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Though not inherently harmful, these terms are often used as “blanket” descriptors, which may be historically inaccurate for the time period or region under consideration. David Sibley explains, “At the time of the conflict [Philippine-American War], the Philippine nation was barely formed. Tagalogs, Moros, and other Filipino tribal groups did not connect themselves to each other in a single, imagined community.” Furthermore, scholars have noted that the “Philippines” did not exist prior to the arrival of Spanish colonials in the sixteenth century (indeed, the archipelago was named “Filipinas” after King Philip II of Spain). Nevertheless, some scholars have noted how Filipino nationalism coalesced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, inspired by efforts to resist Spanish and, later, American colonization of the archipelago. Of course, this process was not uniform throughout the islands, particularly in the southern Philippines, where greater numbers of indigenous and Muslim peoples resided.

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Suggestions for Further Reading:

David J. Sibley, A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007); Benedict Anderson, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World (London: Verso, 1998)