Ferdinand Blumentritt: An Austrian Life for the Philippines
Strangely enough, a document of the Philippine Parliament (the
so-called Philippine Assembly) sheds a light in the darkness. Published
in 1914 in Manila under the title The Life and Works of Ferdinand
Blumentritt, Blumentritt himself gives information about his ancestors:
Blumentritt relates that he, hardly skilled in reading, made travelogues and historical works about Latin America and the Far East his favorite reading matter. His schoolmates called him the "Spaniard". "However, in order to be able to read these books in the original language, I had to learn Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, English and Dutch, even though I was still small and had no teacher."
Blumentritt writes that, of all those peoples and countries, he was most interested in the Philippines. As a professor in Leitmeritz then, he was able to devote his attention fervently to the study of the archipelago of 7,000 islands. Humbly, Blumentritt kept secret his being an authority in Tagalog, the chief dialect recognized today as its national language. And he justifies, not only for the first time, nor for the last time, his political engagement for the Philippines: "Although my love for the country never incited me to separatist or anti-Spanish endeavors, the Spaniards and the resident monks in the Philippines attacked me vehemently. This persecution, these insults, could, nevertheless, not deter me from continuing the defense of the rights of the Philippines before the entire world."
Based on investigations, it is reported in the documentation of the Philippine Assembly that a representative of the Advocate General's branch at court martials (legal counsel in military courts), Andres Alcazar, in fact served as governor and attorney-general from February to December, 1616, during the absence and after the death of the Governor-General, Juan de Silva. This Alcazar might have been a forefather of Blumentritt. Thus the bow is drawn from the Philippines to Prague and Leitmeritz and through the friendship with Jose Rizal back to the Philippines.
[Rizal-Blumentritt Friendship] [Up]
created: March 28, 1998|
updated: March 28, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger