Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture

By John S. Bowman | Go to book overview

The Philippines

PREHISTORIC PERIOD: 38,000 B.C.–A.D. 700

During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.75 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.), the lowering and rising of the world's sea levels have left the Philippine Islands alternately connected to and isolated from the nearby islands and via them to the mainland of Southeast Asia. Although some scientists claim to find stone tools made by Homo erectus as early as 500,000 B.C., most scholars believe that the first humans to move into the Philippines are Homo sapiens who come no earlier than about 38,000 B.C. For many thousands of years, these first Filipinos probably live somewhat isolated, their basic culture that of the hunters-gatherers and stone tools of this period. Then, starting about 3000–2800 B.C., new migrants begin to link the Philippines with developments in East and Southeast Asia, and the Philippines participate in the evolving cultural phases of Southeast Asia—the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and eventually the Iron Age. However, the first written references to the Philippines are not found until the eighth century A.D. and the coming of the first Chinese and Japanese.

38,000–28,000B.C.: People regarded as the ancestors of the present-day Negritos move into the Philippines. (It is assumed that they walk across land bridges from the southwest, accessible due to the low sea level.) Their exact origin is not known, but these people are distinguished by their relatively short stature, dark skin, and tightly curled hair; they are probably related to the peoples who are also settling the Melanesian Islands in this era. (The Negritos still live in coastal and inland locales in parts of the Philippines where they include such tribes as the Aeta; their most immediate modern relatives seem to be the Negritos of peninsular Malaysia.)

28,000–3000B.C.: The inhabitants of the Philippines probably do not differ much from the peoples and cultures elsewhere in Southeast and East Asia (although when the sea rises to its present level, between about 13,000 and 6000 B.C., the islands are physically isolated). They are primarily hunters, fishers, and food-foragers, with little material culture beyond their flaked stone tools; they

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Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture *
  • Contents v
  • Consultants and Contributors vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture *
  • Part One - East Asia 1
  • China - Political History 3
  • China - Arts, Culture, Thought, and Religion 79
  • China - Science-Technology, Economics, and Everyday Life 99
  • Japan - Political History 118
  • Japan - Arts, Culture, Thought, and Religion 162
  • Japan - Science-Technology, Economics, and Everyday Life 179
  • Korea 193
  • Taiwan 225
  • Hong Kong 236
  • Macau (Macao) 244
  • Part Two - South Asia 250
  • India - Political History 251
  • India - Arts, Culture, Thought, and Religion 325
  • India - Science-Technology, Economics, and Everyday Life 355
  • Pakistan 370
  • Bangladesh 379
  • Bhutan 384
  • Maldives 389
  • Nepal 393
  • Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 400
  • Part Three - Southeast Asia 408
  • Brunei 409
  • Cambodia 415
  • Indonesia 436
  • Laos 452
  • Malaysia 465
  • Myanmar (Burma) 476
  • The Philippines 488
  • Singapore 501
  • Thailand 506
  • Vietnam 521
  • Part Four - Central Asia 545
  • Mongolia 547
  • Central Asian Republics 566
  • Tibet 577
  • Appendix 1 - National/Independence Days 583
  • Appendix 2 - Scientific-Technological Achievements in Asia 590
  • Appendix 3 - Asian History: a Chronological Overview 603
  • Index 679
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