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Cagayan De Oro History, Philippines

The City of Golden Friendship

In the language of ancient Malayo-Polynesian and Spanish, its name means, City of the River of Gold.  Cagayan de Oro owes what it is now to its rich history which dates back before the Spanish occupation in the Philippines.  Belonging to the tenth region of the country and the gateway to Northern Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro is well known for gold mining and its friendly inhabitants, which is how it got its reputation as a City of Golden Friendship.

The Himologans

The early recorded inhabitants of Cagayan de Oro were the Himologans or the Huluga in 377 AD.  The Himologans were polytheistic animists who believed that there are different gods for everything found in nature.  They paid taxes or tributes to Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat, who was the Sultan of Maguindanao during that time.  

Gaston Park

The Spaniards reached the city in 1622.  They were missionaries headed by Fray Agustin de San Pedro.  During that time, the city was frequently attacked by Muslim warriors, which explains why most of the inhabitants of the region were not converted to Muslim.  Instead, the citizens of Cagayan were converted to Christianity thanks to Fray Agustin.  It was he who convinced Datu Salangsang, the chief of the Himologans in 1626 to move the settlements to present day Gaston Park and fortified this area against Muslim attacks sent by Sultan Kudarat.  

Segundo Distrito de Misamis

As the Spanish influence dominated Cagayan, the city became a province in 1818 of which Partidos de Cagayan was one of its four major districts.  As decreed by the Spanish Governor General Carlos Maria dela Torre in 1872, Cagayan became the capital of Segundo Distrito de Misamis.  During this time, the town of Cagayan de Oro was known as Cagayan de Misamis.  

Cagayan de Misamis

Then known as Cagayan de Misamis, this town became seat of the Spanish government in Mindanao for the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Bukidon and Lanao Del Norte, in the year 1883.  During this time, Cagayan had turned from a simple fishing and agricultural area to a major area of business and trading.

Philippine Spanish Independence

In 1899, Cagayan de Misamis joined General Emilio Aguinaldo to celebrate the Philippine’s independence from the Spanish regime and the establishment of a new government under Aguinaldo.  By this time, it would be the second time that the Aguinaldo government was declared and the first time the new Philippine flag was hoisted in Mindanao.

The City of Cagayan de Oro

By virtue of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, the Philippines was ceded to the United States by Spain which was the start of another era for the country.  By 1900, the Americans took over Cagayan de Misamis which brought some friction with the natives to resist the American regime.  Forty years later, the Americans gave the Philippines its independence.

Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Emmanual Pelaez, Cagayan de Misamis was declared a city on June 15, 1950.  Together with it, the city changed its name to Cagayan de Oro to acknowledge the gold mining activities it was known for in the Spanish era.

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