Baylor College Medical School

Jose Rizal (1861-1896)

Jose Rizal was born in the Philippines. His father was a wealthy Filipino landowner. Because of his father's wealth, Rizal received a high level of education. In 1882, he traveled to Spain to complete his education as a doctor at the University of Madrid. In addition to being a doctor, Rizal was a sculptor, novelist, and philosopher who spoke many languages fluently.

Rizal's studies took him to Paris, Berlin, and many other cities in Europe. He became aware of the freedoms enjoyed by European citizens, which contrasted greatly with the restrictions placed on the Filipinos. In 1886, while in Germany, RIzal wrote a novel that condemned Spanish injustices and oppression in the Philippines. In 1891, while in Spain, he wrote a second novel that was critical of Spanish rule in his native country. Still he worked for reform within the Spanish system. He hoped that the Philippines could become a province of Spain with the same rights as provinces in mainland Spain.

In 1892, Rizal returned to the Philippines and founded a nonviolent reform society, the Liga Filipina. The society called for peaceful change in the islands. Even though RIzal promoted reform, not independence from Spanish rule, the Spanish government saw him as a threat. They exiled Rizal to Mindanano, a large island at the southrn end of the Philippines. Rizal spent four years in exile on Mindanao, practicing medicine, teaching, and conducting scientific research and experiments. Then, in August of 1896, a revolutionary group of Filipinos staged a violent revolt. Even though Rizal had no connection with the revolt, he was arrested and convicted of acts against the Spanish government. On December 20, 1896, Rizal was publicly executed by a firing squad. He is recognized by Filipinos as a martyr to the cause for independence.

Question 2. What happened to Rizal when he returned to the Philippines in 1892?

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He started a non-violent group to promote peaceful change on the island. The Spanish government exiled Rizal to Mindanano, a large island at the southrn end of the Philippines.