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The Philippines has an area of 343,448 square kilometers (132,606 sq mi) comprising one of the world's largest diasporas.Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands.
Among the early Philippine polities, this arrangement fulfilled the requirements for trade with China, but did not actually translate into political or military control.Regarding the relations of early Philippine polities with the various state-level polities of Indonesia and Malaysia, legendary accounts often mention the interaction of early Philippine polities with the Srivijaya empire, but there is not much archeological evidence to definitively support such a relationship.Although different cultures had different terms to describe them, this three-tier structure invariably consisted of an apex nobility class, a class of "freemen", and a class of dependent debtor-bondsmen called "alipin" or "oripun." Although the precise political relationships between these polities is unclear in the text of the inscription, the artifact is usually accepted as evidence of intra- and inter-regional political linkages as early as 900 CE.) in northeastern Mindanao which is the first polity from the Philippine archipelago recorded as having sent a tribute mission to the Chinese empire – on March 17, 1001 CE.Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity.Exchanges with Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Islamic nations occurred.
Then, various competing maritime states were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sultans or Lakans.
The Kedatuan of Madja-as () was founded following a civil war in collapsing Srivijaya, wherein loyalists of the Malay datus of Srivijaya defied the invading Chola dynasty and its puppet-Rajah, called Makatunao, and set up a guerrilla-state in the islands of the Visayas.
Its founding datu, Puti, had purchased land for his new realms from the aboriginal Ati hero, Marikudo.
The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization.
In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years.
In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants.