Emilio Aguinaldo

Emilio Aguinaldo is considered to be the first president of the Philippines. He became voted to the position after leading a revolt against the Spanish in 1896. However after being bribed into he exile he made it big in Hong Kong for a while. Then came back to help the Americans with fighting the Spanish. After the war in which the Spanish were beaten with relative ease, the Americans did not give the Philippines independence. Aguinaldo raised an army of nearly 80,000 troops to fight for independence.

The War

In 1899, Aguinaldo's troops surrounded the American controlled capital of Manilla. The first shot was fired by private William Grayson of the Nebraska Volunteers. Shooting soon spread up and down the ten-mile U.S.-Filipino lines, causing hundreds of casualties. The American Fleet, quickly overwhelmed the Filipino positions while inflicting thousands of casualties. Within days, American forces spread outward from Manila, using superior firepower and command of the sea to full effect. After only a few months, Aguinaldo and his forces had been pushed further and further into central Luzon (the main Philippine island) and he realized he could not fight the Americans with conventional military tactics. At this point, he ordered his followers to turn to guerrilla tactics to combat the American army. From this point on, the war became a savage guerrilla conflict made up of ambushes and massacres. Both sides engaged in wanton violence and slaughter. Villages were destroyed, civilians murdered, prisoners tortured and mutilated along with a host of other atrocities. Many American officers had served in the Indian Wars, and thus applied the old belief that "the only good Indian was a dead Indian" to their relations with the Filipinos. This attitude of course was reciprocated by the native forces. The War ended when Aguinaldo was captured in 1902.

The Aftermath

The Philippines was given its independence on July 4, 1946. The number of casualties on the American side was numbered at about 4000 with the Philippines suffering much greater losses of about 20000 military deaths and a couple hundred thousand civilian deaths. The United states was given a military base in the Pacific and the Philippines was given independence. A win-win all around.