
A Story of Courage & Freedom

Cebu History

Old Cebu City and train stationCebu City train station. Photo: Cebuano Studies Center, San Carlos University Library

A Glimpse of Cebu History

Under the Spanish crown, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu on April 7, 1521.

Rajah Humabon, the king of Cebu, welcomed the explorer with his wife and hundreds of native islanders, who were then baptized into Catholicism a week later.

The Spaniards and their explorers had traveled and conquered continents and unnamed places taking the Galleon Ships as their vehicle to transport all sorts of goods, such as spices, gold, food, among others.

As the new arrivals tried to expand to the neigboring island of Mactan, Magellan perished with some of his soldiers during the "Battle of Mactan".

The remaining members of his expedition left Cebu while some died for being poisoned.

On February 13, 1565, another expedition of Spanish conquistadores led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi with an Augustinian friar (Andres de Urdaneta) arrived in Cebu but soon left after meeting resistance from local inhabitants.

However, more Spanish friars were sent to Cebu and have established churches in various parts of the province most of them are still standing even today.

Cebu Beaches. Galleon Ship was the main sea transport employed by the Spanish crown when they circumnavigate and conquer distant lands.Galleon Ship
Beaches in Cebu. This painting depicts the epic battle in Lapu Lapu Island between the native inhabitants and invaders of the island in the 16th century."The Battle of Mactan Island"

Villa de San Miguel

However, after the expedition has visited Mazaua, Leyte, and Bohol they returned to Cebu on April 15, 1565. On their arrival, realizing that the town had been abandoned, the conquistadors then seized the island.

The local king, Rajah Tupas, presented later on to the Spaniards on May 8 leading to the establishment of the "Treaty of Cebu" on July 3, 1565 and named the new colony "Villa de San Miguel", which was later renamed into "Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus".

Reinforcements of 2,100 Spaniards and Mexicans arrived in Cebu in 1567. This new colony has grown and fortification was built called the Fuerza de San Pedro or the popularly known "Fort San Pedro" - now a museum with a garden.

The old wooden Fort San Pedro of CebuThe old wooden Fort San Pedro

Having a fortified walls and soldiers, Cebu had become a Spanish settlement as a safe port for ships from Mexico and as a point of departure for colonial expansion of the newly-discovered archipelago.

The expansion of Spanish colony to Luzon led to the defeat of the Rajahs there. About a year later, Lopez de Legazpi in Cebu made a pact with the defeated Rajahs leading to the construction of the walled city - Intramuros.

Fort San Pedro, Cebu CityFort San Pedro, Cebu City

Cebu Dioces & Local Revolts

Pope Clement VIII was the one responsible for the creation of Cebu diocese, on August 14, 1595, as a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Manila.

Leon Kilat, on April 3, 1898, led a revolution against the Spanish authorities on the island and successfully took control of the urban center.

The success did not last long when Leon Kilat was murdered and the Spanish soldiers' arrival from Iloilo.

Treaty of Paris & Liberation

After the Spanish-American War, the Treaty of Paris was signed ceding Cebu and the rest of the Philippines to the United States.

When the US troops landed in Cebu, they were not met with resistance as Cebuanos surrendered. However, General Arcadio Maxilom, Juan Climaco among others, resisted the new colonists' presence until 1901.

Cebu Beaches. This photo depicts theTreaty of Paris, a treaty that made the Philippines a colony of the United States of America then.The Treaty of Paris ceded the Philippines to the United States

Only during the Commonwealth Era (1935-1946) that Cebu became a chartered city on February 24, 1937. Cebu was just a town since its foundation in 1565.

When the Japanese invaded the country during the Second World War, they encountered resistance from local patriots led by Colonel James Cushing and the Cebu Area Command. Its liberation finally came on March 1945.

Yes, that is the shortest version of Cebu's history. For further details, you may scan any book available in you locale, or in Cebu when you get there!

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