Federal Republic of the Visayas: A Remnant of the Sri Vijayan Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by pansitkanton, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. pansitkanton New Member

    Jun 6, 2009
    Federal Republic of the Visayas

    Federal Capital: Iloilo City
    Largest City: Cebu City
    Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional republic


    Much of known Visayan history dates back to the 13th century. It was said in legend that 10 datus from Borneo fled the declining empire of Sri Vijaya, ruled by a despotic Rajah Makatunaw, and reached the island of Panay. After their encounter and lease agreement with the antedating Ati people for the said island, the newly-settling Borneans latter developed a divergent Visayan identity which once rooted from its Sri Vijayan form taking a foothold within the Panay up to its maritime peripheries and flourished. After generations, Visayans developed a distinct yet still familiar mould. Presumably influenced greatly by Hindu (-Buddhist) formation, Visayan culture is a varying degree of synonymity among the inhabitants of what is present-day Visayas. To a lesser extent, the people of Masbate are included in this pan-identity.

    During the late 13th up to the early 14th centuries saw the emergence of a brooding Visayan identity and civilization which branched out from its Sri Vijayan-Bornean predecessor. As the thalassocratic empire of Sri Vijaya declined due to constant wars with nearby kingdoms and territories, 10 lesser princes out of mainly political and economic woes decided to escape the clutches of their empire's rather tyrranical ruler, Rajah Makatunaw. Using the revered ships called balangay, the datus along with their wives and a few men sailed northwards and soon reached the shores of what would be today called Panay. Headed by Datu Puti, the Borneans were greeted by a group of Ati settlers ruled by the chieftain Datu Marikudo alongside his wife, Maniwantiwan. As a sign of peace and to purchase a new territory to settle on, the datus presented a golden tiara (speculated to be a salakot to the patriarch and the pearl necklace of Datu Puti's wife, Pinagpangan, after a sword was initially rejected out of conspicuousness. The very first Visayan territories or sakup would be Hamtik (Antique), Aklan and Irong-Irong (Iloilo).

    Subsequently, the Sri Vijayan origins of the presumably genetic ancestors of present-day Visayans would become the basis for the overarching ethnolinguistic name of all lowland peoples within the Visayas and those (particularly migrants to Metro Manila and Mindanao) who consider ancestry from any of the islands.

    Sri Vijaya = [sriːvidʒajə] -> Bisaya [bɪ'səja] / [bɪsaja']​

    Precolonial history of the Visayas is brimming with rich traditions, trade and warfare. Starting from the Ten Bornean Datus, the hypothesized Confederation of Madya-as was formed which could have supposedly occupied much of Panay until the island of Negros which was then called Buglas. It was also said in folklore that the cantons of Aklan and Capiz have been named after, eponymously Aklan (Akean) and Kapid, the twin daughters of Datu Bangkaya -- one of the migrating Bornean datus.

    A few kilometers to the other end of Negros would be the Rajahnate of Sugbo which was said, according to folklore called Aginid, to have been established by a fleeing lesser Chola prince from Sumatra. Despite the geographic and ethnic distance of the assumed Bornean datus to that of the Cholan prince, a common theme would be escape from Sri Vijaya and resettlement into the proximities of today's Visayas. This could be speculated that the said Chola prince could have been among the Bornean datus or that the said ten datus were in fact from Sumatra who en routed to Borneo initially.

    According to numerous accounts from various European explorers and scholars, the Visayans had a similar but likewise distinct culture to that of their neighbors. It was easy to identify a Visayan through their grooming and body tattoos. Based on Pigafetta's records, the Visayans had a hygienic practice far different and complex to that of Europeans. This practice involved one or even two baths a day complemented with applications of special resin-based shampoo and scrubbing loofah. After bathing, Visayans would religiously apply a certain mixture to their hair to prevent damage. Their dental traditions were also peculiar as they continuously chewed on betel nut to develop a brownish coloring of the teeth. This is in line with their beliefs that in order to show one's civility and humanness, one must not have white teeth which only animals have.

    The Visayans were often equally named as the Pintados by European explorers (thus, the Visayas as Islas de Pintados) due to their strong tattooing culture. The eccentricity and meticulousness of the designs depended on the social status of a person. This is also linked to his warfare experience and nobility. Notably, Westerners have pertained to those from the islands of Bohol, Samar and Leyte as to profess this tradition strongly. Also, those of the warrior class are also known to have more tattoos which to an extreme would cover even the face of the person particularly a male after the victory of killing an enemy during war.

