The Philippines Genocide 3 million Filipinos Killed

The Philippines Genocide is the genocide history forgot, you will find in history books the - War of 1899-1902 but they fail to mention the genocide carried out by the United States of on the people of the Philippines.

I first came across references to the Philippines Genocide in 2009 and since then have spent a lot of time researching it. I have discussed it with many people, it seems people in the Philippines are not taught about the genocide and very few have even heard of the Philippines genocide.

The fact that it is not taught and so few know about it did make me question if it really happened. So I dug much deeper and have come to the conclusion it did happen, but as the victors write the history books they tried to cover it up because it  was so horrific.

Figures do not add up

What brought me to the conclusion that the Philippines genocide did happen is the figures in the history books which simply do not add up. The History books that were written by the victors claim somewhere between 200,000 to 300,000 died in that period, which is still a large number considering the population of the Philippines at the time was no more than 9 million.

200,000 to 300,000 dead just can not be correct. A People’s History of the United States (1980) cites 300,000 Filipinos killed in alone, that alone proves the figures wrong, William Pomeroy’s American Neocolonialism (1970) cites 600,000 Filipinos dead in Luzon alone by 1902. This is backed up by General Bell himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main of Luzon—some 600,000 people.”

E. Ahmed’s wrote “The Theory and Fallacies of Counter-Insurgency,” The Nation, August 2, 1971.“the bloodiest colonial war (in proportion to population) ever fought by a white power in Asia; it cost the lives of 3,000,000 Filipinos.”

historian the late Luzviminda Francisco carried out a thorough investigation of the Philippines Genocide and documented it, she arrived at the figure of 1.4 million Filipinos dead. The End of An Illusion (London, 1973). However, this only covered the period from 1899 to 1905 it does not cover the first 2 decades of U.S. colonial rule a time when the killing might have slowed but was still happening to keep the people in order, it also does not include the thousands of Filipino Muslims (Moros) that were brutally killed.

Census figures and the Philippines Genocide

People will often ask why do Census figures not show a drop in population for that period?

There could be a few reasons for this, firstly I doubt even today population figures for the Philippines are correct as so many people live of the radar, imagine how difficult it would have been to calculate the population in the late 1890s and the early 1900s.

The methodologies used by the Spanish and the Americans were also very different. The Spaniards generally left Igorots, Aetas, Lumads, and Moro peoples alone, so it is unlikely they were included in the census.

You also have to ask if the U.S census figures showed a drop of 1.4 million or more would they publish this for the world to see?

I suspect however the U.S figures were no more than a guess based on the Spanish figures, as it was at a time of war and would have been almost impossible to collect the numbers. Or maybe the U.S did give the task of collecting the numbers but rather than going out into hostile communities that would put them in danger they made them up using the Spanish census as a guide.

The slaughter

In an article published in The Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…

Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Major Littletown Waller a U.S. Marine that was accused of 11 unarmed Filipinos on Samar. Another Marine officer described his testimony.

The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

Filipino did not stand a chance against the superior and overwhelming firepower of the American troops. In the first Admiral Dewey was firing 500 pound shells as he steamed along the River Pasig. The bodies of dead Filipinos was so high U.S. troops used them for a defensive wall.

Writer Mark Twain best known for his book “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”

On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.

We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain

Mark Twain also spoke of the almost universal racism of the white American troops and politicians he called them shameless. He was deeply disturbed by the sadistic war crimes that were committed by the American troops. He suggested that the Stars and stripes on the American flag should be replaced by a skull and cross bone.

Was it American policy to kill as many Filipinos as possible? Brigadier General J. Franklin Bell wrote “With a very few exceptions, practically the entire population has been hostile to us at heart,” so there is no doubt the Americans saw every Filipino as the enemy.

The USA carried out a scorched earth campaign in burning and destroying villages, they also tuned villages into concentration camps where they burnt the land around them and built watch towers that looked over the free- zones, anyone trying to leave the village was shot. They called these concentration camps reconcentrados.

The reconcentrados (concentration camps) were full of disease which caused a very high rate the rate in some camps was as high as 20%. One camp was 2 miles long by 1 mile wide and was the prison for 8,000 filipinos. Men were often rounded up to be questioned using torture if they gave the Americans the information they wanted or not did not matter as they were still shot.

A soldier from New York wrote

The town of Titatia was surrendered to us a few days ago, and two companies occupy the same. Last night one of our boys was found shot and his stomach cut open. Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. About 1,000 men, women and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark skin and pull the trigger”

Corporal Sam Gillis wrote “We make everyone get into his house by seven p.m., and we only tell a man once. If he refuses we shoot him. We killed over 300 natives the first night. They tried to set the town on fire. If they fire a shot from the house we burn the house down and every house near it, and shoot the natives, so they are pretty quiet in town now.”

