History of Bohol

The name Bohol originated from Bo-ho or Bo-ol. Its people are documented to be descendants of the pintados which were the final troupe of inhabitants who settled in the Philippines. Pintados, which means the tattooed ones, were living examples of their folk art and culture. They painted their bodies with indigenous paint made from plant extracts. Various artifacts dug at Mansasa, Dauis and Panglao substantiates these expressions of art.

Bohol’s history is filled with fascinating tales. The most historical event which occurred in Bohol was the blood compact alliance, called the Sandugo. On March 15, 1565 the native king Datu Sikatuna and the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi entered into an international treaty of peace and cooperation by drinking from a vessel where both droplets of their blood were collected.

It was said that Miguel de Legazpi had traveled across the seas in search of gold and spices when he came upon this island inhabited by aborigines. They were led by their king Datu Sikatuna who initially attempted to fend off the Spaniards thinking they were his enemies. After Legazpi convinced him that they came in peace and goodwill, they sealed off the new friendship with the said blood compact. Out of this historical event, the Sandugo Festival of Bohol was born.

There were two historically noteworthy occurrences in the province of Bohol during the Spanish era. One was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621 and the famous Dagahoy Rebellion led by Francisco Dagohoy which began in 1744 and ended in 1829, making it the longest rebellion in the history of the Philippines.
The American troops took over the entire Bohol Island after they defeated the Spaniards in the Spanish-American War. Then a Philippine-American War broke out in the country. Another troop led by Major Henry Hale arrived in Tagbilaraan. Hale later hired a Filipino named Pedro Samson to organize a police force but instead, Samson began a rebellious uprising employing guerrilla tactics.

The conflict reached a lull for sometime however in 1901, the murder of an American soldier reignited the insurgency. The American soldier had assaulted a Filipina whose fiancé, in turn, sought revenge. The soldier’s commander, Major Edwin Glenn, ordered the town of Jana to be razed down, once again infuriating the people of Bohol. Another war began anew, the burning of other villages went on, farms and livestock were vandalized and civilians tortured. In the end 20 villages were ravaged by fire and Major Glenn, later court martialed for the felony. Samson and his men surrendered in 1901.

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