Negros Occidental is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Bacolod City and occupies at the northwestern half of Negros island; Negros Oriental is at the southeastern half. Across the Panay Gulf and the Guimaras Strait to the northwest is the island-province of Guimaras and the province of Iloilo on Panay island.
|Region||Western Visayas (Region VI)|
|Area|| 7,926.1 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 2,565,723|
People and culture
Most residents are of Austronesian heritage, although there are a very small pockets of populations with full or traces of European blood.
Residents of Negros are called "Negrense". Negros Occidental is predominantly a Hiligaynon-speaking province. However, on the east coast of the province, facing Cebu Island, a few cities and towns are Cebuano-speaking.
Known as the "The Sugarbowl of the Philippines", the sugar industry is the lifeblood of the economy of Negros Occidental, producing more than half of the country's sugar. There are 15 sugar centrals located throughout the plains of the province. Victorias Mill in Victorias City is the largest sugar mill in the country, and the world's largest integrated sugar mill and refinery. Sugar is transported from plantations to refineries by large trucks that use the national highway, often causing massive damage to the roads.
Because of the priority given to sugar plantations, much of the province's food has to be imported from neighboring islands.
A fishing industry is found in Cadiz City, and other fishponds dot the province. One of the country's largest copper mines is located in Sipalay City. There also exists a cottage industry which produced handicrafts made from indigenous materials.
Negros Occidental is subdivided into 19 municipalities and 13 cities. Negros Occidental has the most chartered cities among all the provinces in the Philippines, though many of the cities merely resemble medium-sized towns.
The north and western parts of the province are largely composed of plains and gentle slopes. A mountain range lines the eastern part of the province forming the basis of the border with Negros Oriental. Mount Canlaon, which is partially located in Negros Oriental, rises to a height of 2465 meters and is the highest peak in the Visayas.
The island of Negros was originally known to the natives as "Buglas". When the Spaniards discovered the island in April 1565, they named it "Negros" because of the dark-skinned natives they found. Two of the earliest native settlements were Binalbagan and Ilog which later became towns in 1573 and 1584, respectively. Other settlements were Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, Bago, Marayo (now Pontevedra), Himamaylan, Negros Occidental|Mamalan (now Himamaylan) and Candaguit (a sitio in San Enrique).
Ilog was made the first capital of the province in 1743. This was later transferred to Himamaylan. Bacolod became the capital in 1849.
The island was divided into Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental in 1890.
On November 5, 1898, a rebellion led by Juan Araneta and Aniceto Lacson began which ended with the defeat of the Spaniards. Following their victory, the revolutionaries formed a Republic of Negros which later included Negros Oriental.