History of Bohol

The history of Bohol goes back way before the colonial period. In fact, based on artifacts and excavations that have been recovered, the original Boholanos had a culture of their own some three centuries before the Spaniards came.

From the evidence that has so far been gathered by archaeologists and historians, the original inhabitants were descended from the Pintados, or tattooed ones, some of the original tribes to live in the area. Apparently they had their own writing using bamboo barks, and incorporated design in their belongings.

The material that have been unearthed also indicates that the people spoke in a tongue similar to those of the provinces in proximity, although their links to Bohol history is not yet clear.

In 1555, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived by ship in the municipality of Jagua, and the municipality, as well as that of the then village of Tagbilaran became centers for the Jesuit missionaries.

It should be noted at this period in Bohol history, it was still a part of the province of Cebu. On July 22, 1854, however, Bohol became a distinct province, and was ruled by the military.

In 1899, in the aftermath of their defeat in the Spanish-American War, the Spaniards left Bohol and it was taken over by local officials assigned by General Emilio Aguinaldo. However, in March 1900, the Americans came and in one of the fiercest battles in Bohol history, defeated the Boholano forces led by Colonel Pedro Samson.

Following the war, America set about restructuring and reorganizing the entire province, creating roads, homes and would go on to establish the first schools in the area. March 17, 1917 marks an important date in Bohol history as it is the date when it was declared an independent province.

American presence in the area ended when World War II broke out. The Japanese forces came by way of Tagbilaran on May 17, 1942, where the Americans themselves landed years ago. For three long years the Boholanos waged war against the occupying forces.

On April 11, 1945 the American Armed Forces came back and liberated Bohol, and finally granted it independence on July 4, 1946 simultaneously with that of the Republic of the Philippines.

The province of Bohol has had a rich past, and today, thanks to the development and promotion of its tourist spots, culture and landmarks, people from all over the world can partake in a bit of Bohol history every time they visit this beautiful island province.