History of Palawan

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Palawan became a part of the world map when Chinese traders and other migrants reached by shores of the Philippines using the land bridges that could be found between Borneo and Palawan. In fact there was a Chinese author who called these islands, Kla-ma-yan for Calamian, Palau-ye for Palawan and Pki-nung for Busuanga. This area was said to be filled with ridges and cliffs. The caves in these areas were also said to be laden with pottery and artifacts. Because of this, Palawan became a center for trade between the Malays and Chinese.


During the 12th century, Malay migrants began settling in Palawan. Their chieftains began to rule many of the settlements there. Because it was near Borneo, the south of Palawan became under the power of Borneo for over two centuries after the Spanish arrived in the Philippines.


Prior to the colonization, the settlers in the Philippines lived off the land. The people would plant their own food, such as palay, ginger, coconut and camote. They also planted sugar and bananas. Apart from these, they also kept pigs, goats and chicken for food. Aside from farming and raising livestock, they also went fishing and hunting to be able to feed their families. The language of that time was a dialect that consisted of only 18 syllables.

Spanish Rule

When the Spanish arrived, the Northern Calamianes Islands was the first area to be colonized. That island ceased to be a part of the mainland Palawan island. During the earlier part of the 17th century, the friars tried to reach out to people in Cuyo, Agutaya, Taytay and Cagayancillo. However the Moro groups were too strong there, so their attempts were futile. However during the 18th century, the Spanish started building churches with garrisons in the towns of Cuyo, Taytay, Linapacan and Balabac. These churches served as protection against the Moro raids. As the structures of these forts were very strong, these forts are still in existence even in the present time. In the year 1749, the Sultanate of Borneo gave the southern part of Palawan to Spain, making the entire vicinity of Palawan under the Spanish rule.


Initially, the area of Paragua, the former name of Palawan, was identified as one province called Calamianes and its capital was Taytay. Later on, it became three provinces namely, Castilla, Asturias and Balabac Island. Castilla was the northern part of the province and the capital was Taytay. Asturias covered the southern part of the Palawan and Puerto Princesa was the capital. Lastly Balabac Island had its capital in Principe Alfonso.


American Rule

After the 1898 Revolution, the Spanish colonization ended. A new civil government was enacted on the 23rd of June in the year 1902. New provincial boundaries were made and old ones were revised during 1903. The name of the province was changed from Paragua to Palawan. Its capital became Puerto Princesa.

The American government took over what the Spanish government had left off. They created reforms and different programs that promoted the development of the province. Schools were constructed all over Palawan. The Americans promoted agriculture.


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