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{November 17, 2008}   Jose Rizal-Philippine National Hero

Dr. Jose Rizal

José Rizal (1861-96), Filipino physician, novelist, and nationalist martyr. The son of a wealthy Filipino planter, Rizal was born in Calamba, in Laguna Province. He studied medicine in Madrid and Paris and later in Germany, where he published his novel The Lost Eden (1886; trans. 1961), attacking the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines. This and a second novel, The Subversive (1891; trans. 1962), won him wide recognition and helped spark a reform movement in the Philippines. Rizal was critical of the power exercised by Roman Catholic religious orders in his country and demanded political rights and equality for Filipinos, but he stopped short of advocating independence. After practicing medicine for a time in Hong Kong, he returned to Manila in 1892. The authorities there exiled him to the island of Mindanao. When a Filipino revolt broke out in 1896, Rizal was accused of having inspired it. Convicted of sedition by a military court, he was executed in Manila. He is honored as a national hero in the Philippines.

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