These silver coins, minted by the U.S. in San Francisco or Philadelphia, replaced the older Spanish colonial currency after the United States took the Philippines after the Spanish American War. The obverse side is inscribed with "United States of America" and the date, while the reverse shows a standing woman with an anvil and a volcano in the background.
Two denominations are available, the smaller 10 centavos coin and the larger 20 centavos coin. Each includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
For over 40 years until the end of World War II, the Philippines was officially a territory of the United States. This often overlooked period of history saw attempts to build an American colonial empire, during which the U.S. also added Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Guantanamo Bay, and the Panama Canal to a growing list of overseas territories.
Here's a timeline showing major events during the US's involvement in the Philippines:
Despite being on opposite sides in the Spanish American War, the local commanders of the Spanish and American forces colluded during the Battle of Manila to keep the Philippine Revolutionary Army outside the city center. This led to the transfer of control of Manila from the Spanish to American forces. Though the Philippines chose to declare independence, the United States did not acknowledge this and acquired the Philippines at the end of 1898.
President William McKinley issued a proclamation of “benevolent assimilation” following the battle, claiming that forces of occupation came “not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and religious rights.”
Fighting began with yet another battle in Manila, and the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the United States on June 2nd, 1899. Filipinos suffered much greater casualties than Americans during the war, with the United States openly attacking civilians. News of atrocities committed during the war reached the US, rendering it open to heavy criticism, notably from anti-Imperialists including Mark Twain—who criticized the United States as becoming a colonial power.
As the U.S. gained further control, it established a civil government in 1901 with future U.S. president William H. Taft as civil governor of the Philippines.
Filipino revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo's aides during the Philippine-American War, circa 1899
Following the abolishment of the military government, the United States Congress quickly passed the Philippine Organic Act in 1902, which formally organized the Insular Government. The term “insular” referred to the government operating under the authority of the US Bureau of Insular Affairs.
During this period, the Supreme Court struggled with the constitutional status of the new government. In the 1904 case Dorr v. United States, for example, the United States Supreme court ruled that Filipinos had no constitutional right to a trial by jury.
Philippine nationalists still attempted to fight for independence after the war, though this was suspended during World War I. In 1919, the Philippine Legislature passed the “Declaration of Purposes,” stating the will of the Filipino people to be a free and independent nation and also funded an independence mission to meet with the United States Secretary of War. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared that the U.S. had a duty to grant the Philippines independence in his farewell address to Congress, though his request was not heeded.
Public funding for independence missions was ruled illegal after the first attempt failed, though missions funded by voluntary donations continued. The Tydings-McDuffie Act was eventually enacted, which promised Philippine independence by 1946 following a ten year transition period.
Just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor kicked off U.S. involvement in World War II, Japan launched an invasion of the Philippines. American aircraft at Pearl Harbor were heavily damaged, leaving the ships stationed at the Philippines without air support. The U.S. military was forced to withdraw, and what followed was a period of brutal Japanese occupation that lasted over three years.
The Philippines was freed from Japanese control in 1945 at the end of the war, after suffering catastrophic destruction and loss of life.
A Japanese soldier stands in front of US propaganda in the Philippines, 1943
Though delayed by World War II, the Philippines finally gained independence on July 4th, 1946. This was officially signed off by President Harry Truman and intentionally lined up with the United States' independence day.
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