America’s first Vietnam

Missing from the history books

From the Empire Files

On this day in 1898, the Philippines declared Independence from Spain – which was followed by a US invasion and occupation.

Mark Twain opposed it.

It was America’s first Vietnam.

A report from the Empire Files.

The U.S. Occupation (1898-1946)

The first Philippine Republic was short-lived. Spain had lost a war with the United States. The Philippines was illegally ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Paris for US$20 million, together with Cuba and Puerto Rico.

A Filipino-American War broke out as the United States attempted to establish control over the islands. The war lasted for more than 10 years, resulting in the death of more than 600,000 Filipinos. The little-known war has been described by historians as the “first Vietnam”, where US troops first used tactics such as strategic hamleting and scorched-earth policy to “pacify” the natives.

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