Los Hijos del Pais v3: Two Hundred Years of Solitude, a Philippine TL

Introduction: Background and Bloody February
Hey guys, @Timaeus here. Some of ya might remember me from little posts here and there. Mostly I responded to other people's works, and to the ASOIAF fandom threads. My main contributions were to collaborative projects like The World of the Sundering. Mid 2018, just when I was starting to get the motivation to write stuff, I had to leave for reasons made somewhat clear in this thread. And now I'm back, and one of the things I really wanted to get back to was this timeline of an alternate Philippines. Actually, this is just one of the Philippine timelines I want to get done, but first I'll focus on this one. So yeah.

Just a warning, tho': Like in the previous iteration, butterflies may have occurred earlier on ITTL, but the main POD is 1823, where Novales bides his time instead of going for the immediate conspiracy.

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Introduction

It is the dawn of the 19th century, and the Spanish Empire is collapsing everywhere, exhausted by debt and war weariness from the Napoleonic Wars. It does not help that Ferdinand VII de Bourbon is a short-sighted and reactionary despot who cannot see the way the winds are blowing. And so the Spanish Empire is set ablaze with wars of independence from the mother country. Much chaos follows, an age of high passions and strong personalities, the Age of Caudillos.

Now, IOTL, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Spanish East Indies are largely left out of this tide of blood, and would only break free three generations later, in the turn of the century. Yet they did not escape completely. In the Philippines, at least, there were at least one failed revolt and one failed conspiracy in the 1820s against the Spaniards. With the rest of the empire falling apart, control of the Spanish East Indies, hitherto under the Viceroyalty of New Spain, was transferred directly to Madrid. This did not bode well for the Insulares (basically Criollos, or the Filipinos of Spanish descent born in the Philippines), for it was followed by them being removed from positions in the administration and army and replaced by Peninsular Spaniards. This ill-treatment and suspicion turned to open revolt.

In June of 1823, Andres Novales revolted against the government alongside other Insular officers, who acclaimed him Emperor of the Philippines. His revolt, though it took over most of Intramuros and was able to execute the lasted a day and he was executed by the end of it. Some other Insulares were sent into exile this same year, including Count Luis Rodriguez Varela, a prominent advocate for reform of the colonial government. A few years later, a conspiracy was discovered, led by members of the Palmero family, and its ringleaders were exiled. Thus, IOTL, the Philippines began its road to national consciousness. One could argue that these revolts were the first expressions of Philippine nationalism.

And so, we come to a crossroads, a nexus of world history, and butterflies flap their wings...

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The year is 1824. It's February, and it's been a year since the King's Regiment was sent south to fight pirates, and since the Sons of the Country were exiled to Mindanao. Novales has covered himself in glory once again, and is returning quietly to Intramuros with his men. Unbeknownst to Governor-General Martinez and former Governor-General Folgueras, Captain Andres has remained in contact with the reformists, and has become incredibly bitter with the suspicion in which he is held. His life had ever been spent in service to King and Country since he was a boy, and now he had been shunted to the side by some Peninsular who knows nothing of his motherland and its people. He has brooded on the unfairness of it all in those months he spent in the sweltering south, and over the course of those months, he found a new cause to serve. Captain Novales has never been a guileful man, but he knows how to keep a secret and especially a grudge.

And so, on the 12th of February, he returns to Manila with an army and allies. Auspiciously, both governor-general Juan Antonio Martinez and lieutenant governor Folgueras are in the city. At dawn, he begins the coup d'etat that he had planned with Count Varela, the Palmero clan, and his fellow soldiers.

Chaos erupts outside the walls of Manila, and in the chaos, many things happen. Fort Santiago opens its gates to the revolutionaries, Martinez and Folgueras are seized by the conspirators and summarily executed alongside several of the prominent Peninsulares who remained within the city, and Novales is acclaimed Emperor of the Philippines by his soldiers. His first act is to draft a decree declaring the independence of the Spanish East Indies as the Empire of the Philippines. He then frees all the political prisoners still in Fort Santiago, appoints a Palmero as prime minister for the civil administration, and sends word to the exiles in Mindanao to return to Manila. In the weeks that pass, the royalists are headless and in disarray, as the decree spreads and Spanish loyalists (mostly Peninsulars) are mobbed by those who declare for independence.
 
