HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 59 no. 1 (2013)

The Rise and Fall of Leyte Pueblos (1768-1914)

Rolando O. Borrinaga

Discipline: History



Around 1840, the Province of Leyte had a population of 87,275 living in 33 pueblos, only 12 of which met the required 500 tributes for a pueblo to technically exist. By 1850, their number had been reduced to 14 pueblos-with-parishes. The pueblos gradually increased again in number to 47 at the end of the Spanish era in 1898 and to 51 as of the 1903 Census during the early American period. But the Municipal Consolidations of 1903 abruptly reduced the municipalities in the province to only 33, retaining only those with the capacity to support their own operations. By 1914, the number of municipalities had risen again to 39, but this number was still lower than the 47 pueblos that the Spaniards left behind. This paper originally aimed to just identify and analyze the social, economic and political factors that contributed to thedrastic fall in the number of pueblos in Leyte in the 1840s, the gradual rise in the number of pueblo-parishes toward the end of the Spanish colonial era, and the abrupt fall in their number during the early American period. But during data-gathering and writing, its timeline was extended to 1768, to provide a broad background of the events that occurred from 1840 and afterwards.