The history of the Philippines is believed to have begun with the arrival of the first humans via land bridges at least 30,000 years ago. The first recorded visit from the West is the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, who sighted Samar on March 16, 1521 and landed on Homonhon Island southeast of Samar the next day.
Prior to Magellan's arrival, there were Negrito tribes who roamed the isles but they were later supplanted by Austronesians. These groups then stratified into: hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior-societies, petty plutocracies and maritime oriented harbor principalities which eventually grew into kingdoms, rajahnates, principalities, confederations and sultanates. States such as the Indianized Rajahnate of Butuan and Cebu, the dynasty of Tondo, the august kingdoms of Maysapan and Maynila, the Confederation of Madyaas, the sinified Country of Mai, as well as the Muslim Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao. These small states flourished from as early as the 10th century AD, Despite these kingdoms attaining complex political and social orders, as well as enjoying trade with areas now called China, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, none encompassed the whole archipelago which was to become the unified Philippines of the twentieth century. The remainder of the settlements were independent Barangays allied with one of the larger nations.
Spanish colonization and settlement began with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi's expedition in 1565 who established the first permanent settlement of San Miguel on the island of Cebu. The expedition continued northward reaching the bay of Manila on the island of Luzon in 1571, where they established a new town and thus began an era of Spanish colonization that lasted for more than three centuries.
Spanish rule achieved the political unification of almost the whole archipelago, that previously had been composed by independent kingdoms and communities, pushing back south the advancing Islamic...