country occupying a group of c. 7,100 islands () in the SW Pacific off the SE coast of Asia: formerly a Spanish possession (1565-1898) & U.S. possession (1898-1946), it became independent in 1946: 115,830 sq mi (299,999 sq km); pop. 60,559,000; cap. Manila
A country of eastern Asia consisting of the Philippine Islands, an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean southeast of China. Inhabited by Malays and various indigenous groups, the islands were first sighted by Magellan's expedition in 1521 and were colonized by the Spanish after 1565. They came under U.S. control in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. A commonwealth was created in 1935 and full independence achieved in 1946. The islands were occupied by Japan during much of World War II. Political turmoil led to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos after 1965 and his exile in 1986 following the election of Corazón Aquino. Manila is the capital and the largest city. Population: 91,100,000.