Insulares

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Insulares was a term of Spanish origin that pertains to Spaniards who were born in a colonized Philippines. It is different from the peninsulares, which refers to Spaniards who were born and raised in the Iberian Peninsula.

Racist Beliefs During Colonization

During the era of colonization, the Spaniards placed primacy on "unblemished" births, meaning births that did not involve another race. This belief even included being born in a colonized country, among colonized people or indios (a term that connoted inferiority or primitiveness).

Outside the Philippines, the insulares were simply known as criollos or creoles, which served as an umbrella term for any Spaniard who was born in a colony. Another term accorded to Spaniards who were born in the Philippines during the era of colonization was españoles-filipinos or simply filipinos. Them being island-born gave rise to the term insulares, as opposed to peninsulares (after the Iberian Peninsula).

The Insulares in Philippine History

During the Spanish colonial rule, the insulares were considered socially inferior to the peninsulares for the following reasons: (1) the term insulares was, at that time, automatically connected with the term indios, and (2) colonies were considered "dumping grounds" for the ones ostracized by Spanish society, hence any Spaniard born in a colony was assumed to be related to someone who did not have a good standing back in the motherland.

Despite the supposed inferiority, the insulares still enjoyed many privileges in Philippine society. Most of them attained higher education, and were employed in occupations that allowed them to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Owing to these freedom and privileges, most Filipinos especially the masses considered the peninsulares and the insulares to be the same.

Between the insulares and peninsulares, however, the sociopolitical class difference was pronounced, leading to a tension that eventually triggered what is known as The Bayot Revolt of 1822. Led by brothers Joaquin, Manuel, and Jose Bayot—who were sons of Colonel Francisco Bayot from the Spanish army stationed in Manila—the uprising aimed to oust the Spanish government in the Philippines and install Colonel Francisco Bayot as the King. The revolt did not come into fruition, however, as the brothers and their supporters were arrested swiftly under the order of Governor General Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras. Life imprisonment was handed down to the brothers. Meanwhile, their father Colonel Francisco Bayot was exonerated due to lack of evidence. Being tied to the revolt, he was forced to relinquish his position in the army.

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