Cavite Mutiny: The Rise of Filipino Nationalism

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On this day (January 20), the year was 1872. 200 troops & laborers led by Sgt. Fernando La Madrid, at an arsenal in Cavite rose up against to our colonial masters. It is believed that it was the beginning of Filipino Nationalism and sparked the fire of the Filipino Revolution. It also led to the 3 Parish Martyrs as the masterminds of the mutiny: Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora.

How did the munity started? Why the Gomburza (Gomez, Burgos, & Zamora) executed by the Spaniards?

Governor-General Rafael Izquierdo

Governor-General Carlos Maria de la Torre was replaced by Rafael Izquierdo in 1871. He led an iron-fist and disliked the reforms created by de la Torre. So with this, he removed the benefits enjoyed by the Guardia Civil and lessen other reforms created by the previous Governor-General. As workers, laborers, and soldiers were not getting paid and they're required to pay a monetary sum, even perform forced labor. Sgt. Fernando La Madrid along with 200 people under his command marched to Fort San Felipe, Cavite on January 20, 1872.

They seized the Fort and killed 11 officers hoping that other soldiers would join them. News of the mutiny reached Manila, Izquierdo sent a regiment to take down the mutineers, dead or alive. Sgt. La Madrid was dead throughout the skirmish making the mutiny unsuccessful, as others disarmed their weapons and surrendered to the Spanish authorities. The mutiny was used by the Spanish government as they arrest Ilustrados, wealthy businessmen, and other collaborators of the mutiny. 7 days later (January 27, 1872), Izquierdo approved the death sentences of the 41 mutineers. 11 were sentenced to death, but it changed to life imprisonment on February 6, 1872, others were exiled to Guam, Mariana Islands. The Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora were charged of treason and sedition by a military tribunal as masterminds of the mutiny. On February 17, 1872, the 3 Friar Martyrs were sentenced to death by garrote at Bagumbayan (now Luneta Park), Manila.

The public execution of Gomez, Burgos, & Zamora of February 17, 1872.

The Aftermath?

Dr. Jose Rizal (left), Marcelo H. Del Pilar (middle), and Mariano Ponce (seated in right)

Following the execution of Gomburza, as Ilustrados were sent to Spain in exile while studying in Europe's most prestigious universities, this led to the creation of the propagandist group La Solidaridad (The Solidarity) led by Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, and Galicano Apacible. Their objective? To increase awareness of the needs of our country, and to propagate a closer relationship between the 2 countries. They use unique pen-names instead of their real names, and notable members of the group were Antonio Luna under the pen-name Taga-Ilog (River) (before he became Commandant General of the Philippines of the Filipino-American War), Jose Alejandrino (Antonio's right hand, and General during the Filipino-American War), Juan Luna (Antonio's Brother), Mariano Ponce, and Dr. Jose Rizal under the pen-name Laong Laan & Dimasalang.

The Art Murals along the underpass going from Intramuros to City Hall of Manila showing Rizal's novels, until his execution. Photo taken last December 22, 2020.

After Rizal's contribution to the group he wrote one of his novels as a sequel to Noli me Tangere (Touch me Not), and published it in 1891 which would trigger the Spanish authorities. The book was titled El Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed) as his tribute to honor the Gomburza.

"To the memory of the priests, Don Mariano Gomez, Don Jose Burgos, and Don Jacinto Zamora. The church, by refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime that has been imputed to you; the government, by surrounding your trials with mystery and shadows causes the belief that there was some error, committed in fatal moments; and all the Philippines, by worshiping your memory and calling you martyrs, in no sense recognizes your capability. In so far, therefore, as your complicity in the Cavite Mutiny is not clearly proved, as you may or may not have been patriots, and as you may or may not cherish sentiments for justice and for liberty, I have the right to dedicate my work to you as victims of the evil which I undertake in combat."

As a result, the Spanish government declares Rizal as an enemy of the state. He returned to the Philippines to organize a civic movement at Ilaya, Tondo, Manila called La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League), but was captured in 1892, then deported in Dapitan. In 1896, the Filipino Revolution begins following a series of battles, then executions organized by the Spaniards to spread fear against the revolutionaries. Rizal met the same fate as for the Gomburza. He was sentenced to death by musketry of December 30, 1898. After Rizal's death, the Revolution continues against the Spaniards.

The Cavite Mutiny of 1872 was the beginning of Filipino Nationalism, then it became the spark that light the fire of 1896. Our ancestors fought hard, until the day they die against their colonial masters but it was a tough road to gain independence. We shall never forget them as they've committed their lives in the name of hope, freedom, and justice.


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