Tarlac's name is a Hispanized derivation from a talahib weed called "Malatarlak". Tarlac was originally a part of the provinces of Pampanga andPangasinan. It was the last province in Central Luzon to be organized under the Spanish administration in 1874.
During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, Tarlac was among the first eight provinces to rise against Spain. It became the new seat of the first Philippine Republic on March 1899 when General Emilio Aguinaldo abandoned the former capital, Malolos, Bulacan. This lasted only for a month before the seat was moved to Nueva Ecija in Aguinaldo's attempt to elude the pursuing Americans.
On October 23, 1899, Gregorio Aglipay, military vicar general of the revolutionary forces, called the Filipino clergy to a conference in Paniqui. There, they drafted the constitution of the Philippine Independent Church. They called for the Filipinization of the clergy, which eventually led to a separation from the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines.
Tarlac was captured by American forces on November 1899. A civil government was established in the province in 1901.
During World War II, Camp O'Donnell in Capas became the terminal point of the infamous Bataan Death March of Filipino and American soldiers who surrendered at Bataan on April 9, 1942. Many prisoners died of hunger or execution. The general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was established from 1942 to 1946 and the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was founding again from 1944 to 1946 and military stationed in the province of Tarlac and some parts in Central Luzon due to Japanese Occupation. Local troops of the Philippine Commonwealth Army units has sending the clearing military operations in the province of Tarlac and Central Luzon from 1942 to 1945 and aided them by the recognized guerrilla groups including Hukbalahap Communist fighters and attacking Japanese Imperial forces. But in the aftermath, some local guerrilla resistance fighters and Hukbahalap groups are became retreating Imperial Japanese troops around the province and before the liberation from the Allied forces.
In early 1945, combined American and Filipino military forces with the recognized Aringay Command guerillas liberated Camp O'Donnell. The Raid at Capas resulted in the rescue of American, Filipino and other alliedPrisoners of War.
From January 20, 1945 to August 15, 1945, Tarlac was recaptured by combined Filipino and American troops together with the recognized guerrilla fighters against the Japanese Imperial forces during the liberation and beginning for the Battle of Tarlac.
In the early 1950s, Tarlac became a hotbed for the Hukbalahap, a local communist movement headed by Benigno Aquino, Sr., father of the late Ninoy Aquino. It was initially suppressed but resurfaced in 1965.
The province is situated at the center of the central plains of Luzon, landlocked by four provinces: Pampanga on the south,Nueva Ecija on the east, Pangasinan on the north, and Zambales on the west. Approximately 75% of the province is plains while the rest is hilly to mountainous.
Like the rest of Central Luzon, the province has two distinct seasons: dry from November to April and wet for the rest of the year. It is the coldest province in the region, with an average of 24 °C (75 °F).
Eastern Tarlac is a plain, while Western Tarlac is hilly to mountainous. Because of this, the province includes a large portion of mountains like Mt. Telakawa (Straw Hat Mountain), located at Capas, Tarlac. Mt. Bueno, Mt. Mor-Asia and Mt. Canouman are located also in Capas as well as Mt. Dalin. The other mountains are Mt. Dueg and Mt. Maasin, found in the municipality of San Clemente. Also noted are Mt. Papaac, Bacsay, Cayasan and Birbira of Camiling. The whole of Mayantoc and San Jose are mountainous so it is suitable for the highest natural resources and forest products in the province such as coal, iron, copper, vegetables, fruits, log fires, sand, rocks and forest animals such as wild boar and deer. The main water sources for agriculture include the Tarlac River at Tarlac City, the Lucong and Parua rivers in Concepcion, Tarlac, Sacobia Bamban River in Bamban and the Rio Chico in La Paz.
The economy of Tarlac is predominantly agricultural. Principal crops are rice and sugarcane. Other major crops are cornand coconut; vegetables such as eggplant, garlic, and onion; and fruit trees like mango, banana, and calamansi. It is among the biggest producers of rice and sugarcane.
Because the province is landlocked, its fish production is limited to fishponds but it has vast river systems and irrigation. On the Zambales boundary to its west, forest land provides timber for the logging industry. Mineral reserves such as manganese and iron can also be found along the western section.
Tarlac has its own rice and corn mills, sawmills and logging outfits. It has three sugar centrals. Other firms service agricultural needs such as fertilizer. Among its cottage industries, ceramics has become available because of the abundant supply of clay. Some of the major industries here involve making Chicharon and Iniruban in the municipality of Camiling,Ylang Ylang / Ilang-Ilang products of Anao and the Muscovado sugar products of Victoria. The province also boosts of sugar products in the Philippines. Tilapia production is also improving in Tarlac and is aiming to be the Tilapia capital of the Philippines.