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Luzon island is shown in colour red; its associated islands in maroon
Luzon/luːˈzɑːn/ (Tagalog: Kalusunan) is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name of one of the three primary island groups in the country (the other two being the Visayas and Mindanao). Luzon as an island group includes Luzon proper, the Batanes and Babuyan groups of islands to the north, and the outlying islands of Catanduanes, Marinduque, Masbate, Romblon and Mindoro. Luzon is the economic and political center of the Philippines, being home to the country's capital city, Manila, and about half of the country's population. It is one of the most populated islands in the world, only behind Java, Honshu and Great Britain. It has a similar population size to Sumatra but much smaller area.
According to sources at the time, the trade in large native Ruson-tsukuri (literally Luzon made in Japanese:呂宋製 or 呂宋つくり) clay jars used for storing green tea and rice wine with Japan flourished in the 12th century, and local Tagalog and Kapampangan potters had marked each jar with Baybayin letters denoting the particular urn used and the kiln the jars were manufactured in. Certain kilns were renowned over others and prices depended on the reputation of the kiln. Of this flourishing trade, the Burnay jars of Ilocos are the only large clay jar manufactured in Luzon today with origins from this time.
The Portuguese were the first European explorers who recorded it in their charts as Luçonia or Luçon and inhabitants were called Luçoes.Edmund Roberts, who visited Luzon in the early 19th century, wrote that Luzon was "discovered" in 1521.
The Spanish arrival in the 16th century saw the breaking up of these kingdoms and the establishment of the Philippines with its capital Cebu, which was moved to Manila following the defeat of the local Rajah Sulayman in 1570. Under Spain, Luzon also came to be known as the Nueva Castilla or the New Castile.
In World War II, the Philippines were considered to be of great strategic importance because their capture by Japan would pose a significant threat to the U.S. As a result, 135,000 troops and 227 aircraft were stationed in the Philippines by October 1941. Luzon was captured by Imperial Japanese forces[disambiguation needed] in 1942 during their campaign to capture the Philippines. GeneralDouglas MacArthur—who was in charge of the defense of the Philippines at the time—was ordered to Australia, and the remaining U.S. forces retreated to the Bataan Peninsula.
A few months after this, MacArthur expressed his belief that an attempt to recapture the Philippines was necessary. The U.S. Pacific Commander AdmiralChester Nimitz and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest King both opposed this idea, arguing that it must wait until victory was certain. MacArthur had to wait two years for his wish; it was 1944 before a campaign to recapture the Philippines was launched. The island of Leyte was the first objective of the campaign, which was captured by the end of December 1944. This was followed by the attack on Mindoro and later, Luzon.
To the east of the Cordillera Central is the large Cagayan Valley, which serves as the basin for the Cagayan River, the longest river in the Philippines. To the east of the valley rises the Sierra Madre mountain range, easily the longest range in the country. This region is known for being the second largest producer of rice and the country's top corn-producer. The province of Isabela is the largest province in the island in terms of land area and the second largest in the country next to the province of Palawan.
The Sierra Madre snakes southwards into the central and southern part of the island. Between it and the Zambales Mountains to the west is the largest plain, the Central Luzon plain. This plain, approximately 11,000 km² in size, is the country's largest producer of rice. Among the rivers irrigating this plain, the longest are Cagayan to the north, and Pampanga to the south. In the middle of the plain rises the solitary Mount Arayat. To the west, in the Zambales Mountains, rises Mount Pinatubo, made famous because of its enormous 1991 eruption.
The Zambales Mountains extend to the sea in the north, forming Lingayen Gulf, home to the Hundred Islands National Park. To the south, the mountains also extend into the sea, forming the Bataan Peninsula, which encloses the Manila Bay. This natural harbor is considered to be one of the best natural ports in East Asia, due to its size and strategic geographical location.
