Biography of José Protesio Rizal y Mercado (1861-1896)

Patriot and Philippine intellectual, born in Calamba (province of Laguna, Luzon) on June 19, 1861 and died in Manila on December 30, 1896, which was the capital of the Philippine's late 19th century independence movement. Inspiring ideological cause that, with his death became first and most illustrious of their martyrs. He/She also stressed as a writer, facet that cultivated in the form of essays, novels, poetry, critical letters or newspaper articles.

Born into a prosperous family of chino-filipinos Métis owners of a sugar plantation, José Rizal grew up in an enlightened environment result of influence exercised by his mother, Teodora Alonso, Member of the intellectual circles of Manila. He/She made his first studies at the Ateneo of the Philippine capital, where he/she graduated in 1877, soon noted for his capacity for study as well as a broad multidisciplinary vocation that led him to be interested by subjects as diverse as history, anthropology, literature, art, philosophy and medicine. In 1879 the artistic Liceo awarded first prize in a national contest for his Ode to the Filipino youth.

After completing the first years of careers in medicine and philosophy and letters in the University of Santo Tomas, in 1882 he/she travelled to Spain to continue his medical training at the Central University of Madrid. During his stay in the mainland capital he/she also attended painting classes at the Academy of San Fernando, and studied English and German among other languages. He/She soon got in touch with other Filipino students, among whom were Graciano López Jaena, Mariano Ponce and Eduardo de Lete, Marcelo Hilario del Pilar, who would also figures in the development of a national movement; However, Rizal soon began to stand out from all of them by his eloquence and personality, erecting on the spiritual leader of the group.

In 1886 he/she travelled to Germany to complete studies of medicine and philosophy at the prestigious University of Heidelberg. The stay in this city served to build solid relationships with other scientists and intellectuals of the time as the Austrian geographer Ferdinand Blumentritt, who joined a great friendship. Blumentritt exerted a decisive influence on the growing interest of Rizal to the social sciences and anthropology. Steeped in the current European intellectuals in vogue, characterized by the application of evolutionary theory to the races and Nations, their research in this field led him to scientifically disprove the widespread belief in the inferiority of the filipino native, awakening in him a consciousness of the peculiarity of the filipino people but especially the unjust situation of prostration. In particular, Rizal focused their criticisms on the religious orders: the abuses of the regular orders justified in religion were, from their perspective, the true evil of their country rather than the mere fact of the Spanish sovereignty, recognized that the merit of introducing Western civilization in the Islands. This line was his first book, Noli Me Tangere (don't touch me), published that same year in 1886 in Heidelberg. The hostility of this novel to the Spanish friars was such that provoked its immediate censure in the Islands and the expulsion of the own Rizal nothing more have returned to Manila, in 1887.

After brief stays in Japan and United States, in April 1888 he/she returned to European lands, residing during different periods in London, Paris and Antwerp. From these capitals, he/she began to write articles for various Spanish media which from 1889 was solidarity, the bi-weekly newspaper in which expressed their ideas the select circle of Filipino students resident in Europe and that Rizal was part, known as the propagandists. It was in this environment where saw the light one of the most interesting trials of Rizal, Philippines, within a hundred years, published that same year and which already seen the possibility of falling in the future under the Dominion of the United States. However, the political demands of Rizal which is reflected in the press, as well as those of the majority of the propagandists, were certainly able to moderate because they do not openly questioned the legitimacy of the Spanish sovereignty: Rizal was limited to ask for the legal equality of the Philippines with any other Spanish territory, and only hinted at times the prospect of independence if they failed all attempts at reform.

In 1890 he/she made a critical review of the work of the century XVII events of the Philippine Islands, of Antonio de Morga; the edition of Rizal he/she emphasized the historical roots of the filipino people, in what came to be a vindication of the cultural wealth of the archipelago before colonization. In 1891 saw the light a new job, El Filibusterismo (designation of separatism) or the Kingdom of greed, which returned the critical satire to the friars of Noli Me tangere perhaps even with more radically; not in vain, some interpreted this text as a bet already clear by independence. Although these works were banned by the Church hierarchy of the Philippines, the measure did not prevent that they enjoyed a considerable spread in the Islands, contributing to spread a sense of national belonging and the awareness of being a fusion village among the illustrated classes. In terms of literary facet, the work of Rizal presents a narrative style deeply imbued with realism dominant in the time in which there are costumbristas pictures, combined with a didactic eagerness to own who intends to reach out a practical teaching; in this sense, include dialogues between characters that embody opposing ideological positions, perhaps a reflection of his own internal debate.

Despite the obvious danger that ran his life, Rizal returned to the Philippines in June 1892 after a brief stay in Hong Kong (1891-92). In the British colony had been drafted the statutes of the Philippine League, an organization linked to Freemasonry and lacking in political principle: in his own words, the League was "[...] promote the union of the filipinos and promote trade and industry, forming a kind of cooperative partners", although probably aspired to become the core of the nationalist movement in own Philippine soil. On the other hand, for the Spanish authorities the League constituted an explicit call to subversion; as a result was banned and its leader arrested and exiled to Dapitan City (Northwest of Mindanao), where he/she stayed for the next four years. During this exile within his own country was entirely devoted to scientific and philanthropic - activity founded a hospital and a school, away from any ideological or political involvement.

In the summer of 1896 he/she obtained permission from the Governor Ramon white to leave Cuba and join the army of the colonial as a doctor, although under the close surveillance of Spanish authorities. However, being in full travel arrived from Manila the order of prosecution for his responsibility in the independence rebellion of the Katipunan which had just burst (September, 1896). Back in prison, inflexibility of the new Governor general, Camilo Polavieja, policy meant that this time Rizal was tried by a Council of war, being found guilty of the charges presented and condemned to death (December 26, 1896), despite there is no evidence of his participation in the uprising and have at all times expressed its rejection of the use of violence to achieve emancipation. Four days was shot more later in the sentence. In his last days in prison wrote the poem Mi Último Adiós, work of great lyrical beauty.