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Chaos erupts outside the walls of Manila, and in the chaos, many things happen. Fort Santiago opens its gates to the revolutionaries, Martinez and Folgueras are seized by the conspirators and summarily executed alongside several of the prominent Peninsulares who remained within the city, and Novales is acclaimed Emperor of the Philippines by his soldiers. His first act is to draft a decree declaring the independence of the Spanish East Indies as the Empire of the Philippines. He then frees all the political prisoners still in Fort Santiago, appoints a Palmero as prime minister for the civil administration, and sends word to the exiles in Mindanao to return to Manila. In the weeks that pass, the royalists are headless and in disarray, as the decree spreads and Spanish loyalists (mostly Peninsulars) are mobbed by those who declare for independence.
Iam sure Europe and Asia will sneer at the new empire (a rather presumptuous title) but I think they might have a chance to become what Japan became after the Meiji restoration. Lots of opportunities for expansion with south east Asia not yet fully claimed and divided and China about to enter the Century of humiliation. The Philippines (being Christian and more westernized) would face less pushback to such expansion than Japan did.
 
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The War of Independence
With the end of Bloody February and the dissemination of Novales' decree and call to arms in Tagalog and Spanish, the revolution spreads quickly. Palmero organizes the delegates flocking from all across the Tagalog heartland. Emperor Novales leads an army north where the Ilocanos are raising the flags of the Ambaristo revolt once more, while his lieutenant Ruiz, now a general under the new regime, leads an army south, sweeping east from Batangas to Bicol. Thus are spent the next few months, in blood and iron, securing and consolidating the new-born state. A motley assembly of notables from all non-Peninsular castes of society come together to establish a sense of order and a new constitution as overseen by Prime Minister Palmero and the newly returned Count Varela.

In the midst of this, Filipino sailors begin mutinying against the royalists, establishing the rag-tag, semi-piratical Revolutionary Fleet of the Philippines. Its admiral is himself a patriotic mutineer named Venancio Adlao [1]. The newly promoted Admiral Adlao establishes a semblance of discipline and seizes what he can of the royalist ships within the archipelago. He also begins ferrying aid and support between revolutionaries of the major islands. Panay and Bohol in particular show their early support for independence, the latter establishing a free state under the Dagohoy rebels.

By the middle of the year, the Tagalog heartland has been secured, and several of the islands have sworn fealty to the Emperor and the Provisional Assembly. By the end of 1824, Luzon has been secured, Novales has returned to Manila, and resistance to the new regime has remained minimal, with a couple remaining hold-outs in Cebu and Zamboanga. Thankfully, the Church has remained quiescent with the quiet death of the Archbishop of Manila early on, tho' angry lynch mobs have begun forming against the corrupt friars. The revolutionaries initially discouraged the lynch mobs in an attempt to maintain order and legitimacy. Ironically, some of the friars bit the hand that protected them by condemning the newborn Empire, and so the many of the revolutionaries left them to their fate (and in the case of the fiercely liberal among them, the friars were actively driven out), and the first great mandate of 1825 would be to redistribute the land of the religious orders hostile to the new government.

Still, there is a war to be won. Novales sends a force under his brother Mariano to take Cebu and Zamboanga, while he sends the brother of his prime minister Palmero and other Insulares as an embassy to Europe and America to ask for aid and recognition among the nations of the West. Along with him come secular priests to plead the case for the Church in the Philippines. The coming months of 1825 see Cebu and Zamboanga fall to the revolutionaries, and by the middle of the year, Mariano is sent to secure the Marianas.

