Pre-Hispanic to Spanish Colonial Period
The present Makati City has its roots as a pre-Hispanic settlement in the swamplands near Pasig River led by Lakan Tagkan and his wife Bouan. Don Manuel Lopez de Legaspi, founder of Manila and the first Governor General of the Philippines discovered the area and was told that the river’s tide was ebbing by the residents – “Makati na, Kumati na.” Legaspi thought this was the response to his query as to what the place is called. The settlement was renamed San Pedro de Makati after its patron saint. A visita of Santa Ana de Sapa, Makati was under the jurisdiction of the Franciscan friars from 1600-1700. Two (2) of the earliest Catholic churches – Nuestra Señora de Gracia in Guadalupe and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul – are located in Makati. In 1890, San Pedro de Makati was decreed a public town of Manila.
American Commonwealth Period
After the Americans took over the control of the island of Luzon from the Spaniards at the turn of the 20th century, San Pedro de Makati was incorporated into the province of Rizal under Commonwealth Act No. 137 in June 11, 1901. In the same year, the Americans established Fort William McKinley as a military reservation. In 1902, the Americans described the town as “a pueblo on the south shore of Pasig River,” known for a “resort for convalescents,” with a population of 3,921. A year later, a town administrator was installed to supervise community affairs. San Pedro de Makati remained a third-class agricultural town wherein the primary means of livelihood came from the cultivation of rice and horse fodder. In 1914, Philippine Legislature Act No. 2390 shortened the name of the town to its present name of Makati. During the birth of commercial aviation before the Second World War, Nielson Airport opened in what is now the Ayala Triangle, the first airport in the country.
Post-Second World War to the Present
A master-planned mixed-use community was established in the 1950s in Makati. Makati in the 1970s was a financial and commercial center and part of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila). Makati became a City with the enactment of Republic Act No. 7854 and a plebiscite approval in 1995 during the term of former Mayor Jejomar C. Binay—now the Vice President of the country. Makati has been described as a City of three areas: the Central Business District, the Old Town or Poblacion area, and the Fort Bonifacio area.