By extending the provisions of Act No. 83, otherwise known as The Provincial Government Act of 1901, the Philippine Commission created the Province of Bataan pursuant to Act No. 92 on March 2, 1901. Bataan is the fifth province created under Act No. 83, after Pampanga (Act No. 85), Pangasinan (Act No. 86), Tarlac (Act No. 87), and Bulacan (Act No. 88). The town of Balanga was designated as the capital (Section 5).
According to Bataan.gov.ph, the province known as Vatan during the Madjapahit Empire was already a progressive settlement long before 1571. The Spaniards who first set foot on the land reportedly came upon a population of about 2,000. In 1754, Governor General Pedro Manuel de Arandia created the Province of Bataan that included the “towns of Orion, Pilar, Balanga, Abucay, Samal, Orani, Hermosa, and Dinalupihan, towns of the province of Pampanga. Mariveles, with its barrios of Bagac and Morong, was also included in the province, thus abolishing the old district (corregimiento) of Mariveles. And Maragondon which originally belonged to this district, was incorporated into the province of Cavite.”
Arguably, Bataan saw more bloodshed and atrocities than any other Philippine provinces. The War Plan Orange 3 called for the stiffest defensive position in Bataan Peninsula. The Fall of Bataan meant the battle was all over and four years of nightmares have just begun. The infamous Bataan Death March left an indelible memory of how the gallant Filipino-American forces was further humiliated, abused, and brutalized.
After the Liberation, the Capitol, already one of the oldest provincial government buildings, was rehabilitated. Like the provincial capitols of Surigao del Norte, Batanes, and Abra, it was rebuilt with the aid of the people of the United States of America under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 (Tydings War Damage Act).