Philippines, an archipelago in the western Pacific 500 miles from the southeast
coast of Asia, was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1521.
The first permanent Spanish settlement was establish in 1565. Spain held the
Philippines amid a growing movement of Filipino nationalism until 1898 when
they were ceded to the United States at the end of the Spanish-American War.
The Filipinos then fought unsuccessfully against the United States to maintain
their independent republic proclaimed by Emilio Aguinaldo. The country became a
self-governing Commonwealth of the United States in 1935, occupied by Japan
during WWII, and attained full independence in 1946.
For a more detailed
country profile, see CIA World Factbook on Philippines.