The provinces listed should link directly to the articles concerning those provinces.
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The modern era of the Philippines started with the coming of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and marked the beginning of Spanish colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain.
More recently, aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until 1945. After World War II, the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since then, the Philippines has often had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which includes the overthrow of a dictatorship by a nonviolent revolution.
Largely as a result of the Spanish colonization, most of the Philippines converted to the Roman Catholic religion. Today the country is the largest Christian enclave in Asia, with more than 90% of the population at least declaring a Christian bias.
The southern island of Mindanao is the one exception as it is overwhelmingly Muslim. There have been numerous uprisings and terrorist activities in the past 30 years, and it is by far the least democratic of the Philippines' many provinces.
One of the greatest benefits of the European conquests was that a degree of record keeping was followed. Beginning in the late 1500s, the Spaniards took various censuses known as vecindarios (local censuses), padrón de almas (head census), or estado de almas (people status). The latter two were religious censuses conducted by parish clergy. Read more... In general, the Philippines has kept much better records than many of its neighbors. There is a national archive that is available for tracking Filipino families. It follows: