Rizal - Singles (1,500,000)
First Day Covers: Manila (Known
José Rizal called for
peaceful reform of Spain's colonial rule in the Philippines. After
his 1896 execution, he became an icon for the nationalist movement.
Who Was José Rizal?
While living in Europe, José Rizal wrote about the
discrimination that accompanied Spain's colonial rule of his
country. He returned to the Philippines in 1892 but was exiled due
to his desire for reform. Although he supported peaceful change,
Rizal was convicted of sedition and executed on December 30, 1896,
at age 35.
On June 19, 1861, José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso
Realonda was born in Calamba in the Philippines' Laguna Province. A
brilliant student who became proficient in multiple languages, José
Rizal studied medicine in Manila. In 1882, he traveled to Spain to
complete his medical degree.
Writing and Reform.
While in Europe, José Rizal became part of the Propaganda
Movement, connecting with other Filipinos who wanted reform. He also
wrote his first novel, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not/The Social
Cancer), a work that detailed the dark aspects of Spain's colonial
rule in the Philippines, with particular focus on the role of
Catholic friars. The book was banned in the Philippines, though
copies were smuggled in. Because of this novel, Rizal's return to
the Philippines in 1887 was cut short when he was targeted by
Rizal returned to Europe
and continued to write, releasing his follow-up novel, El
Filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed) in 1891. He also published
articles in La Solidaridad, a paper aligned with the Propaganda
Movement. The reforms Rizal advocated for did not include
independence—he called for equal treatment of Filipinos, limiting
the power of Spanish friars and representation for the Philippines
in the Spanish Cortes (Spain's parliament).
Exile in the Philippines.
Rizal returned to the Philippines in 1892, feeling he needed
to be in the country to effect change. Although the reform society
he founded, the Liga Filipino (Philippine League), supported
non-violent action, Rizal was still exiled to Dapitan, on the island
of Mindanao. During the four years Rizal was in exile, he practiced
medicine and took on students.
Execution and Legacy.
In 1895, Rizal asked for permission to travel to Cuba as an
army doctor. His request was approved, but in August 1896,
Katipunan, a nationalist Filipino society founded by Andres
Bonifacio, revolted. Though he had no ties to the group and
disapproved of its violent methods, Rizal was arrested shortly
After a show trial, Rizal
was convicted of sedition and sentenced to death by firing squad.
Rizal's public execution was carried out in Manila on December 30,
1896, when he was 35 years old. His execution created more
opposition to Spanish rule.
Spain's control of the
Philippines ended in 1898, though the country did not gain lasting
independence until after World War II. Rizal remains a nationalist
icon in the Philippines for helping the country take its first steps