And then a small squadron of Spanish royalists come to retake the islands from the rebels. Arriving in mid-September of 1825, they try to blockade Manila Bay, but in a climactic battle that ends in the end of September, the fleet is completely defeated by Admiral Adlao and his captains. The Spaniards formally surrender on October 5 of 1825, ending the home front of the war of independence. Mariano by this time has seized Guam and has just returned in time to see the surrender of the Spanish fleet.

The war has been won, yet one wonders about the peace...

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[1] a fictional character.
 
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Winning the Peace: Embassies and the First Republic
Two embassies were sent off by the Emperor and Assembly in the beginning of 1825. Of course, there is the more famous Palmero Embassy, which formalized the independence of the Philippines and brought in many vital resources which would contribute much to the new polity, but there was also the First Araneta Embassy, which was sent south to negotiate with the sultanates of the south and ensure the revolution's interests in the region. Novales was not enthused to deal with the Moros again, having dealt with them the year prior, but Palmero saw the big picture and insisted on building a better rapport in the south. Thankfully, this embassy was as successful as the embassy of Varela, and the sultans of Sulu and Maguindanao agreed to become protectorates of the Emperor and Assembly. Slave raids in the south were finally put to an end, and the sultanates sent envoys to Manila to represent their interests. This expedition was the first expedition sent south, and it would not be the last.

With all this done, the men of the Provisional Assembly of the Philippines debate on what government the Empire will have. One mysterious event is the Emperor's abdication of his position after the surrender of the Spanish fleet, swearing fealty to the Republic of the Philippines and giving up control of the military to the civilian government. It is a baffling decision, riding as high on glory as Novales was, yet in later years it would be part of the man's legend, something that forever labels him as the Philippine Cincinnatus and sets the precedent of civilian control of the military.

Thus, the Assembly edits the draft of the constitution, which was already mostly established. It is a liberal constitution, banning slavery and formal racial discrimination. It stipulates freedom of speech and worship alongside other rights, in keeping with Enlightenment principles. There are, of course, some practical restrictions to the Constitution and its enforcement, which would be sorely tested in the years and decades to come, but even so, the Philippines is free, and has won its peace.
 
Well that was a sweet victory, heres hoping they can keep it. I am curious how the Philippines earned international recognition without being completely rendered as a protectorate, or even as a colony by other European powers.
 
Building the Foundations
Welcome Back @Timaeus, @Metempsychosis!

Good luck with your timeline. I see you are going for the republic route.
Thanks. And of course I'll go for the republic route. A Cincinnatus is more interesting than a Caesar, and a Jose de San Martin makes a more interesting national figure than a Juan Manuel de Rosas, at least to me.

Really, I want to focus on the cultural developments of an alternate Philippines more than anything. But that will have to wait.

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After the Treaty of London was signed in 1826, surrendering all of Spain's claims to the Spanish East Indies among other things, the Palmero embassy returns from Europe with European advisors and other immigrants, along with more weapons and technology. The prime minister, now elected president by the Assembly, Marcelo Palmero establishes institutions to strengthen the Republic. Economic societies and companies are established alongside the first public schools, and reforms are made to the civil administration of the republic. Novales and Adlao are granted resources to establish military academies, and the Palmero brothers who are now at the forefront of change use what resources they can to secure the newborn republic and maintain its prosperity.

In all of this, the cities are the focal points of political and economic life. Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Zamboanga, and Vigan are the major ports of call, but as the capital, Manila overshadows them all, and it is here in Manila that the economic reforms are most prominent. Still, some families from the provinces emerge to fill up the Assembly over the course of the next few years and spread the programs set down by the central government.

As for trade, the Philippines manages to establish trade relationships with the Chinese, the Westerners, and the nations of Latin America, serving as a middleman. The republic invests in its infrastructure, its economy, and its military. As the Japanese said IOTL, "Enrich the Country and Strengthen the Military". For of course the nations of Europe will circle around like sharks in the water, waiting for any moment of weakness on the part of the native. The first president knows this, and thankfully he has the 'Paladins of the Republic' to serve as sword and shield: the valiant Bayot brothers, the cunning and enigmatic Admiral Adlao, the loyal patriot Ruiz, and of course Andres Novales, the Uncrowned Emperor.