    The social stratification of Classical Visayans were different to that of pervading systems in the West and India. While most of the systems of the latter were strictly vertical and sometimes mobility is met with difficulty, Visayans' social class is horizontal and fluid. This "class" is usually dependent on an individual's indebtedness to another person or institution and how he or she is able to reciprocate it at a coequal degree. In essence, a person from the nobility or warrior class (or even a royalty), could fall as a peon due to failure to fulfill or violation of specific social or economic responsibilities and rules.

    Among the social classes is the datu or royal who belong to the kadatuan (royalty). This class is strictly for politico-economic leaders of a pungsod or loosely a rajahnate. The next is the timawa/tumao or the free class. People with this status usually involve in trade and warfare and are not subjugated to any House. Thus, the last one is the uripon or the peon class. People under this classification are serving a certain family or individual of freer status. They are usually held to stay within the residence of a person they are indebted to as a handmaid or servant. However, contrary to what many assume, the uripon are not precisely slaves as in other cultural contexts since they have the opportunity to emerge to a better social status if they could overturn their social verdict through repayment or any deed that equals such feat.


    As a consequence to their losses in the Spanish-American War of 1898, regional and ethnic lines within the Spanish East Indies soon balkanized as political hold of the colony weakened. After the series of revolutions, several political entities were established within the Spanish East Indies. Before the ascend of the Malolos Republic of the Luzon in January 23, 1899, the Visayan contingents soon began establishing the Federal Republic of Visayas which initially comprised of the Cantonal Republics of Bohol and Negros and revolutionary towns of Panay and Cebu. This was based upon the signing of the Acta de Capitulacion or the formal surrender document of the islands' Spanish Governor-General, Don Diego de los Rios back from November 6, 1898. Such document signifies legal recognition of the Spanish Empire to the sovereign rights of the rightful successors of the Visayan homeland.

    Setting afoot back into the indies, General Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Republic of Malolos, demanded on April 27, 1899 the allegiance of the Visayan cantons to his government. His confidence grew due to connivance with the Americans led by Admiral George Dewey whom he met after voluntary exile and purchase of military arms in Hong Kong. Taking advantage of the politico-legal independence and resistance of Visayan revolutionary leaders to stoop down to Aguinaldo, Vice-Admiral Otto von Diederichs of the German Empire sailed from Manila Bay southwards to counter American hegemonic forces and gain momentum to acquire Mindanao and Sultanate of Sulu, their initial areas of interest in the Spanish colonial sphere. Before the Treaty of Paris on 10 December 1898, Germany had set up a provisional "observer" delegation [Vorläufige Beobachterdelegation in Fernost] that would steward Visayan state-building into its maturest structure and function. This was also a political move by the Kaiserreich to cement its hold onto a portion of territory in the East which would provide backdoor access to its real colonial intentions further south. Such exercise of slyness by the Germans angered the docked Americans in which bolstered a significant Pacific theater of World War I. This would also shake the already-volatile China -- tender from the recent European scramble for partition -- into a war zone.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  2. pansitkanton New Member

    Jun 6, 2009
    During the German provisional settlement, Visayan leaders under the helm of General Delgado of Iloilo, General Araneta of Negros and General Maxillom of Cebu established administrative subdivisions for the many Visayan homelands. The territorial reach of the first Federal Republic of Visayas was bordered by Sibuyan Sea to the north bordering Carabao Island of Romblon, the Visayan Sea to the northeast, Sulu Sea to the west and southwest, Bohol Sea to the south, and Camotes Sea to the east bordering Leyte.

    Each barrio and sitio of the Spanish government was replaced by the smallest division called balangay echoing the past seafaring tradition of exploring Visayans who used large boats as their very home and community. An agglomeration of balangay would represent a banwa or bayan, or for official purposes, the Visayanized giman from the German equivalent of municipality which is Gemeind. Each giman would be elevated into a city, locally termed as dakbanwa/dakbayan, or estat (from German Stadt) upon reaching the necessary government-designated required economic output and population count. At the onset of German protectionism, the Federal government legally established 233 giman comprised of 7054 balangay. There were only 3 estat namely the de facto economic centers of Cebu (Dakbayan sa Sugbo), Iloilo (Dakbanwa sg Iloilo) and Bacolod (Dakbanwa sg Bacolod). The Federal Republic of Visayas was subdivided into federal states based on historical and ethnic realities that pervade the nation. From coastal Capiz and Iloilo, Guimaras and Negros Occidental were the Hiligaynon State. Inland Panay, Antique and Aklan of the Karay-a and Aklanon people were the Ilaya-Aklan State. Negros Oriental, Cebu and Siquijor were the Sugbo State. Bohol island was a standalone as the Canton of Bohol.

