Prior to European colonization, the Philippines had been an outpost of Southeast Asian kingdoms in various periods, the most notable of which was the Majapahit. In the fourteenth century, Islam, by way of Malaysia and Indonesia, had gained a foothold in many coastal regions of the Philippines, leading to a replay of Christian-Muslim conflicts when the Spaniards arrived in 1521. Spanish Christianity was successfully superimposed on the majority of the native cultures, except among interior tribal groups and the southern people of the Philippines. The end of the Spanish-American War brought the Philippines under United States control between 1899 and 1946. Throughout the American occupation, the southern part of the country remained Islamic, separatist in ideology, and hostile. Pacification tactics and containment differed little from those used previously by the Spaniards or those adopted later by the Marcos regime. The short Japanese occupation of the Philippines (1941-1945) left no significant imprint. During the Marcos regime considerable effort was exerted to align the Philippines with its Southeast Asian neighbors, but its cultural links to the West are profound. It is a Roman Catholic country, historically related to Latin America, that champions an American-style government and a public-school system directed toward mass education and modernization; the American experiment on Philippine soil was successful, if only briefly. Until the twentieth century the Chinese presence in the Philippines had been intermittent and confined to trading activities. Today Chinese constitute 2 percent of the population.