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Misamis Oriental used to be a part of Cebu. In 1818, it became a "Corregimento" made up of four "Partidos" or divisions; namely, Partido de Misamis, Partido de Dapitan, Partido de Cagayan and Partido de Catarman. During the latter part of the 19th century, Misamis was one of the six districts of Mindanao, and later, one of the seven districts in Mindanao and Sulu at the close of the Spanish era with Cagayan de Misamis, (now Cagayan de Oro), as its capital. When it was still a part of the district of Cebu, there were twelve Spaniards and nine Filipinos who successively served as "Governadore" with Mayor Carabello as the first governor in 1874.

Legislative Act. No. 3537, approved in November 2, 1929, divided the province of Misamis into two provinces due to the lack of geographical contiguity: Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental. However, it was not until ten years later that the division was implemented by an amendment, Act. No. 3777, adopted on November 28, 1939. When Misamis Oriental became a separate province, Don Gregorio Pelaez was its first governor. Since then, there were fourteen past governors who were elected and appointed by operation of law.

In 1942, the occupation by the Japanese soldiers landed in Misamis Oriental.

In 1945, combined United States and Philippine Commonwealth forces liberated in the province of Misamis Oriental with the recognized guerrilla fighters against the Japanese Imperial forces during the World War II.
The earliest known settlers of the territory were the Negritos. Centuries later, Austronesian colonists fought the natives for the control of the rich Cagayan River coastal plains. The struggle for possession has finally won the native Visayans over the Bukidnons. In the 1500s most of the Mindanao area had fallen under the Muslim and the inhabitants were converted into Islam. As part of Mindanao, the people of the territory were obliged to pay tribute to the Muslim rule.


The name "Misamis" comes from the word "kuyamis," a local variety of sweet coconut. The province's original inhabitants were the Bukidnons and the Manobos but they were driven into the interior when Visayas settlers arrives. Misamis used to be a part of the diocese of Cebu. In 1818, it became a corregimento comprised of four divisions: Misamis, including Iligan, Dapitan, Cagayan, and Catarman, on the island of Camiguin. In 1850, it included Bukidnon and the northern part of Cotabato. 

At the close of the Spanish era, Misamis constituted one of the seven districts of Mindanao. On November 2, 1929, Legislative Act No. 3537 divided Misamis into two provinces. However, it was not until November 28, 1939 that the division was formally implemented under Act No. 3777.

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