Today in Philippine history, May 20, 1898, Aguinaldo returned to restart his insurrection

Sunday May 18, 2014 ()

   General Emilio Aguinaldo returned on May 20, 1898 to restart his insurrection
   (General Emilio Aguinaldo)

On May 20, 1898, Admiral Dewey set General Emilio Aguinaldo ashore at Cavite and got him to start his insurrection "under the protection of our guns" as Dewey stated in his report of 1898.

General Aguinaldo who was in exile in Hongkong, returned to the command of the Philippine army through the support of Consul-General Smith of Singapore, and Consul Wildman of Hong Kong. He was carried to Manila Bay on the United States war vessel McCulloch by Admiral Dewey and supplied him with arms.

Aguinaldo left the panoplied safety of Dewey's squadron, and plunged single-handed, into the struggle for Freedom, and directly into the shorelines of Cavite Puerto. There he met the revolutionary forces from Bataan and ordered a general uprising in the provinces of Bataan and Zambales. Later in the night of the same day, Aguinaldo sent General Luciano San Miguel to the revolutionary armies of Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas (Quezon), Bulacan, Morong (Rizal), Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and other parts of Southern Luzon to carry the order to raise arms against the Spaniards.

Today in Philippine history, May 20, 1898, Aguinaldo returned to restart his insurrection

Few days later, on May 24, while still "under the protection of American guns", Aguinaldo proclaimed his revolutionary government from his military headquarters in the mansion of Maximo Inocencio, at Calle Arsenal, Cavite Puerto, and summoned the people to his standard for the purpose of driving the Spaniards out forever.

Aguinaldo was uninterruptedly successful in the field and dignified just as the head of his government. He defeated detachment after detachment of the Spanish army, took fort after fort, captured regiments with arms and ammunition, and in a few months' time he had captured every Spanish soldier in the island of Luzon, or had driven those not captured into Manila.

His proclamation promised a constitutional convention to be called later (which was duly called later) to elect a President and Cabinet; referred to the United States as "undoubtedly disinterested" and declared the Filipinos "capable of governing for ourselves our unfortunate country"; and formally announced the temporary assumption of supreme authority as dictator.


  1. The Anti-imperialist, Edward Atkinson, Brookline, Mass.
  2. US Navy Dept. Report, 1898, Appendix, p. 103
  3. The American occupation of the Philippines, 1898-1912, James H. Blount, New York, London: G. P. Putnam's sons, 1912


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