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Philippine Historiography

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Philippine Historiography- Looking Back and Looking Forward: The History of Historical Studies

Philippine historiography can be traced to the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan (1521) and the advent of Spanish colonial period (1565) when printed and published records, consisting of chronicles, manuscripts and public documents became available, documenting early Philippine society and culture and Spanish colonization of Filipinas. For the period prior to the 16th century, the archipelago’s society and culture can be partly, though insufficiently, reconstructed from archaeological remains and references to the islands in the records of other countries, like China, India, and the various states of mainland and island Southeast Asia.
This historiography essay will look at the history of the discipline of history in the Philippines, discussing the nature, characteristics and trends in historical writing, especially from the period in the 19th century when educated Filipinos, referred to as ilustrados, studied and wrote about their history, society, and culture. The essay will look at the most significant themes that have contributed towards developing a national history, and also identify some of the gaps and issues in the writing (and teaching) of Philippine history. In so doing, perhaps an agenda for future historical studies could be planned that will address the imbalance that seems to exist in Philippine historical writing.

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