The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair Philippine
by Jack Corbett
division of Anthropology at the 1904 World's Fair focused upon how
different cultural groups lived, fed themselves, and how their societal
members interacted with each other.
A whole 47 acres of the
fairgrounds was devoted to the Philippine Reservation. Now 47 odd
acres might not sound like all that much. But it's an entire quarter
mile square and back in 1904 there were 100 buildings housed in this
greater than 1320 by 1320 foot piece of parkland.
1100 Filipinos resided here for
the eight months the fair ran.
One of the goals of the Anthropological Division was to show Americans
exotic lands and lifestyles that differed vastly from theirs. Setting
aside forty-seven acres for the representatives of just one Pacific
Island was a celebration of the U.S. victory over Spain in 1898 when the
U.S. took control over the Philippines. In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt was
President. The Spanish American War popularized Teddy Roosevelt and his
Rough Riders who had played no small part in the American victory at San
Juan Hill. But the conquest of the island would not end easily after
the U.S. made quick work of the Spanish.
Insurrection of fanatical Islamic
Moro warriors swept the Philippines.For more than two years, American troops were
engaged in guerrilla warfare that in some ways became a portent for the Vietnam
hundred years later these small scale conflicts with Moro tribesmen are still
remembered. The U.S. military had just replaced the proven Colt 45 Single
Action Army with a new double action revolver chambered for the much smaller
.38 long Colt. Accounts have it that the new round repeatedly failed to stop
hopped up Moro warriors who were able to get in close to lop off the heads
of undergunned U.S. servicemen. Hundreds of 1873 model .45 Peacemaker Single
Action revolvers were hastily pressed back into service and the legend of
the 45 as a reliable man stopper was rekindled.
wonder then that the Philippine Reservation should be given a top billing
status at the 1904 St Louis World's Fair.