José P. Rizal

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Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda
Jose rizal 01.jpg
Philippine national hero

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Alternate name: Jose Rizal

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Date of birth: {{{dateofbirth}}}

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Place of birth: Calamba, Laguna, Philippines

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Date of death: {{{dateofdeath}}}

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Place of death: Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park or Luneta), Manila, Philippines

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Major organizations: La Solidaridad

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José Rizal (full name: José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda) (June 19, 1861December 30, 1896), was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era and its eventual independence from Spain. He is considered a national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

The seventh of eleven children born to a middle class family in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain where he studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He earned a second doctorate at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages.<ref name = "Craig">Austin Craig, Lineage, Life and Labors of Rizal (Manila: Philippine Education Co., 1913). He was conversant in Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch and Japanese. Rizal also made translations from Arabic, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit. He translated the poetry of Schiller into his native Tagalog. In addition he had at least some knowledge of Malay, Chavacano, Cebuano, Ilocano, and Subanun.(Read etext at Project Gutenberg:[1]accessed 10 January 2007)</ref><ref name = "Laubach">Frank Laubach, Rizal: Man and Martyr (Manila: Community Publishers, 1936)</ref><ref>Rizal's annotations of Morga's Sucesos de las islas Filipinas (1609), which he copied word for word from the British Museum and had published, called attention to an antiquated book, a testimony to the well-advanced civilization in the Philippines during pre-Spanish era. In his essay "The Indolence of the Filipino" Rizal stated that three centuries of Spanish rule did not do much for the advancement of his countryman; in fact there was a 'retrogression', and the Spanish colonialists have transformed him into a 'half-way brute.' The absence of moral stimulus, the lack of material inducement, the demoralization--'the indio should not be separated from his carabao', the endless wars, the lack of a national sentiment, the Chinese piracy--all these factors, according to Rizal, helped the colonial rulers succeed in placing the indio 'on a level with the beast'. (read English translation by Charles Derbyshire at [2] accessed 10 January. 2007.</ref><ref>In his essay, "Reflections of a Filipino," (c.1888), he wrote: "Man is multiplied by the number of languages he possesses and speaks.'</ref> He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.<ref>His signature book Noli was one of the first novels in Asia written outside Japan and China and was one of the first novels of anti-colonial rebellion. [3]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries against 333 years of Spanish rule.

As a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan<ref>Bonifacio was a member of La Liga Filipina. After Rizal's arrest and exile, it was disbanded and the group splintered into two factions; the more radical group formed into the Katipunan, the militant arm of the insurrection.[4].Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> led by Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.

Family

Contents

Francisco Mercado
José Rizal's parents were Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonzo, prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. He was the seventh child of their eleven children (namely, Saturnina, Paciano, Narcisa, Olympia, Lucia, Maria, Jose, Concepcion, Josephina, Trinidad and Soledad.)

Rizal was a 5th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co (Template:Zh-cp), a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines from Jinjiang, Quanzhou in the mid-17th century.<ref>Rizal's rags-to-riches ancestor from South China. Retrieved 18 February 2007</ref> Lam-co married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley native of Luzon. To free his descendants from the anti-Chinese animosity of the Spanish authorities, Lam-co changed the family surname to the Spanish surname "Mercado" (market) to indicate their Chinese merchant roots. Their original application was for the name "Ricial", apropos their main occupation of farming, which was arbitrarily denied. The name "Rizal" (originally Ricial, the green of young growth or green fields), was adopted by Jose to enable him to travel freely as the Mercados had gained notoriety by their son's intellectual prominence. From early childhood Rizal was already advancing unheard-of political ideas of freedom and individual rights which infuriated the authorities.<ref>At age 8 (in 1869) he wrote his first poem Sa aking mga Kabata and had for its theme the love of one's native language [5]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Rizal, 11 years old
Aside from indigenous Filipino and Chinese ancestry, recent genealogical research has found that José had traces of Spanish, and Japanese ancestry. His maternal great-great-grandfather (Teodora's great-grandfather) was Eugenio Ursua, a descendant of Japanese settlers, who married a Filipina named Benigna (surname unknown). These two gave birth to Regina Ursua who married a Sangley mestizo from Pangasinán named Atty. Manuel de Quintos, Teodora's grandfather. Their daughter Brígida de Quintos married a Spanish mestizo named Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo, the father of Teodora. Austin Craig mentions Lacandula, Rajah of Tondo at the time of the Spanish incursion, also as an ancestor.

