Working Definition:

As capital interests from Europe, Japan, and the United States ventured into the Philippines, especially throughout the 19th century, the archipelago became the site of plantations necessary for the cultivation of crops such as tobacco, sugar, coffee, and cacao. The rise of the planation system led to mass migrations throughout the Philippines as peoples sought work, land, or were driven from their homes. Historian John A. Larkin writes, “Few among the indigenous population went unaffected by the activities associated with the expanding frontier, and the dominance of lowland Chrisitan culture became firmly entrenched. The communal solidarity that had characterized pre-nineteenth century Philippine society began to loosen before economic strains associated with the establishment of commercial agriculture, and the manner of frontier settlement indelibly marked contemporary Philippine life.” The plantation system led to the exploitation of laborers as well. Like hacienda, this term is not inherently harmful, but it should be used within its proper historical contexts, which are dynamic given the complexities and geographic reach of plantations in the Philippines.

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Suggestions for Further Reading:

Adrian De Leon, Bundock: A Hinterland History of Filipino America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2023); Theresa Ventura, “From Small Farms to Progressive Plantations: The Trajectory of Land Reform in the American Colonial Philippines, 1900-1916,” Agricultural History, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Fall 2016): 459-483; John A. Larkin, “Philippine History Reconsidered: A Socioeconomic Perspective,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 87, No. 3 (June 1982): 595-628.