Romblon ,, is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. It lies south of Marinduque and Quezon, east of Mindoro, north of Aklan and Capiz, and west of Masbate. Its capital is also named Romblon. According the May 2010 Philippine census, it has a total population of 283,930 people.
The province of Romblon is composed of three larger islands; Romblon Island at the center where the provincial capital is located, Tablas Island to the west, and Sibuyan Island to the east. It also includes the smaller islands of Banton, Maestro de Campo, Simara, Carabao, Carlota and Isabel.
Romblon's early inhabitants were the Negritos from Panay and Mangyan tribes from Mindoro. Ancient wooden coffins discovered in caves of Banton Island in 1936 signify a rich ancient civilization and culture in the province before the arrival of the Spaniards. These artifacts are currently in display at the National Museum in Manila.
The Aetas (locally known as “Ati” or “Ita”) were believed to have descended from the “Orang Asli” native aboriginal people of the Malay Peninsula who came to the Philippines as its first settlers. According to traditions, they crossed by land from Southeast Asia during Paleolithic Period, as the Philippine archipelago was once thought to have been connected to the Asian continent by a causeway of rock, over which the Aetas crossed. This land bridge model of migration was propounded by H. Otley Beyer, founder of the Anthropology Department of the University of the Philippines. It has since been supplanted by other models of migration to the Philippines.
When the National Census under the American Administration was conducted in 1918, both Aetas and Mangyanes were still present and inhabiting the interior of central and southern Tablas (highlands of San Agustin, San Andres & Odioñgan), Carabao Island and the mountains of Sibuyan Island.
When the land bridges sank beneath the sea between 200 B.C. and 400 A.D., the next wave of migrants, the Malay, arrived from the medieval Hindu Kingdoms of Sri-Vishayan and the later Majapahit Empire, settling specifically in the Visayan Islands including the Romblon group of islands. Hence, the word “Visayan” or “Visayas” and “Bisaya” was derived from the word “Vishayan” from Sri-Vishayan Empire, whose subjects settled permanently in the fertile lowlands of its numerous islands. They drove the dark-skinned Aetas further up the hills and deeper into the forest. As they came in large outrigger boats called balanghays, which carried whole families or villages, their new settlements came to be known as balanghay and later Barangay. Ninety-eight percent of today’s people in Romblon are descended from this basic Malay stock, with an admixture of other racial strains of later colonizers.
Some Malays of the same stock and origin as their lowland counterparts choose to live in the forest in order to avoid forced conversion to Christianity and in paying tributes. Early local government persuaded and convinced some of these pagan tribes mostly found living in the interior of Tablas, the mountains of Sibuyan and the island of Carabao to submit them selves to the authority of the Spanish government and convert to Catholic religion. Remnants of these indigenous people who are called Mangyans, Mangyanes or May-as could still be found in the interior of Sibuyan Island.
Dispatched by Governor Miguel López de Legazpi, Spanish conquistador Martin de Goiti explored the western and northern Visayan Islands including Romblon Islands and Mindoro in late 1569. With a force of 300 Spanish soldiers, cavalrymen and several local natives, they conquered every native village and established many Spanish settlements in the area that were organized into encomiendas.
Legend has it that when Martin de Goiti’s expedition landed on the southern coastal tip of Romblon Island at Sitio Aglumyom sometime in late 1569, his men wandered along the beaches searching for food and water. One of his men saw a low built hut and feeling thirsty, he sought the owner of the hut only to find in his surprise a hen’s nest settled somewhere on top of the post near a window. The Castellan upon noticing the house occupant sitting nearby asked if he could get the chicken free. A young woman, not understanding a single word he was saying as he pointed to the hen, answered in the vernacular “nagalumyom”, which meant that the hen was brooding some eggs. Perplexed, the Spaniard left the hut muttering in disgust the word “nagalumyom”. Asked upon his return to the ship where he came from, he mockingly answered “nagalumyom”. When the Iberian left, they named the island “Nagalumyom” which later was corrupted to “Lomlom” and later, officially to “Donblon”, the name mentioned and reported by Miguel de Loarca in 1582, until it finally morphed into its present name Romblon to suit the Spaniards pronunciation. Similarly, the place where this incident happened was named “Aglumyom” from the same word “Nagalumyom”.
The earliest encomiendas established in what is now Romblon Province were Island of Banton and Marinduque to Don Pedro de Mena established on October 31, 1571; Donblon (Romblon) to Don Gonzalo Riquel established on April 24, 1571; Tablas Island being part of an Encomienda together with the island of Çibuyan (Sibuyan) and settlements along the creek of Maharlu or Mahalud in Panay Island to Don Alvaro de Angulo established on November 2, 1571. These encomiendas were under the jurisdiction of the province of Panay.