To the southeast of Manila Bay is the largest lake in the country, and also the largest inland lake in Southeast Asia, the Laguna de Bay (Old Spanish, Lake of Bay town). This 949 km² lake is drained by the Pasig River into Manila Bay. Pasig River is one of the most important rivers in the country due to its historical significance and because it runs through the center of Metro Manila.
Located just 20 km southwest of Laguna de Bay is Taal Lake, within the southwestern portion of the island. This caldera of a lake contains the smallest volcano of the country, Taal Volcano, which rises on the island in the center of the lake. The volcano in turn has a lake in its crater which also contains another small island. All the surrounding areas of Taal Lake were once part of a massive prehistoric volcano that covered the southern portion of the province of Cavite, Tagaytay City and the whole of Batangas province.
Off the southwestern portion of Luzon is the island of Mindoro, separated by the Verde Island Passages. The passages connect the South China Sea to the east with the Tayabas Bay. To the south of the bay is the island of Marinduque.
CALABARZON (Region IV-A), one of the newest regions of the country, was previously a part of Southern Tagalog (Region IV). It is one of the most populous areas of the country. The name of the region is actually an acronym that stands for its provinces, which are Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. The Tagalogs are the dominant ethnic group in this region, with Tagalog as the main language. The region's administrative center is Calamba City.
MIMAROPA (Region IV-B), along with CALABARZON is the newest region of the country, and was previously a part of Southern Tagalog (Region IV). It contains most of the islands in the Luzon group. The name of the region is actually an acronym that stands for its provinces, which are Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. The region's administrative center is Calapan City.
National Capital Region (NCR) is a special administrative region that contains the capital of the country, Manila; the country's most populous city, Quezon City; and an additional 15 more cities and municipalities. The region is more popularly known as Metro Manila. It is the only region in the country that has no provinces, and is the most densely populated with over 10 million people living in a 636 km² area.
Luzon is sometimes divided into three areas: Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon and Metro Manila. Northern Luzon are the regions north of Metro Manila (Regions I, II, III and CAR), while Southern Luzon are regions to the south and east of it (Regions IV-A, IV-B and V). In some statistics, Metro Manila is included within Southern Luzon.
The North-Southeastern trending braided left-lateral strike-slip Philippine Fault System traverses Luzon, from Quezon province and Bicol to the northwestern part of the island. This fault system takes up part of the motion due to the subducting plates and produces large earthquakes. Southwest of Luzon is a collision zone where the Palawan micro-block collides with SW Luzon, producing a highly seismic zone near Mindoro island. Southwest Luzon is characterized by a highly volcanic zone, called the Macolod Corridor, a region of crustal thinning and spreading.
Using geologic and structural data, seven principal blocks were identified in Luzon in 1989: the Sierra Madre Oriental, Angat, Zambales, Central Cordillera of Luzon, Bicol, and Catanduanes Island blocks. Using seismic and geodetic data, Luzon was modeled by Galgana et al. (2007) as a series of six micro blocks or micro plates (separated by subduction zones and intra-arc faults), all translating and rotating in different directions, with maximum velocities ~100 mm/yr NW with respect to Sundaland/Eurasia.
Spain ruled the Philippines for 333 years. Spanish was the language of Philippine Revolution, and the 1899 Malolos Constitution proclaimed it as the official language. However, its use declined following the American occupation of the Philippines, it is still used by the elderly members of some families of great tradition (Rizal, Liboro...)
The economy of the island is centered in Metro Manila with Makati City serving as the main economic and financial hub. Major companies such as Ayala, Jollibee Foods Corporation, SM Group, and Metrobank are based in the business districts of Makati, Ortigas Center, and Bonifacio Global City. Industry is concentrated in and around the urban areas of Metro Manila while agriculture predominates in the other regions of the island producing crops such as rice, bananas, mangoes, coconuts, pineapple, and coffee. Other sectors include livestock raising, tourism, mining, and fishing.
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^ Figure composed of the 8 administrative regions excluding the island provinces of Batanes, Catadunes, and Masbate and the region MIMAROPA
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