Of course, Marcelo Palmero throughout his tenure of 12 years (1826-1838) focuses on internal security and prosperity, but he is no pushover, not to his internal rivals, nor to any foreign power who encroaches on the sovereignty of the republic or its protectorates. And of these many threats, no foreign disputes would define his tenure so much as his quarrels with the Netherlands...
 
Nice timeline! I'll keep an eye on this since I'm in need of reading more timelines featuring a fairly-well off respectable power Philippines.
 
Seeing the Republican route that you're taking here, I guess that there will be way less genocides (violent or cultural) and militarism for this country. We had one OP Philippines too many already. Looking inwards will also help in dissuading them against such a dark path, but that also means the Republic will see supporting Sulu and its control of Sabah more as a bargaining chip than an integral part of its legitimacy.

I can only hope for them to successfully turtle and hence position themselves as a Switzerland among Britain's informal empire, lest they fall into a cycle of shortsighted Juntas. I can say the same for the other Latin-American countries, but they are not the Philippines after all.
 
Seeing the Republican route that you're taking here, I guess that there will be way less genocides (violent or cultural) and militarism for this country. We had one OP Philippines too many already. Looking inwards will also help in dissuading them against such a dark path, but that also means the Republic will see supporting Sulu and its control of Sabah more as a bargaining chip than an integral part of its legitimacy.

I can only hope for them to successfully turtle and hence position themselves as a Switzerland among Britain's informal empire, lest they fall into a cycle of shortsighted Juntas. I can say the same for the other Latin-American countries, but they are not the Philippines after all.
Heh. Let's see. I definitely want to explore the relationship between the various ethnic groups and religions of the archipelago under the aegis of a somewhat ascendant Philippines ITTL. It'll be more complex than one would think, more nuances than being the light of the Malay race or the slaves of yesteryear becoming the tyrants of tomorrow. I want to explore a lot of other themes here, especially with the tension between liberty and tyranny that always pops up in these things. That's why I'm making Novales a Cincinnatus, in more ways than one. :p
 
Marcelo Palmero, the First President
President Palmero is a man of ambition, yet his ambition is not for himself. He wants to build a lasting legacy and serve the people under his aegis. At the beginning of his tenure, the Philippines has just started to awaken to the idea of the nation, tho' most notables rallied around the flag of the Silver Merlion on Red during the revolution and established the Insular Assembly, which would become the Congress of the Republic. Unique to the Philippines is the presence of women in the Assembly, and the rights of women as placed down in the Constitution, which among other things allows women equality with men before the law, at least ostensibly. This would be important later on, and would be a mark in favor of the Filipino republic, but there were still few women who entered the arena of politics on their own in those early years.

In any case, as has been stated above, Palmero's main focus was maintaining the peace and prosperity of the islands through trade and investment in its infrastructure. With the advice of old man Varela over the years, the president and his assembly work to start and enforce reforms, at least on the regions loyal to the central government. Roads and water management systems are built, economic societies and educational systems to rival that of the Church are set up with the help of (mostly Anglophone) advisors, and the military is improved upon by the so-called Paladins of the Republic (the informal name of the Novales and his peers) and those same advisors. Buildings are built in Manila and its arrabales/suburbs for administration and other purposes.

Critical to all this development is the careful dance of diplomacy Palmero engages in, keeping the Europeans interested enough to trade and invest while maintaining the sovereignty of the republic. This he does with deftness and success, tho' he is helped by the distance of Europe and America which allows the republic some breathing room. And so the years pass, and the culture slowly but surely changes as prosperity grows.

