Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sultan Mahamad Alimudin of Sulu - renamed by Spaniards as Ferdinand I

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Philippine Islands, by John Foreman

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Title: The Philippine Islands
Author: John Foreman

An interesting event in the Spanish-Sulu history is the visit of the Sultan Mahamad Alimudin to the Gov.-General in 1750, and his subsequent vicissitudes of fortune. The first royal despatch addressed by the King of Spain to the Sultan of Sulu was dated in Buen Retiro, July 12, 1744, and everything, for the time being, seemed to augur a period of peace.

In 1749, however, the Sultan was violently deposed by an ambitious brother, Prince Bantilan, and the Sultan forthwith went to Manila to seek the aid of his suzerainʼs delegate, the Gov.-General of the Philippines, who chanced to be the Bishop of Nueva Segovia. In Manila the Priest-Governor cajoled his guest with presents, and accompanied him on horseback and on foot, with the design of persuading him to renounce his religion in favour of Christianity.

The Sultan finally yielded, and avowed his intention to receive baptism. Among the friars an animated discussion ensued as to the propriety of this act, special opposition being raised by the Jesuits; but in the end the Sultan, with a number of his suite, outwardly embraced the Christian faith. The Sultan at his baptism received the name of Ferdinand I. of Sulu; at the same time he was invested with the insignia and grade of a Spanish Lieut.-General. Great ceremonies and magnificent feasts followed this unprecedented incident. He was visited and congratulated by all the élite of the capital. By proclamation, the festivities included four daysʼ illumination, three daysʼ procession of the giants,4 three days of bull-fighting, four nights of fireworks, and three nights of comedy, to terminate with High Mass, a Te Deum, and special sermon for the occasion.

In the meantime, the Sultan had requested the Governor to have the Crown Prince, Princesses, and retainers escorted to Manila to learn Spanish manners and customs, and on their arrival the Sultan and his male and female suite numbered 60 persons. The Bishop-Governor defrayed the cost of their maintenance out of his private purse until after the baptism, and thenceforth the Government supported them in Manila for two years. At length it was resolved, according to appearances, to restore the Sultan Ferdinand I. to his throne. With that idea, he and his retinue quitted Manila in the Spanish frigate San Fernando, which was convoyed by another frigate and a galley, until the San Fernando fell in with bad weather off Mindoro Island, and had to make the Port of Calapan. Thence he proceeded to Yloilo, where he changed vessel and set sail for Zamboanga, but contrary winds carried him to Dapítan (N.W. coast of Mindanao Is.), where he landed and put off again in a small Visayan craft for Zamboanga, arriving there on July 12, 1751. Thirteen days afterwards the San Fernando, which had been repaired, reached Zamboanga also.

Before Ferdinand I. left Manila he had (at the instance of the Spanish Gov.-General, José de Obando, 1750–54) addressed a letter to Sultan Muhamad Amirubdin, of Mindanao. The original was written by Ferdinand I. in Arabic; a version in Spanish was dictated by him, and both were signed by him. These documents reached the Governor of Zamboanga by the San Fernando, but he had the original in Arabic retranslated, and found that it did not at all agree with the Sultanʼs Spanish rendering. The translation of the Arabic runs thus:—

“I shall be glad to know that the Sultan Muhamad Amirubdin and all his chiefs, male and female, are well. I do not write a lengthy letter, as I intended, because I simply wish to give you to understand, in case the Sultan or his chiefs and others should feel aggrieved at my writing this letter in this manner, that I do so under pressure, being under foreign dominion, and I am compelled to obey whatever they tell me to do, and I have to say what they tell me to say. Thus the Governor has ordered me to write to you in our style and language; therefore, do not understand that I am writing you on my own behalf, but because I am ordered to do so, and I have nothing more to add. Written in the year 1164 on the ninth day of the Rabilajer Moon, Ferdinand I., King of Sulu, who seals with his own seal.”

This letter was pronounced treasonable. Impressed with, or feigning, this idea, the Spaniards saw real or imaginary indications of a design on the part of the Sultan to throw off the foreign yoke at the first opportunity. All his acts were thus interpreted, although no positive proof was manifest, and the Governor communicated his suspicions to Manila. There is no explanation why the Spaniards detained the Sultan at Zamboanga, unless with the intention of trumping up accusations against him. The Sultan arrived there on July 12, and nothing was known of the discrepancy between the letters until after July 25. To suppose that the Sultan could ever return to reign peacefully as a Christian over Mahometan subjects was utterly absurd to any rational mind.

