Legarda, Benito, 1853-1915

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Benito Legarda y Tuason (September 27, 1853 – August 27, 1915) was a Filipino legislator who was a member of the Philippine Commission of the American colonial Insular Government, the government's legislature, and later a Resident Commissioner from the Philippine Islands to the United States Congress.

Born ion Binondo, Manila, Philippines, Legarda attended the Ateneo de Manila University and matriculated to the University of Santo Tomas, also in Manila, where he graduated with a law degree in 1874. He was an adept businessman, founding the Germinal cigar factory and making a fortune in the tobacco and alcohol industries. In the midst of his lucrative business career, which made him one of the wealthiest men in the Philippines, Legarda won election to the municipal council of Manila and served as lieutenant mayor of the Quiapo District in 1891. With the American occupation of the islands in February 1898, Legarda drifted away from the objectives of his more radical counterparts in the revolutionary congress, siding with the Americans.

He started his political life as a member of President Emilio Aguinaldo's cabinet at Malolos and vice president of the Filipino Congress. He later became a member of the Philippine Commission 1901 and was elected as a Resident Commissioner to the Sixtieth and to the two succeeding Congresses (November 22, 1907 - March 3, 1912). He was not a candidate for renomination to the Sixty-third Congress in 1912, in large part due to opposition to his candidacy from the Philippine Assembly.

Following his congressional service, Legarda spent the rest of his life away from the Philippines, working alongside Europe’s moneyed interests to bolster the islands’ agricultural bank, which he called “my life work.” On August 27, 1915, while in the town of Évian-les-Bains along Lake Geneva in western France, Legarda died suddenly. His remains were buried in his native Manila.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn William H. Taft Papers, 1784-1973, (bulk 1880-1930) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aguinaldo, Emilio, 1869-1964 person
associatedWith Philippines. President (1899-1901 : Aguinaldo) corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Santo Tomás corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Malolos 03 PH
Manila NCR PH
Évian-les-Bains 84 FR
Federal Government Official
Local government officials
Representatives, U.S. Congress


Birth 1853-09-27

Death 1915-08-27




Spanish; Castilian,



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