Unrealized Ambitions of Proyecto de Colonización: Exploring Spanish Colonial Projects and Identity in 1890s Mindanao



settler colonialism, Mindanao, Spanish Argentines, Spanish colonial rule, agricola


Characterized by demands for reform and calls for revolution, Spanish colonial rule was perceived to be at its waning phase during its last decade in the Philippine historical memory. The Proyecto de colonización en Filipinas: Remitido por varios españoles residentes en Buenos Aires por conducto del Ministerio de Estado provides a contrarian response and a new perspective on Spain’s design in Mindanao, one of the many overlooked regions in Philippine historical studies during colonial period. This study aims to extract the historical narrative, uncover the authors’ intentions, and clarify the underlying ideology behind the colonial project outlined in the Proyecto de colonización. The 17-document folio, with additional context, reveals that Spanish immigrants in Argentina suffered from the political and economic aftereffects of the Baring crisis in South America. Seeking to pursue their economic aspirations under the tutelage of Spanish protection, they ask the Madrid government’s permission to migrate to its overseas territories. In 1895, the news of the Spanish victory in Marawi inspired various personalities in Buenos Aires to submit proposals for an agricultural colony in Mindanao by acquisition of land favorable for settlement. Nevertheless, analysis of the documents written by the authors in the folio reveals their intention to implement settler colonialism in the Philippines, a departure from the existing Spanish policy of imperial and commercial exploitation. Even though the proposals failed to seek approval for implementation, early perspectives were provided of what was to come when Christian settlers arrived in Mindanao. The study demonstrates that the 1890s Philippines transcends the age of revolution and highlights the understudied nature of settler colonialism in the country, both in the hands of foreigners and fellow Filipinos.

Author Biography

Joshua Philip Castillo, Mindanao State University - General Santos

Joshua Philip D. Castillo currently studies at Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology for his Master of Arts in History. He serves as an Assistant Lecturer in the History Department of Mindanao State University - General Santos since the year 2020. His research interests include Economic and Diplomatic History of the Philippines. He is writing his graduate thesis on the planned migration of Argentinians to Mindanao by the end of the 19th century. For inquiries about his works, you can reach him at joshuaphilip.castillo719@gmail.com.




How to Cite

Castillo, J. P. “Unrealized Ambitions of Proyecto De Colonización: Exploring Spanish Colonial Projects and Identity in 1890s Mindanao”. TALA: An Online Journal of History, vol. 7, no. 1, June 2024, pp. 59-87, http://talakasaysayan.org/index.php/talakasaysayan/article/view/172.