According to some oral accounts , in may 18, 1899 - Fort Pilar and its Spanish troops, in Southern Philippines, surrendered to the Revolutionary Government of Zamboanga. Five days after,
(May 23) the spanish troops evacuate the city of Zamboanga for good, after burning down most of the city's buildings in contempt of the Zamboangueños' revolt against them.
Vicente Alvarez was chosen by his fellow Zamboangueños to be their first popular leader of the revolutionary government established immediately after the former Spanish garrison troops evacuated to Manila. (1)
The rivalry between the local revolutionary leadership of President Vicente Alvarez and opposition leader Isidoro Midel allowed for the easy subjugation of the city by the American forces when Midel sided with the Americans upon their arrival. As a reward for his help, the new American rulers allowed Isidoro Midel to continue as president of the local government of Zamboanga for about 16 months, against the will of the people, after that Vicente Alvarez fled to Mercedes, then later to Basilan, when the Americans arrived and took control of the fort del Pilar.
(1) Many people said that an autonomous republic was estabilished by Alvarez and his men who called it "La Republica de Zamboanga " ; in reality the revolutionary government estabilished the " Republica Filipina de Zamboanga" linked with Aguinaldo and subjected to his administration.
VICENTE ALVAREZ LEADER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY FORCES OF ZAMBOANGA
THE FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBOANGA, AN ALLEGED FLAG OF AN ALLEGED REPUBLIC
The flag of the so-called "Republic of Zamboanga" a republic on which existence there are strong doubts seems to be born in Luzon rather than in Mindanao.
The first images of the flag appeared on The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.), June 22, 1898 ;the image shows a flag but no description of it is given; the flag anyway, was shared on some other newspapers:
The Herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), June 27, 1898 ;The Worthington advance. (Worthington, Minn.), July 21, 1898 and lastly on
The St. Johns herald. (St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona Territory [Ariz.]), September 24, 1898 .On that newpaper there was a brief note: "Aguinaldo swears by this; Beneath this old philippine insurgent rally under the flag Aguinaldo.it Has a rather sinister appearence, With its cabalistic-looking figures, and literature Recalls of Capt. Kidd to school the average citizen. "
All images are in black and white, however, and there are no specific descriptions of the colors and the meaning of the symbols and we have no idea what these might be.(Even if the drawing had horizontal line who, following heraldic rules can be interpreted as blue color).
In our help comes to us a flag catalog :
A 1903 catalog flag (Baker & Lockwood Mfg.Co: successors to CJ Baker, Awnings, Tent etc., Kansas City USA) Has illustrated in color the flags sold by That Company.
On page 74 above the flag of Prussia, we can find out a blue flag bearing two white rings and a sort of white S SET sideways.
The flag was Identified as: "Philippine Insurgent."
A blue flag then, the same attribuited to the presumed Republic of Zamboanga.
But was that really a blue flag ?
The Puck magazine of october 12, 1898 shows a caricature of General Aguinaldo who holds a red flag with the same symbols on white flags appeared in various newspapers mentioned above.
The same Puck magazine in march 8 1899 published another caricature in which Aguinaldo, crushed by the fist of the United States had next to him his sword and a red flag with symbols similar to the image appeared on Puck of October 12 of 1898.
Following a chronological order so it would seem that the images appeared on Puck finally describe what were the colors of the flag.
In May 1898 there was already a national flag, the one made in Hong Kong by Aguinaldo and his entourage so why an american newspaper attributed to the "insurgents" a red flag with those strange symbols? It was just a mistake, or the flag actually existed though not exactly with those features? Was it a flag of the Katipunan clumsily represented by the American media? Was it "migrated '' to Zamboanga to be flown by Vicente Alvarez and his revolutionaries ?
Adolf Duràn, a Spanish vexillologist and publisher of the magazine "Banderas" spread the information that a flag, apparently preserved in a unspecified museum belonged to the Republic of Zamboanga; actually no real evidence existed and Duràn disappeared prematurely without being able to provide further explanations and information about; presumably he meant the flag of the Republic (of the insurgents) IN Zamboanga not
The Republic OF Zamboanga.
As we all know, in fact Alvarez back to Zamboanga to continue the revolutionary struggle but never disavow Aguinaldo being indeed one of its representatives to Mindanao.maybe the idea of a statual entity or an independent state of Zamboanga and nearby areas was on the minds of Alvarez and his men but it was just a dream.
just let's talk about the flag; Alvarez may have brought with him the red flag from Manila but how it becomes blue? How and why changed from red to blue?
As we have already said the first known description of the flag on blue and his image appeared only in 1903 flag catalog and the flag was captioned as "philippine insurgent" not "Zamboanga insurgent."
And the symbols ...? The symbols on it what do they represented ? In recent times a clumsy reworking of the flag by some graphics intent to glorify the "Republic of Zamboanga" painted symbols such as two circles and a zul-Fiqar or sword of Ali ; just i wonder why to carry a flag with the sword of Ali if a small fraction of the people of Zamboanga was Muslim? Why they didn't adopted Christian symbols or symbols of both religions?
As we can see we are far from finding an answer to our questions, but some more research could give reliable answers based on evidence and not on interpretation.
The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.), June 22, 1898
The Herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), June 27, 1898
The Worthington advance. (Worthington, Minn.), July 21, 1898
The St. Johns herald. September 24, 1898
The red "insurgent" flag as depicted on PUCK magazine in 1898
"PUCK" magazine of October 12 of 1898
"PUCK" magazine of october 12, 1898
A 1903 flag catalog (Baker & Lockwood Mfg.Co: successors to C.J. Baker ; Awnings, Tent etc. ; Kansas City U.S.A. ) has illustrated in color the flags sold by that Company.
On page 74 above the flag of Prussia we can find out a blue flag bearing two white rings and a sort of white V set sideways.
The flag was identified as: " Philippine Insurgent ".
That's a good evidence of the existence of the flag attribuited by some vexillologists and researchers to Zamboangaand labelled as the flag of the "Zamboanga Republic".
We just wonder why a so "unknown" flag , who belonged to a small entity was shown on a flag catalogue , side by side with so important flags like Prussia etc. ... .
(SUPPOSED ) FLAGS OF THE " REPUBLIC OF ZAMBOANGA" , 1899
We don't have great informations about these flags ;
the two crossed kris and spear shown on this version of the flag remind us to the flags of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu , also adopted since 1899 to the present days.
As told before we don't have strong evidences on these flags probably they never existed as flags of any administrative or political entity in Zamboanga area.