Missionary activity during the country's colonial rule by Spain and the United States led the transformation of the Philippines into the first and then, along with East Timor, one … In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain, who was then Prince of Girona and of Asturias under his father, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor who, as Charles I, was also King of Spain.

Most of them have been dated to belong to the 9th century. The Philippines's archaeological finds include many ancient gold artifacts. Islam is the oldest monotheistic religion in the Philippines. The first recorded Muslim trader arrived in the southern islands of the Philippines in 1380, and religious leaders and traders continued to travel to the region via ancient trade routes from the Middle East, across India and the Indian Ocean, and onward into Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Christianity arrived in the Philippines with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. More than 86 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 6 percent belong to various nationalized Christian cults, and another 2 percent belong to well over 100 Protestant denominations. The Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia.

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