A British eye witness in the Philippines said:

“This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.”

Why the Philippines Genocide happened

It all happened because of a prayer to god.

President McKinley was in the Whitehouse praying when he claimed it came to him that he could not give the Philippines back to Spain as that would look cowardly.

McKinley said he did not want the Philippines. But then one night in the White House, when he was down on his knees praying to God, it came to him:

That we could not give them back to Spain – that would be cowardly.

He could not let France and Germany have the Philippines as that would be bad for business.

He could not let the Filipinos rule themselves as he considered them incapable.

So he decided America should take the whole Philippines rather than just Manila which is all they had at the time, educate the people and Christianise them, something the Spanish had already done to many of the people.

So in 1899 the U.S.A. declared war on the Philippines as a way to educate, Christianise and civilise the people and the Philippines Genocide began.


While we can not be sure of the figure of 3 million that some historians claim We can be pretty sure from research that the figure of 1.4 million killed in the Philippines Genocide between 1899 to 1905 is correct, it is unlikely the killings just suddenly stopped, the reports from the time show how racist towards the Filipinos many of the American troops had become, they also show that many of the troops had come to enjoy the killing. Could you get men that had become brutal killers to suddenly stop killing? It is very unlikely, you only have to look at wars today that are nowhere near as brutal and in an age where people are more educated to realise how war affects some people. We also know the fighting with the Moros carried on.

So did the numbers killed reach 3 million? We will never know but it probably did between 1899 to 1942 when the arrived.

View Comments (45)

  • Under Spain many people did not die, because there are the laws of burgos that protect the natives, the Spaniards were always allies of the native peoples and always mix with the natives, something that never happened in the British area. Of the 300,000 soldiers of Hernán Cortés's army, only 1,300 were Spaniards, all the rest were native allies of different Mexican towns.

  • The Americans destroyed the culture of the Philippines, the majority of the victims of the genocide were Hispanics who were the enlightened elites who best understood the concept of freedom, after prohibiting the use of English 40 years later nobody speaks the language in which Rizal wrote and many others, the Philippine anthem was written in Spanish. Its culture is not the original Filipino culture that was forged in 400 years of history, but a country that is very poor and devastated, which has lost a lot of culture, especially in the intramural.

  • And the US continually chooses to never mention this and in the USA they literally paint themselves as the saviour of the Philippines and claim that the evil people are the Japanese.
    The US propaganda did this against the Japanese many times, the Japanese invaded multiple areas in Asia which were occupied by westerners and the Japanese kicked the westerners out.
    And then the US and UK media paint the Japanese as evil and attacking those people.

    The Japanese invaded the Philippines to rid it of American occupation, the Japanese invaded Vietnam and kicked the French out, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong and kicked the British out, the Japanese invaded Singapore and kicked the British out, the Japanese tried to stop the US from annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and later bombed the US military base there, the Japanese kicked even the Germans out of Palau, the Japanese kicked the French out of Guangzhouwan, the Japanese also invaded Thailand and told them to declare independence.

    The Japanese didn't want European people to genocide Asians and thought it was shameful and that they should be independent. The Japanese also likely knew that if they let Europeans totally take over Asia then Japan itself would be surrounded and taken over also.
    So the Japanese invaded and kicked Europeans out of all of these countries and these empires all fell (except the USA) and most of these Asian countries became independent and no longer had to be European colonies.

    But of course the west makes propaganda and paints Japan as the evil one, because Japan put a stop to their colonial rule in Asia.
    So what the US and other countries like France and the UK do, is they deliberately go out of their way to never mention all of the horrible atrocities their people committed. They do their best to never mention their colonial intentions and try to claim it was to "help" the people, they try to downplay the amount of people they killed. And they then exaggerate the death tolls which the Japanese caused and also lie about the intentions of the Japanese empire in Asia and try to paint them as insane people who wanted to wipe out the poor innocent other Asian people that the wonderful Europeans were just trying to help.

  • That's just guilt, the highly touted educating the natives and providing us learning institution/s. the fact that they massacred hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, mostly armed with bolos and bamboo spears clearly showed the insensitivity of americans. add to that their strategy of isolating villages and forcing them to go hungry by cutting off their food supplies and burning the whole village including the children and the old people clearly demonstrated american savagery.

  • The historian Glenn May conjectured that apart from those who were killed as a direct consequence of the Philippine-American War, many more died indirectly because of the cramped conditions inside the reconcentration camps in Batangas, where diseases quickly spread. Because the people of Batangas were kept away from their farms, upon their release in April 1902 they had to face food shortages exacerbated by a drought, locust swarms and a rinderpest epidemic.

