Friday, August 30, 2013

Battle of San Juan del Monte (August 30th)

On July 7th, 1892, Jose Rizal, a Filipino writer who critiqued Spanish government, was banished from the Philippines. Because of this, Filipino patriots, led by Andres Bonifacio, founded the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan. In English, this means The Highest and Most Honorable Society of the Children of the Nation. This Katipunan was a secret revolutionary organization that stayed secret until 1896.

In 1896, the Katipunan sent a delegation to the Emperor of Japan in order to solicit funds and weapons. When one member of the Katipunan, Teodoro Patino, went to the Spanish authorities, the existence of the Katipunan was realized. On August 26th, 1896, the members of the Katipunan tore up their identification cards and began the Philippine Revolution.

On the night of the 29th of August, 1896, Bonifacio led his men to El Polvorin, a Spanish powder magazine in San Juan del Monte. At 4:00am on August 30th, 1896, after two unsuccessful attempts at taking the powder magazine, Bonifacio made his surprise attack on the Spanish soldiers stationed at El Polvorin. Though the Spanish soldiers had rifles and the Filipinos only had bolo knives, a few guns, and bamboo spears, Bonifacio was able to take El Polvorin. The Spanish retreated, but regrouped, and with reinforcements, the Spanish were able to recapture the powder magazine, capturing 200 Filipino patriots and killing another150. Banifacio and his remaining men were forced to retreat.

On August 30th, 1896, Governor-General Ramon Blanco y Erenas declared the eight provinces of Manila under martial law. The Philippine Revolution continued until 1899, and though the Philippines was close to independence, the victory was short-lived, for that same year, Spain signed the Philippines over to America in the Treaty of Paris. Both Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio were executed by the Spanish Government.