Education

Rizal as a student at the University of Santo Tomas
Rizal first studied under the tutelage of Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Biñan, Laguna. He was sent to Manila and upon enrolling at the Ateneo Municipal, changed his name to "Rizal" to escape the opprobrium of the name "Mercado". His brother Paciano had been linked to the Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora who had been tried as subversives and sentenced to death by garrote. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1877 and graduated as one of the nine students declared sobresaliente or outstanding. He continued his education at the Ateneo Municipal to obtain a land surveyor and assessor's degree, and at the same time at the University of Santo Tomas where he studied Philosophy and Letters. Upon learning that his mother was going blind, he decided to study medicine specializing in ophthalmology at the University of Santo Tomas but did not complete it because he felt that Filipinos were being discriminated against by the Dominicans who were operating the school.<ref>[6]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Without his parents' knowledge and consent, but secretly supported by his brother Paciano, he traveled alone to Madrid in May 1882 and studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid where he earned the degree, Licentiate in Medicine. His education continued at the University of Paris and the University of Heidelberg where he earned a second doctorate. In Berlin, he was inducted as a member of the Berlin Ethnological Society and the Berlin Anthropological Society under the patronage of the famous pathologist Rudolf Virchow. Following custom, he delivered an address in German in April 1887 before the anthropological society on the orthography and structure of the Tagalog language. He left Heidelberg a poem, "A las flores del Heidelberg," which was both an evocation and a prayer for the welfare of his native land and the unification of common values between East and West.

Rizal's multifacetedness was described by his German friend, Dr. Adolf Meyer, as "stupendous."<ref>[7] Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref><ref>Adolf Bernard Meyer (1840-1911) was a German ornithologist and anthropologist, and author of the book Philippinen-typen (Dresden, 1888)</ref> Documented studies show him to be a polymath with the ability to master various skills and subjects.<ref name = "Craig"/><ref name = "Laubach"/><ref>[8]. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref> He was an ophthalmologist, sculptor, painter, educator, farmer, historian, inventor, playwright and journalist. Besides poetry and creative writing, he dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting. He was a Freemason.<ref>http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/the_builder_1916_august.htm. Accessed 10 January 2007.</ref>

Travels

Rizal's crayon sketch of Leonor Rivera
He who knows the surface of the earth and the topography of a country only through the examination of maps..is like a man who learns the opera of Meyerbeer or Rossini by reading only reviews in the newspapers. The brush of landscape artists Lorrain, Ruysdael, or Calame can reproduce on canvas the sun's ray, the coolness of the heavens, the green of the fields, the majesty of the mountains...but what can never be stolen from Nature is that vivid impression that she alone can and knows how to impart--the music of the birds, the movement of the trees, the aroma peculiar to the place--the inexplicable something the traveller feels that cannot be defined and which seems to awaken in him distant memories of happy days, sorrows and joys gone by, never to return.--Rizal, "Los Viajes" <ref>Jose Rizal, "Los Viajes", in La Solidaridad (c.1888)</ref>

Rizal's life is one of the most documented of the 19th century due to the vast and extensive records written by and about him.<ref name = "Rizalino"> Epistolario Rizalino: 4 volumes, 1400 letters to and from Rizal, edited by Teodoro Kalaw (Manila: Bureau of Printing,1930-38)</ref> Most everything in his short life is recorded somewhere, being himself a regular diarist and prolific letter writer, much of these materials having survived. His biographers, however, have faced the difficulty of translating his writings because of Rizal's habit of switching from one language to another. They drew largely from his travel diaries with their insights of a young Asian encountering the west for the first time. They included his later trips, home and back again to Europe through Japan and the United States, and, finally, through his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong. This period of his education and his frenetic pursuit of life included his recorded affections. Among them were Gertrude Becket of Chalcot Crescent (London), wealthy and high-minded Nelly Boustead of the English and Iberian merchant family, last descendant of a noble Japanese family Usui Seiko, his earlier friendship with Segunda Katigbak and eight-year romantic relationship with his cousin, Leonor Rivera.

His European friends kept almost everything he gave them, including doodlings on pieces of paper. In the home of a Spanish liberal, Pedro Ortiga y Perez, he left an impression that was to be remembered by his daughter, Consuelo. In her diary, she wrote of a day Rizal spent there and regaled them with his wit, social graces, and sleight-of-hand tricks. In London, during his research on Morga's writings, he became a regular guest in the home of Dr. Reinhold Rost of the British Museum who referred to him as "a gem of a man."<ref>Dr. Reinhold Rost was the head of the India Office at the British Museum and a renowned 19th-century philologist.</ref><ref name = "Rizalino"/> The family of Karl Ullmer, pastor of Wilhelmsfeld, and the Blumentritts saved even buttonholes and napkins with sketches and notes. They were ultimately bequeathed to the Rizal family to form a treasure-trove of memorabilia.

Writings

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Rizal's sculpture The Triumph of Science over Death
José Rizal's most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These writings angered both the Spaniards and the hispanicized Filipinos due to their insulting symbolism. They are highly critical of Spanish friars and the atrocities committed in the name of the Church. Rizal's first critic was Ferdinand Blumentritt, a Sudetan-German professor and historian whose first reaction was of misgiving. Blumentritt was the grandson of the Imperial Treasurer at Vienna and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. This did not dissuade him however from writing the preface of El Filibusterismo after he had translated Noli me Tangere into German. Noli was published in Berlin (1887) and Fili in Ghent (1891) with funds borrowed largely from Rizal's friends. As Blumentritt had warned, these led to Rizal's prosecution as the inciter of revolution and eventually, to a military trial and execution. The intended consequence of teaching the natives where they stood brought about an adverse reaction, as the Philippine Revolution of 1896 took off virulently thereafter.


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