The Agrarian Revolt of 1745 – 1746 was a revolt staged in the present-day CALABARZON (specifically in Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite) and in Bulacan, with its roots in Lian and Nasugbu in Batangas. Filipino landowners rose in arms and demanded that Spanish friars return the ancestral lands they had taken. The Spanish priests refused to return the natives’ lands, which fueled riots, arson of churches, and massive looting of convents and churches. When the news of chaos reached King Ferdinand VI, he ordered the priests to return the seized lands. However, the priests appealed their case and won, which meant not a piece of land was returned to its rightful owner.
The Encomienda System
When Spain colonized the Philippines, the concept of encomienda (royal land grants) became rampant. In this system, a Spanish encomendero (a conquistador, soldier, official, or indio) who was granted a grant to exact tributes from the Indios or natives in exchange of the latter’s protection and introduction to the Christian faith. Although the encomienda did not include a grant of land, the encomenderos gained control of the lands inhabited by the Indios.
The system became a bridge to abuse power. The supposed tributes became forced payment of rent to Spanish landlords. The natives, who were once the rightful owners of lands, were treated as share tenants. Worse, their lands were seized by Spanish authorities.
The refusal of the Spanish priests to return the natives’ lands resulted in rioting, arson of churches, and massive looting of convents and ranches. The landowners of the neighboring provinces, inspired by the landowners in Batangas, also rebelled against the oppressive landowners and burned local churches, looted the convents, and ran the ranches owned by the Spanish landowners.
The Crushing of the Rebellion
Due to the gravity of ruin and destruction inflicted by the angry natives, the case was brought to the court of King Ferdinand VI, who ordered that the lands be returned to their rightful owners . However, the Spanish friars appealed their case and won the lands back, with no lands returned to Filipino landowners.
Palanco, Fernando. 2010. “The Tagalog Revolts of 1745 According to Spanish Primary Source.” Philippine Studies. June 2010, Vol. 58, No. 1/2, Festschrift in honor of Fr. John N. Schumacher, S.J. (june 2010), pp. 45-77.
“8 Extremely Interesting Lesser-Known Battles in Philippine History.”FilipiKnow. Accessed 18 January 2021.
“Encomienda.Britannica. Accessed 20 January 2021.