Surigao's history dates back centuries. The winds of change that swept the province from the four corners of the world has witnessed the meeting of diverse local and foreign influences which nurtured the emergence of a unique and distinct Surigaonon culture.
Surigao del Norte once a part of an old territory that existed in Northern Mindanao called "Caraga" named after the people called Calagaus" believed to be of Visayan origin who inhabited the place at the time.
In 1538, the eastern coast of Mindanao which included the present province of Surigao del Norte was visited by a Portuguese-born Spaniard explorer Francisco de Castro, in the expedition from Ternate in search of Luisa found the place inhabited by the Caraga tribe who were believed to be of Visayan origin. There upon , baptized the inhabitants to Christianity.
Historically, the early Spanish settlement and development in Surigao del Norte was established in Tandag.
Five years later, a Spaniard Ruy loLopez de Villalobos landed in the same region. His navigator Bernardo de la Torre, named it " Cesaria Caroli " in honor of the reigning Spanish Monarch, Carlos V. The name however, never persisted since the Spaniards preferred to name the area "Caraga" after its chief inhabitants.
The Jesuits Missionaries in 1597 tried to evangelize the people of Butuan ( Agusan ) and Caraga ( Surigao ), with much difficulty and intermittent success. They were followed in 1622 by the Augustinian Recollects who established parishes in Tandag and Bislig in 1642. The Recollects stayed until 1875, then secular priest took over , followed by the Benedictine Monks from 1893 to 1908.
The ancient district of Caraga which was established in 1609 comprised all of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, the Northern part of Davao Oriental and Eastern Misamis Oriental.
In 1638 Recollects had a resindence in the following towns, namely Tandag,Sidargo (Siargao), Bislig, and Liano-a town located in the interior of Agusan.
It was in 1752 ,a year after the town of SIargao (Numancia) was burned by the Moros(Muslim Pirates),when the - Recollects residence was transferred to Surigao.
In 1860 six military districts were established in Mindanao, Surigao and Agusan, including the territory lying between Butuan and Caraga Bays, formed the third districts called the East Districts which was changed in 1870 to "Distrito de Surigao" .
By the end of Spanish Rule in 1898, the two Agusan provinces had been organized as a single politico-military commadancia named " Butuan", within the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao, In 1901, this commandancia became a sub-province of Surigao, and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province.
In 1911 during the American Regime, Agusan was created as a separate province with Butuan as its capital. Pursuants to R.A. 2766*** dated June 19, 1960, Surigao was divided in two provinces Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
***some writings 2786 ,others 2736
Surigao del Norte has a very rich culture. The first "tribe" reached Surigao during the early period of migration , long before the glacial period that separated the Philippines from mainland Asia Next came the people of rich Malay stock. This was followed by the Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs. Glints of American and European culture could also be identified in the Surigao culture.
During the later periods, migrants from Luzon and Visayas flocked to the province in a hope to seek for greater oportunities attracted by stories of other successful immigrants on the " Gold Rush". Fortunately they found greener pastures and decided to permanently settle here. This resulted in inter-marriages with the natives.
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