The New International Encyclopædia/Manila
MANIL′A, Sp. pron. mȧ-nē′lȧ. The capital of the Philippine Islands. It is situated on the western coast of the island of Luzon, at the eastern end of Manila Bay, at the entrance of the River Pasig, in latitude 14° 35′ N., and longitude 120° 58′ E. (Map: Luzon, E 8). The city occupies part of an extensive plain on both banks of the Pasig, and surrounded on the land side by a semicircle of picturesque mountains. It is divided by the Pasig into two parts, the old walled city and the suburbs. The former lies on the southern bank of the river, and is surrounded by an old wall with bastions and parapets. The wall is two and one-half miles long, and is pierced by six gateways with drawbridges. It is surrounded by Manila Bay on the west and the Pasig on the north, while on the east and south there are deep moats which are connected by strong gates with the sea, and can be flooded in case of war. The walled city contains the principal public buildings such as the Government offices, colleges, the weather observatory, the Archbishop's palace, and the cathedral. The aspect of the old city, with its gloomy buildings and half crumbled walls, is sombre, imposing, and essentially mediæval. Separated from the old city by the Pasig is Binondo, the centre of the commercial as well as of the industrial activity of the metropolis. Here are situated the principal warehouses, cigar and tobacco factories, the business houses of the European trading companies, and the principal shops. North of Binondo lies the suburb of Tondo, where the working population of the capital lives, chiefly in huts built of cane and palm leaves. San Miguel, situated on an island formed by an arm of the Pasig, is the fashionable suburb of Manila, and contains the line residences of the wealthy merchants and officials.
Several bridges cross the Pasig from the suburbs, the principal being the Bridge of Spain, a handsome stone structure with a number of arches, leading from Binondo. At the south end of this bridge, and stretching along the Pasig outside the city walls, is the Paseo or Plaza de Magallanes, containing an obelisk erected to the memory of the discoverer of the islands. From this plaza a handsome paseo stretches in a semicircle outside the moat and terminates on the bay front south of the city, where there is a park and promenade called the Luneta, which is lighted by electricity. Most of the streets of Manila are broad and cross at right angles, but the street railroads are of an antiquated type, though modern trolley lines are now being projected, and other modern facilities are being extended. Among the buildings of Manila the most prominent are the former palace of the Captains-General and the cathedral. Both were destroyed by the earthquakes of 1863; the palace is in ruins, but the cathedral has been rebuilt. The custom-house is a handsome building also rebuilt since 1863. The best buildings are, as a rule, the convents and some of the churches. Manila is the intellectual centre of the entire archipelago, and has besides the Uni- versity of Saint Thomas (see Manila, University of), the College of San Juan de Letrán, a normal school, an athenæum, and an observatory. Manila has several good hospitals, among which are a large military hospital, a home for convalescents, an insane asylum, and the excellent and spacious hospital of San Juan de Dios. The chief manufactures are cigars and cigarettes, products of the famous Manila hemp or abaca, and some textiles. Iron foundries, machine shops, and various milling establishments are also flourishing. Manila's future, however, will depend chiefly on its commerce. Its harbor, even in its present unimproved state, is very spacious. The city has steamship communication with many of the great ports on both sides of and in the Pacific Ocean. The larger commercial houses are conducted chiefly by Spaniards or other Europeans, while the small trade is mostly in the hands of the Chinese, who are very prominent in the commercial activity of the city. Manila exports mainly sugar, hemp, tobacco and cigars, coffee, dye-woods, and precious metals. The imports are rice, cotton goods, chemicals, metal goods, and wine. The trade is chiefly with China, the United States, and Great Britain, and the carrying is done mostly in British bottoms. Manila is the terminal of the only railway line of the archipelago; it runs to Dagupan, a distance of about 120 miles. The population of Manila and the suburbs, as determined by the census of 1901 revised by the statistics of the Board of Health up to January, 1902, was 293,814 (not reckoning over 3000 members of the United States Army), including 218,900 natives, chiefly Tagálogs, 60,680 Chinese, 7852 foreigners, largely Spaniards, and 6462 Americans. The city received its new charter of incorporation from the Philippine Commission on July 31, 1901, by which the government is vested in a municipal board of three members appointed by the civil Governor.
Manila existed as a palisaded native town under the name of ‘Mainila’ when it was first visited by the Spaniards. In 1569 Juan de Salcedo, a nephew of Legazpi, the conqueror of the Philippines, made an unsuccessful attempt to found a Spanish colony in the town. In 1571 Legazpi himself appeared in the harbor with a Spanish lleet. and w:is admitted into the town by the two native chiefs, who rendered homage to Spain. Legazpi at once strengthened the fortifications, and built a church and a number of houses for the Spaniards, and in the same year a municipal government was inaugurated with great solemnity. The city in 1574 was sacked and burned by Chinese pirates; in 1590 the present permanent fortifications were begun. In 1602 an insurrection of the Chinese residents of the city was put down with great severity, several thousands of the insurgents being killed. The same year the city was blockaded by the Dutch. In 1762 it was captured and sacked by the English, who occupied it until 1764.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century Manila became the centre of secret agitation for the overthrow of Spanish sovereignty. Many arrests were made; on September 2, 1890, thirteen prominent Filipino citizens were shot at Cavité; and on December 30th Dr. Rizal was executed at Manila. On August 30, 1897, a skirmish with the insurgents took place on the outskirts of the city, which was then declared under martial law. On May 1, 1898, Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay—an event which was the signal for a great uprising of the Filipinos against Spanish rule, under the lead of Aguinaldo, and on August 13th the city capitulated to the American forces. It was placed under a military government and policed by a provost guard of American soldiers. During the winter of 1898-99 the city was practically in a state of siege by Aguinaldo's forces until the actual outbreak of hostilities, which began with an unsuccessful attack of the Filipinos upon the Americans at Manila, on February 4-5, 1899. The actual transfer of the military government to the new civil authorities took place on August 7, 1901.
Manila has a number of times suffered from earthquakes, the most terrible of which occurred on June 3, 1863, when all the prominent buildings were destroyed and several thousand persons killed. Consult the authorities referred to under Philippine Islands.