What Are the Characteristics of José Rizal?

Jose Rizal was a doctor, poet, master of multiple languages and a journalist who supported peaceful activism for the purposes of Filipino independence from Spain. The native Filipino ardently disavowed any violent uprising against Spanish rule, but he was publicly executed in 1896 after being convicted of sedition.

Rizal, born in 1861, spent time in Europe, where he earned a medical degree in 1882 and became involved in the Propaganda Movement, which was a movement toward Filipino reform. He wrote his first novel, which shed light on the unethical tactics of Spain’s rule in the Philippines. Upon returning to his home in the Philippines, his work was banned, and he was watched by police, which forced him to return to Europe in 1887.

While in Europe for a second time, he once again called for reforms to the Spanish rule. These changes did not include independence, but instead focused on equality for native Filipinos and representation within the Spanish government. He felt strongly that he needed to be home to enact the most change, and he decided to return in 1892. He set up the non-violent reform group Liga Filipino, but this only caused him to get deported to the island of Mindanao. While exiled, he put his medical degree to use and eventually began teaching medicine.