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Who were the Indios Bravos? Brilliant nineteenth-century polymath, doctor, bon vivant, and writer José Rizal and his friends gave themselves the name, half in jest and half in all seriousness, after having watched a Wild West show in Paris in 1889. Indio, of course, was the disparaging term the Spanish used for the indigenous populations in their colonies. Rizal and these other expatriate ilustrados, "enlightened ones," as they were referred to, admired both the excellent horsemanship and the dignity of the Native American performers-and recognized in them kindred spirits. They were indeed brave Indians, their peculiar status in the world mirroring somewhat that of the Filipinos themselves, who were highly critical of the Spanish colonial regime in Manila and who in Madrid and Barcelona advocated far-reaching reforms at the same time that they professed loyalty to Mother Spain. By appropriating the term meant to put them in their place, Los Indios Bravos were signaling the Spanish their intent to take charge of their destiny. It was a highly symbolic act, representing a paradigmatic shift in the burgeoning nationalist consciousness.
1 The Islands Before the Cross, Pre-1521 19
2 Expeditions, Entrenchment, and Spanish Colonial Rule, 1521-1862 49
3 From Indio to Filipino: Emergence of a Nation, 1862-1898 97
4 Americanization and Its Discontents, 1899-1946 135
5 The Republic: Perils of Independence, 1946-1972 187
6 The Republic: The Strongman and the Housewife, 1972-1992 227
7 Quo Vadis, Philippines 279
Posted April 26, 2011
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