  • To the woman named Bernadette, and her experience with the agoda.com booking, that is really not because of the U.S. propaganda. A mindful reminder to a handful of whites would be to ask locals about the their own culture perhaps would be a great start. This is not because of this suspicion of others.
    It’s because you’re in Manila, and people ARE supposed to be suspicious of each other to survive. The city is known to be a merciless place. Secondly, maybe she thought you were a manloloko because your appearance did not fit the prestige of the hotel (there was no other way to say this politely).
    Plus, if you have FULLY read the article, you would see that author said “history is written by the victors” that is why Filipinos do not know because we were taught that U.S. troops were heroes as what was part of your “benevolent assimilation”.

    Now that I,a Filipino have read the article, my hate for these white people increases.
    They do not know how to accept the monstrosity they too have done. Cannot do so until now. A large sum of Americans have a static development regarding this issue, and the more I know what they are doing during their stay in the Philippine Islands and how they percieve it, I am even more disgusted at them. They cannot accept the hard truth about themselves, so they choose to look at people smaller than them and boast about their white perstige like its some kind of achievement. Truly disgusting.

  • The moment i saw the word 'Christianise', I knew this would be a genocide. Not that other religious people are not capable of it. But somehow only Abrahamic faiths ( Christians, Muslims) or the ones who got influenced by it (Communists) seems to excel in it and did it in epic proportions. They also developed this unique strategy of converting their victims to their religions which makes the descendants of their victims completely oblivious of the true nature of their conversion . People always criticize Americans, Spanish etc but seems to give away free pass to Christian ideology which initiated these genocides.

  • Oh how I long for the day when we stop killing each other. And we will and then we will finally be doing what we were meant to be doing. Which is exploring the cosmos and learning just what the Creation is. Yes, we still have a long way to go but I do see light at the end of the tunnel and it's becoming us to come discover who we really are.

  • The total population of the Philippines at the time was around 8 million, so the 1.4 million killed by the USA is more believable. This does not include those who died of starvation, due to the hamletting of entire farming towns, a tactic designed to deprive the Philippine Revolutionary Army of supplies. Same method was used in South Vietnam since the counter-guerrilla arsenal of the USA was mainly forged in two wars -- this one with the first Philippine Republic and in the extermination wars against Native Americans. Three million, btw, is the same number of Filipinos the current president wants to kill -- which goes to show that we learn well from imperialisms of whatever kind.

  • Calling this a genocide is wrong on all accounts though. Genocide is when you want to displace or kill everyone belonging to a national/cultural group. Aka. the Holocaust, Rwanda, Armenia etc.

    War crimes sure. we all know war is hell for those who have to live it. Philippine guerrilla fighters also used shady tactics.

    The Spanish-American war started with Cuba and later came to involve the Philippines (not the other way around) A new imperialistic US. emboldened by its manifest destiny doctrine decided to exploit a weak Spain in decline to grab the territiories. They even paid Spain 20Million$ in consessions for it in the end.

    You can`t prove a the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. That would make it a Genocide. - You are then claiming this as alt-history which constitutes revisionism at its worst and is also fake news.

    • “The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.” That is genocide.
      Orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. That is genocide.
      As for being fake news you might want to look up the meaning of news.

  • No body asked the USA to make war. USA declared the war to Spain and to Filipino rebels to take profit and for their interest. USA made the genocide and killed 3 million filipinos to transfor Filipinas in a Colony. A territory of Spain for more than 400 centuries which now is one of the most poor in the world. On February 8, 1597, King Philip II, near the end of his 42-year reign, issued a Royal Cedula instructing Francisco de Tello de Guzmán, then Governor-General of the Philippines to fulfill the laws of tributes and to provide for restitution of ill-gotten taxes taken from the natives. The decree was published in Manila on August 5, 1598. King Philip died on 13 September, just forty days after the publication of the decree, but his death was not known in the Philippines until middle of 1599, by which time a referendum by which the natives would acknowledge Spanish rule was underway. With the completion of the Philippine referendum of 1599, Spain could be said to have established legitimate sovereignty over the Philippines. Villarroel, Fidel (2009), "Philip II and the "Philippine Referendum" of 1599", in Ramírez, Dámaso de Lario, Re-shaping the World: Philip II of Spain and His Time (illustrated ed.), Ateneo de Manila University Press, ISBN 978-971-550-556-7.

  • After the horrific and terrible pains they suffered at the hands of the Japanese soldiers, they have to welcome the americans who liberated them and removed them from hell. The genocide happened when the americans first arrived in the Philippines. Every war brings out the worst in people. It is human nature. I am not making justifications. I am merely stating that massacres and atrocities happen in every war since the beginning of time.

  • I did read that from the early 1900s until the 1940s there was a law that prohibited anyone talking badly about the Americans. I have always wondered how after just 45 years they welcomed the Americans back, I guess 40 years of people not talking about it is enough for most people not to know about the genocide.