    Freedom for religion was promulgated. This gained momentum for the German-led Evangelical Church to gain foothold in the islands alongside the dominant Roman Catholicism, a remnant of Spanish colonization. Despite laws that prohibit discrimination, social stratification toward non-Catholics was prevalent until the years before World War II. This became one of the great challenges to the maintenance of Visayan solidarity.

    Official languages of the Federation were Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Aklanon, Kinaray-a. No sole national language was promulgated. The "limited consideration", as one Bohol revolutionary member accused the Federal government of, toward Visayan languages became the onset of a longstanding Boholano clamor for recognition as Bol-anon, long considered to be a mere variety of Cebuano, was called to be acknowledged as a separate language. As such, despite semblance, the people of the Canton also consider themselves of having different consciousness from their northwestern neighbors. In order to foster one overarching Visayan identity, political and technical jargon used in government were Visayanized which predominantly came from Spanish and German terminologies. Nonetheless, the language of religion, education, media and transaction were vernacular based on the proclaimed official languages per giman, estat and/or state. Choice for a co-official German, and was in fact promoted as a lingua franca, can be opted whilst Spanish was completely abolished and at the same time English was banned.

    Succeeding from the economic difficulties experienced during and after the Revolution from Spain, the economic output of the Federation continued to slide down as the continuous military offensive of American and northerner troops intensified. These wars to occupy the Federation reduced the farmlands of coastal Aklan to ashes as Kalibo was razed to the ground. Rigorous advancements reached until the northern areas capturing important towns of Cadiz and San Carlos in Negros island and Daanbantayan in Cebu with Bohol being almost completely subdued. These have also taken a toll on the burgeoning fishing industry in the islands and nearly crippled the Canton's economy. However, while the Federation clung to existence while moving its capital from Iloilo to more geographically-enveloped Dumaguete, the incoming German reinforcements completely repelled the American forces on March of 1902 starting from a retaliation sweeping Bohol to recapture Tagbilaran until Camotes Islands up to occupying Romblon, the southwestern portions of Masbate and western coasts of Leyte.


    Without question, the islands geographically east yet within the culturally centered with the rest of Visayas were swept by the powers of American hegemony via the swooning of the Malolos Republic. Years of silence and subsequent subordination to the American occupational government, the political and economic leaders of the islands of Samar and Leyte soon doubted their inclusion into the Republic. After the failed American attempt to capture easternmost regions of the Federation using Samar-Leyte forces through coercion, it was no later deemed as an immense moral defeat for them after the German-Visayan retaliation of 1902 at coastal Leyte and Masbate. The idea of usurpation by using their military resources was also a form of betrayal to the people whom they have found affinity and ties with for centuries--being offshoot yet close-knit remnants that of the once glorious Sri Vijayan empire diverging in language through time and geography but never fell apart in culture, idiosyncrasies and identity. This was unacceptable at least even for the dignity their people possessed--not even for the dignity of their political leaders.

    Beginning from the assignment of Bikol-born General Vicente Lukban by Aguinaldo to oversee Samar during the Revolution of 1898, three officers were tasked to subdivide the island a year later. In 1899 Nothern Samar was under the orders of Colonel Narciso Abuke, western Samar under Colonel Claro Guevara and southeastern Samar under Captain Eugenio Daza. Meanwhile, Leyte was designated to a Tagalog named Ambrosio Mojica as its politico-military general. During these periods, locals were forced to pay tributes and execute symbolic acts of "obedience" to the Tagalog-led Republic through putting up lanterns at night. Irked by the brazen arrogance, the people of Samar and Leyte put up arms not specifically to resist the impending American intervention via the Republic, but also against the established politico-military governments of Aguinaldo. By late 1901 until the last few months of 1902, American forces swept across the islands to kill anyone, aged ten and above, seen as a threat. Such event was central to Samar which would be commemorated by the people as the Balangiga Massacre which taken a toll to the lives of nearly 50,000 civilians due food rations and pillaging of towns. After the fall of the last known resistance leaders, Eugenio Daza, Florentino Peñaranda and Jesus de Veyra, several towns were forced pledge allegiance to the American occupational government where all male family members aged 16 to 40 would be conscripted to the provisional military planned to take an offensive against the German-Visayan forces. This was said to "reclaim [what was] rightfully to the Republic and Americans."
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  3. luis3007 History amateur Donor

    Aug 6, 2007
    South America
    This seems a good start and a detailed timeline.

    A map seems necesary to view the true scope of the republic vs the Philiphines