He cannot avoid intervening in the south, however. When the Philippines first gained its independence, European sharks smelled blood in the water, and of those sharks, the Netherlands is the most dangerous, and the traditional enemy. When they attempt to establish a hold on the southern sultanates in the 1830s, and when negotiations with the Second Araneta Embassy (which forms ties with the Kongsi federations, among other things) break down, Palmero sends in Adlao and the Bayot brothers to intervene against the Dutchmen in whatever way they can. So begin years of proxy wars and intrigue against the VOC, which end with the fall of Batavia in the 1840s and the collapse of the Dutch East Indies. But that comes later on in the history of the Republic, with the next administration, and none would have expected this result from the Dutch Wars' desultory beginnings.

By the end of his tenure, Palmero has left a Philippines relatively secure and prospering, save for the cold war with the Dutch in the south. After twelve years as head of the republic, the President leaves office with a strong approval, and his successor, the envoy Hermenegildo Araneta, begins his administration with a strong mandate.
 
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Hermenegildo Araneta and the South
A background: After the Napoleonic Wars, the British returned the colonies of the Netherlands to Dutch control through the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814. A few years later, and the British and Dutch, once again clashing over South and Southeast Asia, tried to resolve their disputes in another treaty demarcating their spheres of influence in the Malay world through the 1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty.

Of course, a couple years later, the revolution definitively evicts the Spaniards from the Philippines, and once again the game is afoot. The British formed a relationship with the newly-formed republic from the beginning, causing the Dutch in Batavia to worry. They could not do much in the beginning, however, occupied as they were with the Padri of Minangkabau in Sumatra and Prince Diponegoro of Java. Indeed, ITTL the Java War is more successful on the Javanese end, as Yogyakarta falls to Diponegoro, who takes control of the regency of his nephew the Sultan Hamengkubuwono V and declares what is basically a jihad across Java in his name. This Javanese jihad threatens Batavia itself, and the Dutch enter negotiations with Diponegoro in 1826, who as regent establishes a more Islamic court and reforms the government of a now greatly expanded Yogyakarta.

Through all this, the Dutch look for ways to recoup their losses. The Padri War was going better than the jihad on Java, and the Dutch refocused their efforts on Sumatra and Borneo. The latter conflicted with Philippine interests in the region, and as negotiations broke down in the mid-1830s, the Dutch Wars began, a period of proxy wars and pirate raids and anti-pirate raids. Filipino private adventurers went forth and fought against the 'Dutch heretics and Moro slaver pirates', once again encouraging the Catholic faith after a few years of anticlericalism and allowing a safety valve for conservative dissent against the liberal republic. Filipino adventurers trained under Admiral Adlao and some among them established a few concessions on Sarawak and Kalimantan after fighting local pirates.

In 1838, Palmero passes on his baton to Hermenegildo Araneta y Estrella, a prominent Visayan of Basque descent and a prominent sugar baron of Iloilo. He continues the unofficial war with the Dutch, but looks for a way to end this conflict in a way that benefits the Philippines without endangering the relationship with the British. By 1841, Araneta through one of his relatives negotiates peace and an official relationship with the Netherlands mediated by Britain, demarcating the spheres of influence between them, with the islands east of Java falling under Filipino influence. This would not be the last time the Dutch and Filipinos would come to blows. Additional clauses regarding Sarawak tie the British and Filipinos somewhat closer together.

In any case, Araneta's administration is one more focused on foreign relations than before, tho' infrastructure and social projects continue to advance in this period. The 1840s see more and more foreigners establish themselves on the islands. Cebu becomes a center of industry with its coal deposits, Panay and Negros become the fiefdoms of cash crops, and the cities of the Philippines become trading centers of the world. Bilingualism and trilingualism becomes common, as the native languages of the Philippines are the tongues of the masses, but English becomes the language of the rising middle class and Spanish the tongue of the elite. Chinese dialects also become prominent as Chinese settlers and merchants migrate to the islands and establish themselves.

And so the years pass, until the 1850s, and the winds of change blow north...
 
