Today in Philippine History, December 30, 1896, Dr. Jose Rizal was shot in Bagumbayan

Sunday December 02, 2012 ()

On December 30, 1896, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal, the greatest man of the Malayan race, was shot to death at Bagumbayan (present day Luneta or Rizal park), Manila, by a firing squad of native soldiers, on the accusation of political conspiracy and sedition, and rebellion against the Spanish government in the Philippines. Recognizing that the verdict was made up, and the die had been cast against him, he said on the eve of his death:

"A victim is sought and I am the one who is chosen to bear the whole blame. I am innocent of the crime of rebellion. I am going to die with a tranquil conscience."

Execution  of Dr. Jose Rizal at Bagumbayan
(Execution of Dr. Jose Rizal at Bagumbayan, a reproduction of an original photo taken during the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal)

Dr. Rizal was born of a well-to-do family in Calamba, Laguna on June 19, 1861. He obtained his education successively from his mother, from a school in Biñan, Laguna, then from the Ateneo de Municipal de Manila, Santo Tomas University, and from the Central University of Madrid where he obtained his doctor's degree in medicine and philosophy. This was suppplemented by his travels in France, Germany, England, United States, and other foreign countries.

As his biographers have noted, he was a physician, occulist, painter, sculptor, philosopher, novelist, poet, philologist, and agriculturist.

In 1901, when the Americans took control of the country, Governor-general William Howard Taft named Rizal as the Philippine national hero. A year later, on February 1, 1902, the Philippine Commission enacted Act No. 345, which made December 30, a public holiday, Dr. Jose P. Rizal day.

Tagalog literature; a historico-critical study, Alip, Eufronio Melo, Manila: U. S. T. Press, 1930.
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