On this day in 1892 the Katipunan, or Revolutionary Philippine Brotherhood, was established, bringing about the Philippine Revolution and eventually contributing to the fall of the Spanish Empire in Asia.
The birth of the Katipunan began with La Liga Filipina, a peaceful, anti-colonial group pushing for reforms in Spanish rule, founded by Filipino patriot and writer Jose Rizal. On the night of 7 July 1892, Rizal was arrested by the colonial Spanish powers for reported involvement in a nascent rebellion, and exiled to the coastal city of Dapitan as punishment. Angered by the Spaniards’ crackdown on the peaceful La Liga, some of Rizal’s fellow patriots decided to take more forceful action.
That very night—7 July 1892—after Rizal had been banished to Dapitan, revolutionary and member of La Liga, Andres Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, in a house in Tondo, Manila. The other founders included Teodoro Plata, a freemason and member of La Liga; Ladislao Diwa, a lawyer; Valentin Diaz, a patriot and member of La Liga; and Deodato Arellano, a bookkeeper, freemason, and member of La Liga. To these founders, the arrest of Rizal and failure of La Liga to achieve reforms from Spain signaled the end to a peaceful, propaganda campaign and the beginning of more militant methods. As such, the beginning of the Katipunan marked the end of Filipinos’ attempts to secure reforms from Spain through peaceful means.
The Katipunan was a secret revolutionary society whose primary objective was to gain independence from Spain through revolution. The secret society’s full name in Tagalog was Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (the Supreme and Venerable Society of the Children of the Nation), or KKK for short. It had four main aims, including developing an alliance with every Katipunero, or member of the Katipunan; uniting Filipinos under one nation; winning Philippine independence through armed conflict; and establishing a republic after independence.
The Katipunan operated in secrecy until 1896, when it was discovered and made public as it was preparing for a revolution. According to most accounts, that discovery led to the imminent outbreak of an armed uprising that would become the Philippine Revolution. Some two years into the Revolution, the Philippine Islands seceded from the Spanish Empire and Filipino rebels declared independence from Spain and established the first Philippine Republic. However, neither Spain nor the US recognised Philippine independence and it would be decades later, in 1946, that Filipinos finally gained independence with the Treaty of Manila. Most Filipinos today credit the Katipunan as the initial impetus that gave rise to eventual Philippine independence—and that led to the eventual fall of the Spanish Empire in Asia.