Wednesday, June 18, 2008
: . A Katipunan Treasury
(Notice to members of the Kataastaasang Kapisanan, March 15, 1896. Source: Archivo General Militar de Madrid: Caja 5677, leg.1.25)
Jim Richardson, best known in Philippine Studies circles as the co-author of Roots of Dependency: Political and Economic Revolution in 19th Century Philippines and most recently, for his scathing review of Benedict Anderson's Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Anti-Colonial Imagination, has produced what is perhaps the most valuable digital resource for the study of the Katipunan and Andres Bonifacio. The site, Katipunan: Documents and Studies, contextualizes, transcribes, and translates rare documents, some penned by Andres Bonifacio himself, that until recently have eluded even the most assiduous Philippine historians. Discovered mostly in the manuscript collection of the Archivo General Militar de Madrid, the documents not only enhance our knowledge of the most extensively examined period in Philippine history. Of unquestionable authenticity, the documents also help settle certain issues first raised by Glenn Anthony May regarding the reliability of existing works on the early phases of the Philippine Revolution. As historical documents are being pilfered from public collections (see here and here) in Manila only to fall into private hands, surely a mixed blessing considering the lack of government funds , and worse, of inclination to care for archival materials, Richardson's site ensures that anyone, anywhere with internet access can examine primary source materials on a crucial moment in the Philippine past.
This site is devoted to the study of the Katipunan, the patriotic secret society that in 1896 launched the revolution against Spanish rule in the Philippines.
Although the late 19th century is the most celebrated and studied period in Philippine history, much of what has been published on the Katipunan is unreliable and the surviving primary sources are as yet largely unexplored. The principal aim here is to bring to light a number of important Katipunan documents that have not been published before, or are not readily accessible. Links will be provided to materials on the Katipunan that may be found elsewhere on the web - most notably on the excellent "Bonifacio Papers" site, which this site will seek to complement, and not in any way to contest.
The documents are arranged under eight sub-headings – Foundational documents; Supreme Council (Kataastaasang Sangunian); Supreme Assembly (Kataastaasang Kapisanan); Councils and branches (Sangunian at Balangay); Membership documents; Andres Bonifacio; Emilio Jacinto; and Miscellaneous – and under each sub-heading they are ordered chronologically. The site also includes a number of studies and research notes on the Katipunan, some of which have been posted previously on “Bonifacio Papers”.