The first census was done in 1582 by Spanish navigator Don Miguel Lopez de Loarca, who mentioned Tablas (Flanks) Island or Osigan its original name, after he visited the place. He placed the population of Tablas at 250 souls, mostly living in a small village (Cabolutan) and surviving by gathering wax. Çibuyan (Sibuyan) had 300 pintados, native painted “tattooed” Indians, and plenty of gold. Simara or Cabras (goats in Spanish) had 150 inhabitants who lived by raising goats. Banton had 200 pintado residents who were mostly engaged in trading because the island is not fertile, very rocky and mountainous, though it abounds in coconut, sweet potatoes, yam and wax as for its other products. Romblon had 240 residents engaged in wax gathering. Anbil (Hambil) or the present day Carabao Island had 50 Indios who were boat builders or cagallanes in Spanish.
In 1618, the province of Panay was subdivided into three judicial districts: the Alcaldia-mayor of Arevalo or Ogtong (Oton), the Corregiemento of Negros, and the Corregiemento of Panay and Aclan. Romblon Islands belonged to the later. However, in 1658, Romblon and Banton’s jurisdiction were transferred to the newly created province of Catanduanes, only to be returned back to Panay ten years later. 
Politico-military commandancia de Romblon
On March 19, 1853, Romblon became a Politico-Military Commandancia and sub-province of Capiz, with only four municipalities or pueblos: Pueblo de Romblon, the Capital town established as pueblo in 1631 during the term of Las Islas Filipinas Spanish Governor-General Juan Niño de Tabora, Banton in 1622, Sibuyan (Cajidiocan) established in 1744, and Looc which was established in 1844.
Two years later, in 1855, 17 new pueblos (equivalent to present-day municipalities) were added: Guintiguian (San Agustin), Simara (Corcuera), Odioñgan, Andagao (Calatrava), Parpagoja (San Andres), Tingaray (Ferrol), Catolog (Magsaysay, Santa Fe), Cabalian (Sitio Cabalian, Agmanic, Sta. Fe), Saban (Sitio Sabang, Danao Norte, Sta. Fe), Lauan (Alcantara), Guinbirayan, Cauit (Azagra, San Fernando), Pagalad (San Fernando), Magallanes (Magdiwang), España, Isabel (Cambalo), and Princesa (Cangumba).
The first executive of the Political-Military Command of Romblon was Don Ramon Vieytes, followed by Don Joaquin de Prat and Don Joaquin Vidal. When Romblon became a regular province in 1868, its first Spanish Military Governor and Commandant of Politico-Military province was Don Joaquin Corillo, installed since 1866. Corillo reorganized the local municipal government into 7 pueblos: Romblon, Badajoz (formerly Guintiguian, now San Agustin), Banton, Corcuera, Looc, Cajidiocan, and Azagra (San Fernando). He also established one missionary center named mision de Magallanes (Magdiwang) and the semi-autonomous visita de Concepcion, administered from pueblo de Banton. Four more pueblos were restored or created before the end of Spanish rule, namely Odiongan, Santa Fe, Despujols (San Andres), and España.
The most feared Military Governor of Romblon who reigned from 1880 to 1883 was Don Jose Fernandez de Terran who was previously assigned in Leyte prior to his assignment as Military Governor of Romblon. He was most remembered because of his tyranny and cruelty among his people that greatly affected their lives of these early inhabitants.
Beginning in 1893, the title of provincial executive was changed into Governador de Politico Militares. The last executive was Don Carlos de Mendoza y Cerra who was installed briefly from 1897 until 1898, when local Spanish authorities in the province finally surrendered to the revolutionary forces of the Visayas organized in the province under the command of Lt. Adriano Rios, a native Sibuyanon from visita de San Fernando in pueblo Azagra, Romblon.
Civil government was established under American colonial rule on March 16, 1901. Romblon was divided into 11 new municipalities. But on July 15, 1907, the province of Romblon was abolished and incorporated to the province of Capiz as a sub-province due to insufficient income. Concepcion however was separated from the rest of the province and incorporated into the province of Mindoro.
In 1917, Romblon was reestablished as a separate province by Philippine Act No. 2724. It was returned under the control of Capiz during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. On January 1, 1947, following the liberation of the Philippines, the regular provincial status of Romblon was restored.