Annexation, Annex

Two-story buildings from the early 20th century Philippines.

U.S. flag flies over Lucena, Tayabas, 1901
Image Source: Special Collections Research Center, University of Michigan

Working Definition:

In 1898, Spain sold the entire archipelago of over 7,000 islands and over 7 million people to the United States for $20 million, despite the intent of a burgeoning Filipino nationalist movement to establish a republic. Though the United States acquired the Philippines as a colonial territory, it withheld full citizenship from its colonial subjects as legal and political battles raged about whether the Philippines would ever attain full membership within the U.S. Many of these debates in the United States revolved around the racial distinctions of the peoples of the Philippines. Various terms have been used to describe the U.S.’s possession of the Philippines and the geopolitical relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines during the American colonial period, including annexation/annex, territory, and possession.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019); Rick Baldoz, The Third Asiatic Invasion: Migration and Empire in Filipino America, 1898-1946 (New York: New York University Press, 2011); Dorothy Fujita-Rony, American Workers, Colonial Power: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West, 1919-1941 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).