Rare copy of 1899 PH independence declaration displayed at a US museum
A piece of Philippine history was revealed last week at the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum, as a rare news clipping documenting the declaration of Philippine independence from the United States in 1899 was presented to the public.
This significant artifact marks a pivotal moment before the Philippine-American War erupted.
Fast forward to Feb. 2024, 125 years later, Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas, in his opening remarks during the unveiling ceremony, highlighted the document’s importance, calling it a symbol of Filipino bravery and determination for self-rule.
Expressing gratitude, he noted, “We are honored that the MacArthur Memorial Museum will preserve and showcase this invaluable piece of Philippine history.”
Meanwhile, museum director Amanda Williams echoed this sentiment, stressing the document’s role in education and understanding the deep connections between both nations.
— Philippine Embassy in the USA (@philippinesusa) February 6, 2024
She further stated, “It will serve as a focal point for deepening understanding of the complex historical narratives that connect the Philippines and the United States.”
Following the unveiling, the museum, in collaboration with the Filipino American National Historical Society-Hampton Roads Chapter, organized a symposium on the Philippine-American War to delve deeper into this shared history.
The event drew notable figures like Virginia Congressman Robert Scott, of Filipino descent, and Norfolk City Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, along with historians and community leaders from the Filipino community in Hampton Roads.
The history behind
Reflecting on the historical context, after the Spanish-American War of 1898, it is a known fact that Spain handed over the country to the US through the Treaty of Paris.
Anticipating independence from any colonizers, Aguinaldo boldly proclaimed autonomy on January 5, 1899. One portion of this declaration, published by the La Independencia newspaper in Manila, was ripped down and obtained by American service member Edgar Tucker, who foresaw its consequences, writing on the clipping, “Issued on January 5 ‘99 which will no doubt be the cause of war with the Insurgents.”
And indeed, the prediction came true.