The Philippine Islands are situated on the eastern rim of the China Sea and throughout history has hosted voyagers, migrants and traders.
The West discovery of the Philippines in 1521 facilitated the growth of Christianity and emergence of new culture. However, Spanish colonization did not actually began until 1565 when voyager Miguel Lopez de Legaspi established a Spanish base in the town of Manila, the Philippines' Capital.
During the 16th century, the Philippines was a Spanish colony and then were handed over to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War.
After a 10-year transition, Manuel Quezon was elected President and prepared the country for their independence. In 1935, the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth.
During WWII in 1942, the islands fell under Japanese occupation. US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Philippines attained their independence. The 21-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos ended in 1986, when a widespread popular rebellion forced him into exile and installed Corazon Aquino as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development.
Fidel Ramos was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. That same year, the US closed its last military bases on the islands.
In 1998, Joseph Estrada was elected president but was succeeded by his vice-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In January 2001 after Estrada’s impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and widespread demonstrations led to his ouster. Macapagal-Arroyo was elected to a six-year term in May 2004.