Positioned on the western edge of the European settlements began to pop up in 1565.
For hundreds of years the Philippines were a U.S. in 1898, after the Spanish-American War.
The Philippines became one of the main focal points of battles between South Pacific, the Philippines attained total independence.
During their early years as a new country, the Philippines faced various challenges, and had to be almost completely rebuilt following the devastation brought on by World War II.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected president in 1965, and toward the end of his second term, after being constitutionally barred from obtaining a third, he declared martial law.
The dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos ended in 1986. Since then, a long parade of electoral presidential problems and internal struggles have been ongoing.
In addition, Abu Sayyaf, an armed Muslim insurgency group operating in the south, has collectively plagued the country for many years, and is now causing serious disruptions, especially in western tourism visits.
On June 25, 1991, Mount Pinatubo violently erupted, severely weakening the already strained economy. The volcano's eruption marked the second largest of the 20th century, and its effects were felt worldwide.
In 1992, after many years of negotiations, the U.S. finally closed its last military bases on the islands, and (in the view of many), the Philippines lost much needed revenue from that action.
To further add to their problems, decades of intensive logging, inequitable land distribution, agricultural expansion and failed policies, have caused severe deforestation and land degradation.
The government has established more than 270 protected areas covering over 10 million acres. Forest conservation areas encompass approximately six million acres.
Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, decimated parts of the Philippines in November, 2013. More than 6,000 people were killed and over four million lost their homes. The government has played a powerful role in spearheading the recovery.
Tourism has begun to flourish again with most of the visitors arriving from the Europe.
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