Economic Society of the Friends of the Country and the Royal Company of the Philippines

Byigor

Economic Society of the Friends of the Country and the Royal Company of the Philippines

Governor General Jose Basco, the most economic minded Spanish Governor General the Philippines had, dreamt of the Philippines developed so fully as to become self supporting. The first step is to have the Philippines ruling independently from Mexico. He got it. Not contented, he had the Sociedad Economica de los Amigos del Pais established in Manila in 1781, a counterpart of the societies of the same name existing throughout the Spanish Empire.

The group concentrated on agricultural reforms by establishing the development and growth of the Philippines through agriculture, mainly by developing the Abaca Industry, the Opium Industry (there are no such thing as Drug Addiction then) and yes, the development of the Tobacco as the main Philippine cash crop. That’s why the Tobacco Monopoly was mainy attributed to Jose Basco, and during his time the Philippines became a leader in tobacco production (what the historians did not take note).

They also established an Art School and the society educated 5485 students, and one of them a Philippine Art Giant: Juan Luna. Decentralization started here, with the opening of the Ports in Iloilo, Sual and Zamboanga to international trade. The new provincial elites sprouted from these ports. The society also likewise helped publish the Flora Filipina by Father Blanco, from whom the gardens in the Augustinian Monastery was named. In the other hand, the Royal Company concentrated on reforms in trade.

Unlike the Manila Galleon that only exported China’s produce, the Royal Company exported more Philippine Products. At the end of the 18th century, Manila is more in contact with Spain via the Manila – Seville trade route, and the Royal Company pledged 40% of its profits to Research and Dvelopment. Though the two did not last that long, they helped propel the Philippine Economy in the turn of the 19th century. With this economic growth, middle class emerged from the ranks of those who benefited from the progress made by the Society and the Royal Company.

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