Battle of Pulang Lupa 1900

What was happening in 1900?

In 1898, Spanish-American War took place. In this war, USA defeated Spain and took over the control of many former Spanish colonies, including the Philippines. Filipino revolutionaries and soldiers had fought alongside American soldiers in the war against Spain.

So when the war ended and USA became the new colonial ruler of the Philippines, the Filipino troops felt betrayed. This ultimately led to a war between the Filipino troops and USA, known as the Philippine-American War. The war started in February, 1899 and was still going on in 1900.

Background of the Battle of Pulang Lupa

In September, 1900, the American army decided to confront the Filipino revolutionaries and troops present in Marinduque. Marinduque is an island province of the Philippines. A group of American soldiers started the search operation on September 11, 1900.

Their objective was to find the main Filipino guerrilla leader in the area, Colonel Maximo Abad. However, Abad had the support of the local population and he was informed by people about the movements of the American soldiers. Using this information, Abad was able to elude the Americans and lure them into a trap. This led to the Battle of Pulang Lupa.

When and where did the battle take place?

The Battle of Pulang Lupa took place in Marinduque, Philippines. It was fought on September 13, 1900.

Commanders on both sides

Colonel Maximo Abad was the commander of the Filipino fighters. He led a group of around 250 troops and was also supported by more than 1000 poorly armed local men called bolomen.

The American soldiers numbered at 55 and were commanded by Captain Devereux Shields.

The Fighting

On September 13, 1900, the group of American soldiers started climbing a ridge while still searching for Abad and his men. Unknown to the Americans, Abad and his troops were positioned on the top of the ridge. As the American soldiers drew near, they opened fire. Americans took cover and responded by rifle fire.

This lasted for many hours but in the meanwhile, the bolomen of Abad’s army started surrounding the Americans. This forced the Americans to retreat. Even during their retreat, Abad and his men continued to follow them. The American soldiers were finally forced to take refuge in a rice field where they were surrounded on all sides. This forced Captain Devereux Shields to raise a white flag and surrender to Abad’s army.

Result and Aftermath

The battle was a significant victory for the Filipino troops. The American troops suffered 4 deaths while the rest of the 50 soldiers were taken captive. Abad and his troops suffered an unknown number of casualties. Although the Filipino troops won, the victory proved disastrous.

Soon American government retaliated by forcing all civilians of the island into towns and destroying food and shelter so that Abad may find no support. The American soldiers taken captive were ultimately freed through negotiations. The civilian population eventually stopped supporting Abad. This finally forced Abad to surrender to the U.S. army in April, 1901.

Learn More about the Battle of Pulang Lupa at Wikipedia

The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars: A Political, Social, and Military History (3 Volumes)