Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Most Short-lived Countries

        Culture | History

8
Biak-na-Bato
Emilio Aguinaldo broke up with Spain to set up the Republic of Biak-na-Bato in the Philippines ... for 44 days. Bettmann/Getty Images
Emilio Aguinaldo broke up with Spain to set up the Republic of Biak-na-Bato in the Philippines ... for 44 days. Bettmann/Getty Images

In the 1890s Filipinos were growing increasingly sick of being ruled by faraway, despotic Spain, so they started agitating for independence. This, in turn, provoked the Spanish to suppress the nascent independence movement, and this suppression provoked a full-blown revolution.

In 1897 as Spanish troops closed in on the revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo, he slipped through enemy lines with 500 men and disappeared into a wild region called Biak-na-Bato. There Aguinaldo declared the formation of the Republic of Biak-na-Bato and issued a series of proclamations, chief among them being independence from Spain.

Aguinaldo and his men had so much popular support among the Filipinos that the Spanish governor realized while he might be able to overwhelm the leader militarily, he couldn't destroy the movement itself. So he negotiated terms. In the end, Aguinaldo agreed to exile himself to Hong Kong in return for money and political concessions. The republic of Biak-na-Bato lasted 44 days [source: Aguinaldo].

By May 1898 the U.S. seized the Philippines from Spain. Aguinaldo returned, but his hopes for an independent republic were dashed. The U.S. essentially took Spain's place as a colonial power, and the Filipinos didn't win their independence until 1946 [source: Government of the Philippines].


More to Explore