Philippine Heroes and Heroines-Emilio Aguinaldo

General Emilio Aguinaldo

He officially proclaimed the Philippine independence in Malolos,
Bulacan, on January 23, 1899, with him as the first president.

Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy was born in Kawit, Cavite on
March 22, 1869. His father had been mayor of Kawit at the
time of his death in 1878, a post Aguinaldo himself would
hold in 1895. That same year Aguinaldo joined the
secret, nationalist brotherhood Katipunan founded
by Andrés Bonifacio. After the Philippines erupted in
revolt against the Spaniards in 1896, Aguinaldo won
several victories in Cavite Province. The Katipuneros
were divided into two factions; Bonifacio’s and Aguinaldo’s.When Bonifacio
came out of hiding in March 1897 and tried to reassert his leadership of Katipunan,
Aguinaldo ordered his arrest, imprisonment, and eventual execution on
May 10, 1897.

Katipunan forces retreated into the mountains in the face of Spanish attacks.
Ultimately he entered into an accord with the Spaniards, agreeing to exile in
Hong Kong in exchange for 400,000 pesos. Soon after his arrival there, Aguinaldo
purchased the weapons his troops would require to continue the struggle.
After the U.S. declared war on Spain, Aguinaldo saw a possibility that the
Philippines might achieve its independence; the U.S. hoped instead that Aguinaldo
would lend his troops to its effort against Spain. He returned to Manila on
May 19, 1898 and declared Philippine independence on June 12.

When it became clear that the United States had no interest in the liberation
of the islands, Aguinaldo's forces remained apart from U.S. troops. On January
1, 1899 following the meetings of a constitutional convention, Aguinaldo was
proclaimed president of the Philippine Republic. Not surprisingly, the United
States refused to recognize Aguinaldo's authority and on February 4, 1899 he
declared war on the U.S. forces in the islands. After his capture on March 23, 1901,
Aguinaldo agreed to swear allegiance to the United States, and then left public life.
His dream of Philippine independence came true on July 4, 1946. He died in Manila
in 1964 at the Veterans Hospital at the age of 95.


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