Notable historical events occurred in Negros before the arrival of American forces in the late 1800s and the uprising of Negros Cinco de Noviembre against Spain on November 5, 1898.
Previous events included the role of the early Catholic missionaries as agents of social, economic and spiritual change when the Spanish missionaries began their first mission in southern Negros focusing on the regions of Binalbagan, Bago and Ilog.
Migration to the Negros proceeded at a slow pace and was affected by sporadic epidemics, Moro pirate raids and the eruption of the Mount Kanlaon volcano.
Further changes followed when the Jesuits were replaced by the Recoletos. When the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines, the Dominicans resumed their missions and soon after came the seculars who contributed to the encouragement of agriculture especially that of the new high-value crop that made Negros finally the country’s sugar province.
More roads were also built and the Recollects tried to be intermediaries between the Spanish government and the natives to bring about social and technological changes. The beloved Fr. Fernando Cuenca was notable for many accomplishments, including the treatment of disease and irrigation to produce sugar economically.
Other aspects of Hispanization aimed at developing the sugar industry and other agricultural land in Negrens also encouraged more migration from Cebu, Panay and other provinces. Other notable Spanish activities were the construction of public works under various governors.
Nicholas Loney’s appointment was notable as the British First Vice-Consul serving Panay and Negros and brought many improvements in sugar production. It also organized more direct exports of sugar to other countries, including the first shipments to Australia.
Improvements led by Nicholas Loney resulted in more migrations to Negros from Cebu, Bohol, Capiz and Iloilo. One group that migrated to Negros directly from Spain was made up of Spaniards who implemented further improvements in the sugar industry.
It was also at this time that the Spaniards authorized the political division of the Negros Occidental and the Negros Oriental. This was the historic event when the Negrens rulers revolted against Spanish rule, which ultimately led to settlements by the Negrens rulers of the Cantonal Republic organized as a new government independent from Spanish rule.
Shortly after the arrival of American forces in Manila, a major event after the surrender of Spanish forces at Negros was the news that the Spanish had ceded the Philippines to America in the Treaty of Paris of 1898. This brought the Negrense officials to send a commission to Iloilo in the second week of December 1898.
The Negrens explained to the US commander in Iloilo that Negros should not be included in the transfer of power from the Spaniards to the Americans because the Negrens had driven out the Spanish forces since his November 5 revolution and declared themselves an autonomous government.
The Negros Commission came back with nothing more than a promise that the matter would be referred to US command in Manila. The demand for independence from the Negroes following the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain was however ignored.
While the demand for religious freedom can be traced to strong anti-brother sentiments in Negros, they should have known that President Emilio Aguinaldo could not yet elicit a stand for Negros’ independence given the intense debates suspending the decision on religious matters until the meeting. of the National Constituent Assembly.
When the Negros delegates emerged from the meeting with Aguinaldo, they gave American observers a basis for the American autonomous position that ultimately allowed American forces to capture the whole of the Philippines.