Zamboanga City, officially the City of Zamboanga, (Chavacano: Ciudad de Zamboanga, Filipino: Lungsod ng Zamboanga), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 861,799 people.
It is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines. It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. Zamboanga City is an independent, chartered city and was designated highly urbanized on November 22, 1983.
Zamboanga City used to be known as Samboangan in historical records. The settlement was founded by the Subanen people during pre-Hispanic times and was the site of trade among the Chinese, Malays and different native ethnic groups around the area. It was in 1635 when construction began on what is now known as Fort Pilar. Following independence from Spain, Zamboanga declared it to be the Republic of Zamboanga, which lasted briefly until 1903. After American armed intervention, Zamboanga was incorporated into their Philippines colony and became the capital of the Moro Province, now Mindanao, from 1903 to 1913. On October 12, 1936, Zamboanga City became a chartered city under Commonwealth Act No. 39. It was inaugurated on February 26, 1937, which was declared a local holiday.
The name for the city (and later the peninsula), "Zamboanga", is the Hispanicized spelling of the Sinama term for "mooring place" - samboangan (also spelled sambuangan; and in Subanen, sembwangan), from the root word samboang ("mooring pole"). The name "Samboangan" is well-attested in Spanish, British, French, German, and American historical records from as far back as the 17th century.
This is commonly contested by folk etymologies which instead attribute the name to the Indonesian word jambangan (claimed to mean "place of flowers", but actually means "pot" or "bowl"), usually with claims that all ethnic groups in Zamboanga were "Malays". However, this name has never been attested in any historical records prior to the 1960s.
The overall topography of the city could be described as rolling to very steep. There are some flat lands, mostly narrow strips along the east coast. The urban center is mostly flat with a gentle slope to the interior, ranging from 0 to 3%. The highest registered elevation is 1,200 metres. In terms of slope, a large portion of Zamboanga City, about 38,000 hectares, have slopes ranging from 18 to 30%. Another 26,000 hectares have been described as having slopes pf less than 3% while about 37% of the area or a total of 52,000 hectares have slopes ranging from 30% to more than 50%.
The territorial jurisdiction of the city includes the islands of big and small Sta. Cruz, Tictabon, Sacol, Manalipa, Tumalutap, Vitali, as well as other numerous islands. The total land area of the city is recorded to be 142,099.99 hectares or 1,420.99 kilometers. This does not include the area of about 25 other islands within the territorial jurisdiction of the city — which have an aggregate area of 6,248.5 hectares as verified by the Office of the City Engineer. Putting these all together, the city’s new total land area would come to 148,338.49 hectares.
Like the Christians, the Muslims have also been an integral part of Zamboanga City after Pagans and Animists. It is estimated that approximately 25% of the people in Zamboanga City are sunni, traditional and folk Muslims mostly belong to the Sama and Badjao. Some barangays of Zamboanga City today are now populated by 100% Muslims due to migration from people of Sulu who are mostly Tausug. These barangays with Muslim majority population, do not celebrate Fiestas. Instead, they celebrate Hari Raya (the eid celebration). However, Christians in the area do celebrate their Barrio's Patron Saint. Most of the Muslims are Sama and Migrant Tausug of Sulu, and of other ethnicities including Tagalog, Zamboangueño, Yakan, and Badjao people.
The city received its own representation for the Philippine Congress in 1984 when the Regular Batasang Pambansa was convened. Previously, Zamboanga City was part of the representation of the Zamboanga Province from 1935 to 1953, of Zamboanga del Sur from 1953 to 1972 and of Region IX from 1978 to 1984.
The former lone congressional district was further divided into two separate districts: the West Coast District from the City Proper to Barangay Limpapa represented by Congressman Celso Lobregat, while in the East Coast District from Barangay Tetuán to Barangay Licomo is represented by Congressman Manuel Jose "Mannix" Dalipe.
The city of Zamboanga is composed of more than 774,407 people since 2007. Under the Republic Act No. 9269, Zamboanga City is qualified to have a third district representative in the House of Representatives.
There are several medical centres and hospitals in Zamboanga. The Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center is regarded as one of the largest and most modern in the region likened to the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig, Bonifacio Global City. The Zamboanga City Medical Center is the largest medical facility in Zamboanga Peninsula in terms of bed capacity. The hospital was founded in 1918 as the Zamboanga City General Hospital. The Brent Hospital and Colleges, Inc. was founded on February 2, 1914 by Charles Henry Brent, the first Protestant Episcopal missionary bishop in the Philippines. Today, it operates a school within its compound, offering nursing and allied health courses.
The Zamboanga City Red Cross chapter was established on June 17, 1946, known originally as Zamboanga City Chapter. The original Zamboanga City Chapter comprised the city of Zamboanga and the 3 provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.