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Philippines

Philippines

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Population: 92,337,852 (est.)

Language(s): Filipino, English

Capital: Manila

Interesting Facts:

  • The Philippine peso is the official currency of the Philippines.
  • The Philippines is a secular nation having a constitution separating the state and church. However, more than 90% of the population are Christians with between 5 and 10% of being Muslim.
  • With a population of over 90 million people, the Philippines is the 12th most populous country in the world.
  • The Philippine flag is the only flag in the world which is hoisted upside-down when the country is in war.
  • The people of the Philippines are from different ethnic origins such as Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American, etc.
  • Its capital city Manila was named after a white-flowered mangrove plant, the nilad.
  • It was the first Southeast Asian country to gain independence in 1946, following World War II.
  • With more than 11 million Filipinos overseas, the Philippines has the largest diaspora networks in the world.

The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. Covering almost three hundred thousand square kilometres (over 186,000 sq mi) make it the 73rd largest independent nation and an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.

With a population of more than 92 million people, the Philippines is the seventh most populated Asian country and the 12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Trade and subsequent Chinese settlement eventually introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. The Spanish Empire began to settle with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from New Spain (present day-Mexico) in 1565 who established the first Spanish settlement in the archipelago, which remained a Spanish colony for more than 300 years.

Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon fleet. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic; the Spanish-American War; and the Philippine–American War. In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power; aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands. After World War II, the Treaty of Manila established the Philippine Republic as an independent nation. Since then, the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular “people power” movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others.

Source: Wikipedia

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