On August 3 the Sultan, his sons, vassals, and chiefs were all cast into prison, without opposition, and a letter was despatched, dated August 6, 1751, to the Governor in Manila, stating the cause. The Sultan was the first individual arrested, and he made no difficulty about going to the fort. Even the Prince Asin, the Sultanʼs brother, who had voluntarily come from Sulu in apparent good faith with friendly overtures to the Spaniards, was included among the prisoners. The reason assigned was, that he had failed to surrender christian captives as provided.

The prisoners, besides the Sultan, were the following, viz.:—

•Four sons of the Sultan.
•Prince Asin (brother).
•Prince Mustafá (son-in-law).
•Princess Panguian Banquiling (sister).
•Four Princesses (daughters).
•Datto Yamudin (a noble).
•160 ordinary male and female retainers.
•Five brothers-in-law.
•One Mahometan Cherif.
•Seven Mahometan priests.
•Concubines with 32 female servants.

The political or other crime (if any) attributed to these last is not stated, nor why they were imprisoned. The few weapons brought, according to custom, by the followers of the Sultan who had come from Sulu to receive their liege-lord and escort him back to his country, were also seized.

A decree of Gov.-General José de Obando set forth the following accusations against the prisoners, viz.:—
(1) That Prince Asin had not surrendered captives.
(2) That whilst the Sultan was in Manila, new captives were made by the
party who expelled him from the throne. (
(3) That the number of arms brought to Zamboanga by Sulu chiefs was
(4) That the letter to Sultan Muhamad Amirubdin insinuated help wanted
against the Spaniards.
(5) That several Mahometan, but no christian books were found in the
Sultanʼs baggage.
(6) That during the journey to Zamboanga he had refused to pray in
christian form.
(7) That he had only attended Mass twice.
(8) That he had celebrated Mahometan rites, sacrificing a goat; and had
given evidence in a hundred ways of being a Mahometan. (9) That his
conversation generally denoted a want of attachment to the Spaniards,
and a contempt for their treatment of him in Manila,5 and, (10) that
he still cohabited with his concubines, contrary to christian usage.

The greatest stress was laid on the recovery of the captive Christians, and the Gov.-General admitted that although the mission of the fleet was to restore the Sultan to the throne (which, by the way, does not appear to have been attempted), the principal object was the rescue of christian slaves. He therefore proposed that the liberty of the imprisoned nobles and chiefs should be bartered at the rate of 500 christian slaves for each one of the chiefs and nobles, and the balance of the captives for Prince Asin and the clergy. One may surmise, from this condition, that the number of Christians in captivity was very considerable.

A subsequent decree, dated in Manila December 21, 1751, ordered the extermination of the Mahometans with fire and sword; the fitting out of Visayan corsairs, with authority to extinguish the foe, burn all that was combustible, destroy the crops, desolate their cultivated land, make captives, and recover christian slaves. One-fifth of the spoil (the Real quinto) was to belong to the King, and the natives were to be exempt from the payment of tribute whilst so engaged.

Before giving effect to such a terrible, but impracticable resolution, it was thought expedient to publish a pamphlet styled a “Historical Manifest,” in which the Gov.-General professed to justify his acts for public satisfaction. However, public opinion in Manila was averse to the intended warfare, so to make it more popular, the Governor abolished the payment of one-fifth of the booty to the King. An appeal was made to the citizens of Manila for arms and provisions to carry on the campaign; they therefore lent or gave the following, viz.:—Twenty-six guns, 13 bayonets, 3 sporting guns, 15 carbines, 5 blunderbusses, 7 braces of pistols, 23 swords, 15 lances, 900 cannon balls, and 150 pesos from Spaniards, and a few lances and 188 pesos from natives.

Meanwhile, Prince Asin died of grief at his position.

Under the leadership of the Maestre de Campo of Zamboanga, hostilities commenced. With several ships he proceeded to Sulu, carrying a large armament and 1,900 men. When the squadron anchored off Sulu, a white and a red flag were hoisted from the principal fort, for the Spaniards to elect either peace or war. Several Sulus approached the fleet with white flags, to inquire for the Sultan. Evasive answers were given, followed by a sudden cannonade.

No good resulted to the Spaniards from the attack, for the Sulus defended themselves admirably. Tawi Tawi Island was next assaulted. A captain landed there with troops, but their retreat was cut off and they were all slain. The Commander of the expedition was so discouraged that he returned to Zamboanga and resigned. Pedro Gastambide then took command, but after having attacked Basílan Island fruitlessly, he retired to Zamboanga. The whole campaign was an entire fiasco. It was a great mistake to have declared a war of extermination without having the means to carry it out. The result was that the irate Sulus organized a guerilla warfare, by sea and by land, against all Christians, to which the Spaniards but feebly responded. The “tables were turned.” In fact, they were in great straits, and, wearied at the little success of their arms, endless councils and discussions were held in the capital.

