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Formal congressional hall with several people in attendance with a man seated on a dais in a chair.

Insurgent Congress Hall, Malolos, Bulacan Province, Luzon Island. Aguinaldo in the chair on the platform

The setting of this photograph is the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. Known as “the Malolos Church,” it was used as Emilio Aguinaldo’s residence, office, and headquarters. There, he convened the first Filipino parliament, the Malolos Congress, in September 1898. The group’s members were drawn from Aguinaldo’s supporters in Central Luzon, so
it was not a representative assembly of the entire archipelago. The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898, and Spain sold the Philippines to the United 

States for $20 million as part of the settlement (approximately $720 million today). Aguinaldo sent Felipe Agoncillo and Juan Luna as representatives to the treaty negotiations that were to conclude the War of 1898, but the United States did not recognize the Filipino diplomats. Ignoring the treaty, Aguinaldo focused on consolidating power. Under his presidency, the Malolos Congress established the First Philippine Republic on January 22, 1899—six weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Unidentified photographer
Gelatin silver print
17.8 × 22.9 cm (7 × 9 in.)
Archive Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution