The vastness and promising economic potential of the place lured the Spaniards to conduct a series of expeditions. Series of attempts to pacify the “Igorots” but failed. Finally in 1846, Commandante de Galvey established his Commandancia at La Trinidad, Benguet (named after his wife). The first Kapitan of Benguet was Pulito of Kafagway, now Baguio, a minor rancheria of about 20 houses.
The Spaniards were able to establish order, build churches and schools, made trails and introduce coffle during their long occupation of the area.
The Americans came early in 1900 and established their government with H. Whitmarsh as the appointed Governor of Benguet and Baguio City as the capital. This was the first provincial government to be established in the Philippines and this happened a year prior to the inauguration of the civil government of the Philippines. Their best administrators and teachers were fervent boosters and promoters: Worcester, Wright Forbes, Pack Barrows, Eckman and others who together with Filipinos committed to make the place a haven.
The mines near Baguio were developed and became productive. Business in the city flourished with commercial centers put up. Recreational facilities were installed. The city was growing before the outbreak of the war.
Baguio was bombed December 8, 1941 by the Japanese and they occupied it on December 27 of the same year. However, the war changed course and on September 3, 1945, General Yamashita surrendered to the Americans at the US Ambassador’s residence in Camp John Hay, after which, Baguio immediately set to the task of rehabilitation.
The July 16, 1990 earthquake devastated the entire city with its infrastructures, buildings and its populace. Four years after the great earthquake, Baguio City has recovered and is standing firm and proud for its restored heritage.
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