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FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 February 1854.


1854, 20 cuartos = 1 real; 8 reals = 1 peso plata fuerte.
1864, 100 centimos = 1 peso plata fuerta.
1871, 100 centimos = 1 escudo (½ peso).
1872, 100 centimos = 1 peseta (½ peso).
1876, 1000 milesimas = 100 centavos = 1 peso.
1899, 100 cents = 1 dollar.
1906, 100 centavos = 1 peso.
1962, 100 sentimos = 1 piso.

The scene of Magellan's death in 1521, the islands were named in 1542 and settled by the Spaniards in 1565, though resistance by the Muslim inhabitants of Mindanao continued until 1878. The population is mainly Roman Catholic of mixed native, Spanish and Chinese descent.

A Filipino revolt had already had some success when the Spanish- American War broke out in 1898. The Philippine president cooperated with the Americans to expel the Spanish, then fought the Americans until his capture in 1901. Ceded to the USA by Spain (in exchange for $20m), the Philippines were ruled militarily until 4 July 1901, then as a colony. They were granted US commonwealth status in 1935. Captured by the Japanese between 10 December 1941 and 6 May 1942 (Battle of Corregidor), the Philippines were declared a republic on 14 October 1943. They were recaptured by US forces under Macarthur between 24 October 1944 (Battle of Leyte) and 2 September 1945, and became an independent republic on 4 July 1946

Postal History
Early mails to Manila were carried by the Acapulco galleon from Mexico. This service was interrupted by the rebellions in Central and South America and the route via Asia and Africa was run on a casual basis. When Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1841 mail was routed through that colony. From 1854, stamps of India were available in Manila and were used to pre-pay postage by the merchants. In 1863 these were replaced by stamps of Hong Kong which were available until 1873 when Straits Settlements adhesives were available, except for mail to the USA for which Hong Kong stamps continued to be used. The use of foreign stamps ceased in 1877 when the Spanish colonies joined the UPU.

Under the USA, Manila played a prominent part in the Transpacific clipper airmail service.

Stamps show the characteristics of each phase of government, including Spanish, US, and Japanese.

Indonesia & Philippines to 1945
Click map for larger view

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