The Cavite Mutiny

Few events in Philippine history are as important to the establishment of the Philippines national identify as that of the Cavite mutiny in 1872.

Filipino Soldiers 1872

Filipino Soldiers 1872

In the early 1890's, the Philippines were still under Spanish control, and things went awry when the Spanish Governor-General (Rafael de Izquierdo) introduced a new reforms including a tax of Filipinos serving in the Army, requiring them to pay a tax for their service and force them into labour.

In January of 1872, when the soldiers received their pay with the new tax taken out, all hell broke out as they were furious with the change. At Fort San Filipe (which was the Spanish arsenal in Cavite province in the Philippines), the soldiers began their uprising. 200 Philippine soldiers proceeded to take the entire fort killing eleven Spanish soldiers in the process.

The Philippine soldiers were under the belief that they would have support from Manila to start an all out uprising against the Spanish (a sentiment that had fostering for a while).

Once word of the uprising in Cavite reached the Spanish in Manila, the Spanish army quickly sent an entire regiment to Cavite led by General Felipe Ginovés. The Spanish laid siege to the captured fort until all of the mutineers surrendered.

Once the fort was back under Spanish control, Ginovés ordered all mutineers to be executed. When the soldiers were lined up, Ginovés asked which of the mutineers would not pledge their allegiance to Spain. One man stepped forward and was swiftly shot and killed, no one else stepped forward, and the rest of the mutineers were imprisoned. The prisoners were later exiled to the Philippine island of Mindanao.

By late January, the Philippine Governor had sentenced 41 of the mutineers to death, with 11 more added a week later, but the latter order turned into life imprisonment.

Over the next month the Spanish were relentless in the pursuit of rounding up any and all who were involved in assisting the soldiers with their uprising, which included three local priests, who were executed by garrote in late February.

No Filipino was allowed to serve as a priest following the incident, until the Philippines independence from Spain in 1898.