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Francisco Balagtas, Poet Laureate of the Republic
It is said that, were it not for Francisco Balagtas and his peers, the Tagalog language would have faded away into obscurity. There is some truth to this assertion, for the early years of the Republic were full of debate on what the national language would be. Focused on the cities as the War of Independence was, the Philippines tentatively chose Spanish as the official language of the nation, writing the first version of the Constitution in that tongue. As the years passed and the first public schools were established, Spanish gained ground and spread, and nowhere did it gain more ground than in the cities, where it served as the lingua franca for all the various peoples in the nation. Chavacano, the Spanish-based creole, gained even more ground, gaining loanwords from various Chinese dialects and from English.

Still, Tagalog as a language survives all this, for it and the other native languages of the Philippines are seen as the language of the people, and many support their status as national languages thanks to people like Balagtas, poets who weave the myths of the nation. For what is a nation but a community of the mind?

Balagtas is the first among the Tagalogs to write native poetry supporting the new-republic. Born in 1788, he was not a young man when the War of Independence swept the Philippine islands. His political career as a man of the Insular Assembly and the Congress would be used mostly to further his goals of maintaining the Tagalog language and establishing it as an official tongue of the republic. His wit would get him embroiled in disputes both personal and political, which does reflect in his work.

Still, as the revolution progressed and the republic was established, he wrote plays based for the first time on scenes from the history of ancient Rome. He would eventually compile these plays into a series of ballads, published as 'Mga Eksena galing sa Istorya ng Roma' in 1838, which would forever immortalize scenes from Roman history into the minds of generations of Filipinos. The rape of Lucretia and the expulsion of the Tarquin priest-kings, the oaths of the Horatii, the tragedy of Coriolanus, and above all the tale of Cincinnatus - all these tales, set into elegant Tagalog verse, would echo in the hearts and minds of the Filipinos, for good and for ill.
 
Flags of the Philippines
Thanks to @ramones1986 for the flags of the Empire and the Republic. :p

Novales Army.png

The flag of the Revolutionary Army and the Empire

Novales Government.png

The flag of the Philippine Republic (1826-?)
 
Catholicism in the Philippines in the early republic
The Philippine War of Independence was a calm affair, all things considered, especially considering it was in some aspects the last of the Latin American independence wars. There was less violence than one might expect in a revolution. What few garrisons were on the islands were subjugated quickly and relatively bloodlessly.

And yet there were some violent incidents, especially against the Peninsular religious orders. It was to be expected, considering the religious orders were hotbeds of resistance against the newborn republic, and held down the land where the garrisons did not. Yet tho' there were a few lynchings of abusive friars and battles fought in a couple of monasteries (incidents blown out of proportion by political disputes), and there were massive seizures of Church lands, this would mostly be a war of words, a war which would serve to culturally divide the Filipino nation into liberals and conservatives, even as it grew in prosperity under the aegis of the pragmatic Palmero and Araneta. In truth, after the initial disestablishment of the Catholic church, including the seizure and secularization of Church lands and anticlerical incidents, with fiery oratory on both sides, the Philippine government calmly formed a concordat with the Archbishop of Manila in 1828, respecting the separation of church and state. The frailocracy was broken, and the mostly Indio priests were left on their own, struggling to rebuild a cohesive Church.

Then came the rise of the lay brotherhoods, one of which was the Confraternity of Saint Joseph, led by Apolinario de la Cruz, a charismatic young man of 18 years at its founding in 1832. The lay brotherhoods supplied the wealth necessary to fund the education of the native priests, and were at the forefront of reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the republic. These lay brotherhoods became a force for good and for ill, for between the wars with the 'heretic Dutchmen and infidel pirates' in the south and the ruins of the frailocracy leaving a Catholic Church shattered and ready to remold, the lay brotherhoods became a shelter for the soul of the nation. Of course the lay brotherhoods had some peculiarities, but the Church hierarchy was gutted by the reshuffling, and it could not immediately respond to the possible heresies of these organizations. The republic was also not interested in investigating ecclesiastical matters, and in some ways the new regime encouraged the growth of these patriotic faithful.

When the religious orders reassembled in the Philippines in the 1850s, they would find a nation of peculiar affinities and superstitions, yet one that tried its best to remain true to a Catholic Church dominated by racist Westerners.
 
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