WHY IS ‘THE PHILIPPINES’ CALLED ‘THE PHILIPPINES’?

February 2nd, 2014, by Steven in Uncategorized.

The Philippines is a cool name. It’s one of the few countries (the Gambia, the Netherlands) that have that approachable “the” in front, as if the country is standing right in the same room as you.

So, how did these islands come to be called ‘the Philippines’?

It happened gradually and it began with the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, in 1521. He was killed while attempting to convert a local ruler to Christianity. Magellan’s crew, mostly Spaniards, spread interest in the islands back in Spain. In 1543, before a permanent Spanish colony had been settled on the islands, explorer Ruy López de Villalobos presumptuously named the two islands of Leyte and Samar as Las Islas Filipinas (The Philipine Islands). Over the next 300 years, the Spanish would colonize the additional islands we now know as the Philippines. The entire archipelago would come to be known under this name.

And, who was this Philip?

“Philip” was Philip II (1527 – 1598) eventually to become the King of Spain. He was king for a while: 1554-1598. So, if you’re carefully following the dates, at the time that the Philippines was named, he wasn’t yet king. He was just the Prince of Asturias. When he was King, Spain reached the height of it’s power, but also mismanaged the Spanish Armada, an attempt to invade England and the beginning of English momentum over Spanish dominance.

Then, why is it called ‘the Philippines’ and not ‘Las Islas Filipinas’?

After the Spanish declared war on the USA in 1898, over Cuba, the US took Manila from the Spanish and then later purchased the entire colony in the Treaty of Paris. After an unsuccessful insurgency by Filipino forces against the new American military government, the US controlled the Philippines until 1935, when the US passed an act to transition the Philippines to an independent Filipino government by 1945. War with Japan would delay the independence process, but independence did happen eventually, after the end of World War II.

During the time of US rule, the islands became known as The Philippine Islands, an English version of the Spanish Las Islas Filipinas.

Today, this beautiful island country is known as Republika ng Pilipinas in the native Tagalag language and the Philippines in international meetings.

King Philip II of Spain, who was definitely not gay

King Philip II of Spain, who was definitely not gay

Steven (84 Posts)

Steven is a roaming traveler, writer and urban planner based out of Asia. Connect with Steven on Steven Muzik on Google+!








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