According to Dr.
linguist at the University of Hawai'i, the name "Cagayan" is
derived from a lost, ancient sound that evolved into "kagayan", "karayan", "kalayan",
and others. These derivatives all mean "river".
There are three places in the Philippines
named Cagayan, namely: Cagayan Province in Northern Luzon, Cagayan
Islands in the Sulu Sea and Cagayan de Oro City (formerly Cagayan
de Misamis) located in Northern Mindanao.
People usually confuse Cagayan de Oro
with Cagayan Province or vice versa, hence it is important to emphasize "de
Oro" and "city" to distinguish Cagayan de Oro from
other Cagayan places.
History. In 1622, when the first
Spanish Missionaries arrived, the people of Cagayan had tributary
relation to Kudarat, the Muslim Sultan of Maguindanao Empire. Yet
the people had not fully embraced Islam. With the encouragement
of Friar Agustin, the local natives finally settled down in the
area what is now Saint Augustine Cathedral and Gaston Park.
On February 27, 1872, the Spanish
Governor General issued a decree declaring Cagayan the permanent
capital of Segundo Distrito de Misamis. All Spanish politico-military
Governors of Misamis Province, who were all Lieutenant Colonels,
lived at the Casa Real de Cagayan (now the City Hall). During
this era, the town was known as Cagayan de Misamis.
After the 1898 Treaty of Paris, Spain
ceded the Philippines to the United States. In 1899, conflict
between the Filipino Government led by General Emilio Aguinaldo
and the American colonizers erupted with the Philippine-American
On March 31, 1900, the Americans invaded
Cagayan de Misamis. Resistance fighters had already organized
before the attack, but only retaliated only on April 7, 1900,
led by General Nicolas Capistrano. The fighting erupted in the
town center. This was followed by the Battle of Agusan Hill,
led by Captain Vicente Roa, who was killed with his men.
After years of resistance,
the Americans finally colonized the town. Decades of
peace and progress ensued. This however was broken when
World War II erupted. In 1942, the Japanese detachment
from Iloilo sailed to Cagayan and burned most of the
town leaving few important buildings. In 1945, Cagayan
was liberated by the Americans but suffered heavy bombardment.
After the war, the town started
rebuilding. Through the efforts of Congressman Emmanuel
town of Cagayan de Misamis became a city on June 15.
1950. The town name was changed to Cagayan de Oro. Congressman
Pelaez appended "de oro" to
Cagayan in recognition of gold mining activities in the
hinterland barrios known to Spanish explorers.