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Zamboanga - historically known as "the place of flowers".

History of Zamboanga


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History of Zamboanga - circa 1900s

 

1900s A.D. – The Birth of a City and a Nation

 

In a municipal election on March 1901, Mariano Arquiza succeeded Isidoro Midel by popular vote and became the first elected President of the Zamboanga Republic, now under American administration, for the next two (2) years: 1901 - 1903.6

 

With the presence and administration of the American conquerors, Zamboanga was made the capital of the Moro province, encompassing the island of Mindanao and other nearby islands. The importance of Zamboanga was elevated to seat of regional government and diocese of Catholicism in southern Philippines.

 

As war and conquest have been waged all over the world for hundreds and thousands of years, it is not our place to dispute any sovereignty issues here. However, we can present that the powerful Sultanate of Brunei once controlled an area much larger than the present Philippines, but is now under 6,000 sq. km. in size, slightly smaller that the State of Delaware.  Kingdoms rise and fall, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, but the people remain and rebuild their lives as they have done for centuries, hoping for the best to come to them and peace to be permanent.

 

2000+ A.D. – The Future of Zamboanga City and its People

Over the past four hundred years, it is not known how many of the thousands of captured Christian Filipino and Spanish women from the islands of Visayas and Luzon actually became pregnant and delivered children fathered by their Muslim captors in harems of the Mindanao and Sulu Sultanates.

 

It is highly likely that thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of Moros living today may have some descendant bloodline of their captive mothers. The issue of actual lineage from these enslaved women may be culturally suppressed by the Moros in the name of war trophies or dominance over their enemies, but the genetic makeup of their ancestry cannot be denied in the eyes of reality.

 

It is possible that generations of descendants from these captured women are now facing each other as Moros and Christians, all the while related as brothers and sisters from a terrible past. However, if the opposite is to be attested by the Moros of today, then it would only mean that all the thousands of women captured over the centuries were systematically eliminated by their captors before or after they became pregnant with their children. Is anyone brave enough to tell the world, which one is the truth?

 

The vegetation and flowers are growing profusely and beautifully once again, waiting to be discovered by someone special like you. The city is peaceful and hopeful with friendly people eager to indulge a curious visitor. The spirit is lively and the future is prosperous. The Filipino brothers whose ancestors once fought each other all coexist in harmony with each other in this place they call home. The wounds of ancient battles lie deep, but the natural desire to be at peace with each other is even greater.

 

Today’s Zamboanga City is a linguistic babel exhibiting a cornucopia of sights, sounds, and frantic activity that pronounces its enduring position as a center of international trade and eclectic living. Nowhere else can this description be aptly applied to another significant place in the Philippine Islands. The allure of the City of Flowers continues to prosper its growth and diversity. We only hope that skillful planning and management will help it blossom to its beautiful potential.  Peace be with us all.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

Map of Zamboanga City, PhilippinesZamboanga City is a chartered city located on the western most peninsula of the big island of Mindanao, The Philippines.  Before it became a chartered city, it was the governing Capital of the Moro Province under the United States rule, encompassing the entire island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.  As other areas of this Moro Province were able to stand on their own and granted their own provincial status, Zamboanga was the first locality of the vast Moro Province to be honored with a chartered city status on October 12, 1936, reflecting its historical and strategic importance as a center of government and commerce.

 

At one point it was the largest province and city in the world area-wise, when it was the Capital of the Zamboanga Province, and then when the Island of Basilan was still under its domain as it was elevated to a chartered city.  From its founding name of Zamboanga ( June 23, 1635 ), the remaining Zamboanga Province was divided into two separate sub-ruling provinces after Zamboanga City was created, and were embellished with the same beautiful namesake of Zamboanga City on June 6, 1962: Zamboanga del Norte (North) and Zamboanga del Sur (South).  It was a fitting tribute to the storied history of Zamboanga, The City of Flowers!  The Island of Basilan was also split from the city and made its own province on December 25, 1973, amidst the population growth of The Philippines.  In February 2001, the province of Zamboanga del Sur was divided into two when a new province was created and named Zamboanga Sibugay.  The new province is roughly one-half the size of the old Zamboanga del Sur province, and borders the northern tip of Zamboanga City.

