"Negros Occidental, Philippines" Province of Negros Occidental by Silaygirl

History

Negros Island was originally called "Buglas" - an old native word which is thought to mean "cut off". It is believed that Negros was once part of a greater mass of land but was cut off either by what geologists call a continental drift or by the rising waters during the so-called glacial age. Among its earliest inhabitants were dark-skinned natives belonging to the Negrito ethnic group. Thus the Spaniards called the land "Negros" after the black natives whom they saw when they first came to the island in April 1565.

After appointing encomienderos in the island, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi placed Negros under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Oton in Panay. In 1734, however, the island became a military district and Ilog was made as its first capital. Bacolod became the capital in 1849.

The island remained a military district up to about the middle of 18th century. Then in 1865, Negros Occidental was raised to the category of a politico-military province. Religious orders evangelized the province by turns: the Augustinians, the Recollects, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Seculars and, again, the Recollects returning in the 1800s.

The latter half of the 18th century was a period of rapid economic expansion for Negros Occidental as evidenced by the growth of population resulting from the influx of immigrants coming from neighboring provinces like Iloilo, Antique, Capiz and Cebu.

The major boom to the province at this time was the widespread cultivation of sugarcane and the opening of ports, like lloilo and Cebu, to foreign commerce. In 1856, Negros Occidental produced only 4,000 piculs of sugar. This increased to 100,000 piculs in 1864 and 2,000,000 in 1893. The cultivation of sugarcane then spread to a larger scale and soon after Negros Occidental led other provinces in the production of sugar. Modem machines were also introduced at this time and by 1864, seven machines operated by steam were used in the towns of Bacolod, Minuluan and Bago.

During the last decade of the 19th century, several important events occurred in the history of Negros Occidental. One was the making of Negros Occidental as a separate province from Negros Oriental in 1890. The other was when Negrense revolutionary troops led by Generals Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta joined the nationwide Katipunan Movement and overcame the Spanish garrison in the province on November 5, 1898, when Filipinos rose in arms against the Spanish rule, thus ending more than 300 years of foreign domination. This resulted in the establishment of the shortlived "Cantonal Government of the Republic of Negros" which reunited the two provinces until the Americans arrived in May 1899. A civil government was established in Negros Occidental on April 20, 1901.

During the succeeding decades between 1901 and the 1930s, Negros Occidental was under the American occupation as with the rest of the country. Nonetheless, the economic growth continued especially with Philippine sugar having a part of the US market despite some accompanying socio-economic problems during this period. When the Japanese landed in the province on May 21, 1942, civilian and military leaders in Negros Occidental refused to surrender and instead organized a free government and guerrilla movement under Gov. Alfredo Montelibano, Sr. in Negros Island. They helped bring about the surrender of the Japanese forces in Negros in 1945.

The history of the province for the post World War 11 period has yet to be formally written. Suffice it to briefly note here that this was mainly a period of rehabilitation from the destruction of the war. With the sugar industry, the major pillar of the province’s economy, as well as other areas being revived, consequent socioeconomic growth in the province followed.

Source: http://www.negros-occ.gov.ph/history.php

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