By the first millennium CE, the various isolated communities of the islands evolved into important trade posts attracting various merchants from as far as India and China, and by the 1300s Islam made its headway, starting with the Sulu Islands to the southwest and reaching as far as Manila.
The earliest settlement routes, however, remain contested between Borneo and Taiwan.
The Philippine Revolution, led by Andres Bonifacio and the "Katipunan" secret society (whose full acronym was KKK, no relation to the American one) broke out in August 1896.
Bonifacio's position would be challenged by the Cavite-based Magdalo faction of the Katipunan, led by landlord Emilio Aguinaldo, who later took over in 1897 but was driven into exile in Hong Kong that same year.
Made up of 7,107 islands (divided between Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions), the Philippines is the fourth-largest Asian Anglophone country, much of its population having Austronesian roots.
The capital is Manila (which is actually a combination of 17 cities and towns, all centered around the eponymous Spanish-era city).