 

Zamboanga City is a busy international port strategically located on the Basilan Straight.  The city is shaped like a thick ladle, and is bounded by the marine-rich bodies of water of the Sulu Sea to the West, the Moro Gulf and Celebes Sea to the East, and is also surrounded by Tungawan Bay, Taguiti Bay, Malasugat Bay to the East, Tictabon Channel and Basilan Straight to the South, and Caldera Bay to the West.  In physiography, it is bounded by the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte to the north and by Zamboanga del Sur to the east, and also the Basilan Island to the south.  It is sheltered geographically from typhoons by the mountainous Basilan Island, Sulu Archipelago, Palawan Island, and the main island of Mindanao.

 

The city's immediate coastal lowlands are narrow, with low, rugged hills located a short distance inland.  It's highest peak is Batorampon Point, measuring 1,335 meters high ( 4,380 feet ).  A large international seaport accommodates local inter-island shipping and international ocean going vessels and ferries.  Zamboanga City exports rubber, pearls, copra, mahogany, and other fine hardwoods, fish, abaca, and fruit products; rice is still imported.  The city is the southernmost terminus of the Pan-Philippine Highway, providing vital land transportation access to all the major cities of the country.  It also has an international airport that is serviced by daily flights from three major national airlines, and is increasing its international air traffic within the participating countries of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines' East Asia Growth Area, or better known for its acronym BIMP-EAGA.

 

Founded by the Spaniards in 1635 on the site of a native settlement, its name is derived from the Malay word Jambangan ( "place of flowers" ); bougainvillea, orchids, and other tropical flowers line its roadsides and landscape.  Incorporated as a chartered city in 1936, it has an area of 1,671 square kilometers ( 645 sq. Miles ), which encompasses 98 official barangays ( barrios or wards ) and 68 smaller districts of some larger barangays, in addition to the administrative city center in downtown Zamboanga, and over 28 beautiful  islands.  The city was largely rebuilt after the severe devastation of World War II, of which a few buildings remain that reflect its glorious past.  Its mountainous backdrop combine with a climate that is cooler and less humid than that of Manila, and other sections of the country, to make it a favorite tourist spot.

 

Fort Pilar, with its world-renowned religious shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar, was built in the 17th century by the Spanish soldiers, along with their Jesuit counterparts, for the protection of Christian settlers against Moro ( Muslim ) pirates, and other marauding invaders from nearby Chinese and Dutch outposts.  It now houses the Fort Pilar Museum, one the few national historic museum chain, that houses cultural artifacts of the region, and a wealthy display of its surrounding rich marine and natural life.  

 

The city has long been a bastion of Spanish intelligentsia, and is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the country and around Asia.  The literacy rate of the region, and of the country in general, is one of the highest in all of Asia.

 

Rio Hondo, Taluksangay, and Campo Muslim are nearby Muslim villages built on stilts over water.  Indigenous peoples include the Tau Sugs, Samals, and Yakans.  The colorful Bajau, or sea gypsies, ply the waters of the Basilan Straight for fish, coral, and shells; they live on board their multi-hued vintas ( sailboats ) and take temporary shelter in stilt-raised homes during storms.

 

Chavacano is the unique native dialect of the city, a mixture of Spanish and various other local dialects and international languages, and is one of the oldest spoken language in the country reflecting a rich linguistic history of its people.  English is widely spoken around town, and is the main language of education and international commerce.  Numerous international languages, like German, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, and Spanish, are spoken here, giving light to its historical importance as an international investment and destination haven for over three-hundred years.

 

Zamboanga City is also a center for Moro brassware and bronze ware, and a collecting point for numerous varieties of shells, which are exported or used locally for button manufacture and many other products and souvenirs.  The Philippine Archipelago is home to over a third of the world's known sea shells, and Zamboanga's Great Santa Cruz Island is home to many shells and corals, and the pristine "pink" sand - a coloration effect of the white sand and red coral sand mixed together.

 

Zamboanga City's Population in 2004: over 850,000 ( 5th largest city in the Philippines - total population: over 80,000,000 )

 

[ Source: National Statistical Coordination Board ]

 

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