fastest growing city in the Philippines after Manila
is Davao. It is the home of the ethnic Bagobo, Mandaya,
Manobo, Tiboli, Mansaka, and B'laan tribes. Tribal
settlements ere mostly found along the banks of the
mighty Davao River. The name Davao was derived from
the word Daba-daba hich evoked images of fire-breathing
mythical figures and rituals of fire set before tribal
wars. The other settlers along the banks of the Davao
River were tribes from the neighboring provinces of
Kotabato, Zamboanga, and Jolo. Earlier conquests by
the Spaniards failed until the mid-19th century when
they were able to overrun the Moslem enclaves in Davao.
Christian settlers arrived soon after the conquest.
Spaniards came to Davao led by a Captain Uyanguren.
Uyangeren built the first Spanish settlement and was
named Nueva Vergara. Trade was started although Davao
floundered during that era because of the distance
from Manila, which was the major Spanish trading outpost.
1939, Davao became a chartered city. Davao began to
grow as an urban area. It was during that time Filipinos
were being urged to settle in Mindanao which was promoted
as the "Land of Promise". People who did heed the
urgings of the central government headed towards Davao.
These mostly Christian emigrates eventually drove
the natives further south.
before World War II, Davao had a big population of
Japanese migrant workers who toiled in the vast Abaca
plantations in and around the province. Davao even
had a section of the city which was known as "Japantown".
During the war, Davao became a regional headquarters
for the Japanese Imperial Army. When Davao was liberated
by the Allied forces, the city was demolished in the
process. The rebuilding process began soon after.