Prior to Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in Homonhon Island, Samar on March 16, 1521; there were Negrito tribes who roamed the isles but they were later supplanted by Austronesians. These groups then stratified into: hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior-societies, petty plutocracies and maritime oriented harbor principalities which eventually grew into kingdoms, rajahnates, principalities, confederations and sultanates.
Spanish Colonization and settlement began with the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s expedition in 1565 who established the first permanent settlement of San Miguel on the island of Cebu. The expedition continued northward reaching the bay of Manila on the island of Luzon in 1571, where they established a new town and thus began an era of Spanish colonization that lasted for more than three centuries.
Spanish rule achieved the political unification of almost the whole archipelago, that previously had been composed by independent kingdoms and communities, pushing back south the advancing Islamis forces and creating the first draft of the nation that was to be known as the Philippines.
The Philippine Revolution against Spain began in April 1896, but it was largely unsuccessful until it received support from the United States, culminating two years later with a proclamation of independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. However, the Treaty of Paris, at the end of the Spanish–American War, transferred control of the Philippines to the United States. This agreement was not recognized by the Philippine Government which, on June 2, 1899, proclaimed a Declaration of War against the United States. The Philippine American War which ensued resulted in massive casualties. Philippine president Emilio Aguinaldo was captured in 1901 and the U.S. government declared the conflict officially over in 1902.
U.S. colonial rule of the Philippines started in 1905 with very limited local rule. Partial autonomy (commonwealth status) was granted in 1935, preparatory to a planned full independence from the United States in 1946. Preparation for a fully sovereign state was interrupted by the Japanese occupation of the islands during World War II.
With a promising economy in the 1950s and 1960s, the Philippines in the late 1960s and early 1970s saw a rise of student activism and civil unrest against the corrupt dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos who declared Martial Law in 1972. Because of close ties between United States and President Marcos, the U.S. government continued to support Marcos even though his administration was well-known for massive corruption and extensive human rights abuse. The peaceful and bloodless People Power Revolution of 1986, however, brought about the ousting of Marcos and a return to democracy for the country. The period since then, however, has been marked by political instability and hampered economic productivity.
Therefore, we can say that Philippines Independence has been achieved only late 1940′s.