As the major island, Luzon has played the leading role in the nation's history. Manila harbor has been important since the arrival of the Spanish in the late 16th cent. It was on Luzon that the Filipino revolt against Spanish rule began (1896), that U.S. forces wrested control of the islands from Spain (1898), and that the Philippine insurrection against U.S. rule broke out (1899). The island was invaded by Japanese forces in several places on Dec. 10, 1941, and in early 1942 the Allied forces made their last stand on Bataan peninsula and Corregidor. Luzon was recovered (1945) after a major landing from Lingayen Gulf (January), a bloody fight for Manila (February), and protracted mop-up operations, which were not completed until June. Luzon's several U.S. military bases were closed down between 1971 and 1992, in part because of the devastation caused by Mt. Pinatubo's eruption; the one at Subic Bay was converted to a free-trade zone. See Philippines, The.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.