Pampanga was the first province and the richest spoil created by the Spaniards in 1571. It was named after the Indung Kapampangan River, the largest river in the former empire. Ancient Pampanga's territorial area used to include portions of the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales in the big Island of Luzon of the Philippine Archipelago.
Pampanga, one of the richest provinces in the Philippines, was re-organized as a province by the Spaniards on December 11, 1571. For governmental control and taxation purposes, the Spanish authorities subdivided Pampanga into towns (pueblos), which were further subdivided into districts (barrios) and in some cases into royal and private estates (encomiendas).
The province of Pampanga is composed of many religious groups but it is predominantly Roman Catholic. Pampanga province is also known to be the main seat of the Members Church of God International known to its religious program in television and radio Ang Dating Daan. Other religious groups are Iglesia Ni Cristo, Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus, Jesus Is Lord Church, Seventh-day Adventist, Evangelicals, Islam, Aglipayan, Jesus Miracle Crusade and many other religious groups.
Farming and fishing are the two main industries of the province. Major products include rice, corn, sugar cane, and tilapia. In addition to farming and fishing, the province also supports thriving cottage industries that specialize in wood carving, furniture-making, guitars, and handicrafts. Every year during the Christmas season, the province of Pampanga becomes the center of a thriving industry centered on handcrafted lighted lanterns called “parols” that displays a kaleidoscope of light and color. Other industries include its casket industry and the manufacturing of all Purpose Vehicles present in the Municipality of Sto. Tomas.