Meanwhile, almost every coast of the Archipelago was energetically ravaged. Hitherto the Spaniards had only had the Sulus to contend with, but the licence given by the Gov.-General to reprisal excited the cupidity of unscrupulous officials, and, without apparent right or reason, the Maestre de Campo of Zamboanga caused a Chinese junk from Amoy, carrying goods to a friendly Sultan of Mindanao, to be seized. After tedious delay, vexation, and privation, the master and his crew were released and a part of the cargo restored, but the Maestre de Campo insisted upon retaining what he chose for his own use. This treachery to an amicable chief exasperated and undeceived the Mindanao Sultan to such a degree that he forthwith took his revenge by co-operating with the Sulus in making war on the Spaniards. Fresh fleets of armed canoes replenished the Sulu armadillas, ravaged the coasts, hunted down the Spanish priests, and made captives.

On the north coast of Mindanao several battles took place. There is a legend that over 600 Mahometans advanced to the village of Lubungan, but were repulsed by the villagers, who declared their patron, Saint James, appeared on horseback to help them. Fray Roque de Santa Mónica was chased from place to place, hiding in caves and rocks. Being again met by four Mahometans, he threatened them with a blunderbuss, and was left unmolested. Eventually he was found by friendly natives, and taken by them to a wood, where he lived on roots. Thence he journeyed to Linao, became raving mad, and was sent to Manila, where he died quite frantic, in the convent of his Order.

The Sultan and his fellow-prisoners had been conveyed to Manila and lodged in the Fortress of Santiago. In 1753 he petitioned the Gov.-General to allow his daughter, the Princess Faatima, and two slaves to go to Sulu about his private affairs. A permit was granted on condition of her returning, or, in exchange for her liberty and that of her two slaves, to remit 50 captives, and, failing to do either, the Sultan and his suite were to be deprived of their dignities and treated as common slaves, to work in the galleys, and to be undistinguished among the ordinary prisoners. On these conditions, the Princess left, and forwarded 50 slaves, and one more—a Spaniard, José de Montesinos—as a present.

The Princess Faatima, nevertheless, did return to Manila, bringing with her an Ambassador from Prince Bantilan, her uncle and Governor of Sulu, who, in the meantime, had assumed the title of Sultan Mahamad Miududin. The Ambassador was Prince Mahamad Ismael Datto Marayalayla. After an audience with the Governor, he went to the fort to consult with the captive Sultan, and they proposed a treaty with the Governor, of which the chief terms were as follows, viz.:—

An offensive and defensive alliance.

All captives within the Sultanate of Sulu to be surrendered within one year.

All articles looted from the churches to be restored within one year.

On the fulfilment of these conditions, the Sultan and his people were to be set at liberty.

The treaty was dated in Manila March 3, 1754. The terms were quite impossible of accomplishment, for the Sultan, being still in prison, had no power to enforce commands on his subjects.

The war was continued at great sacrifice to the State and with little benefit to the Spaniards, whilst their operations were greatly retarded by discord between the officials of the expedition, the authorities on shore, and the priests. At the same time, dilatory proceedings were being taken against the Maestre de Campo of Zamboanga, who was charged with having appropriated to himself othersʼ share of the war booty. Siargao Island (off the N.E. point of Mindanao Is.) had been completely overrun by the Mahometans; the villages and cultivated land were laid waste, and the Spanish priest was killed.

When the Governor Pedro de Arandia arrived in 1754, the Sultan took advantage of the occasion to put his case before him. He had, indeed, experienced some of the strangest mutations of fortune, and Arandia had compassion on him. By Arandiaʼs persuasion, the Archbishop visited and spiritually examined him, and then the Sultan confessed and took the Communion. In the College of Santa Potenciana there was a Mahometan woman who had been a concubine of the Sultan, but who now professed Christianity, and had taken the name of Rita Calderon. The Sultanʼs wife having died, he asked for this ex-concubine in marriage, and the favour was conceded to him. The nuptials were celebrated in the Governorʼs Palace on April 27, 1755, and the espoused couple returned to their prison with an allowance of 50 pesos per month for their maintenance.

In 1755 all the Sultanʼs relations and suite who had been incarcerated in Manila, except his son Ismael and a few chiefs, were sent back to Sulu. The Sultan and his chiefs were then allowed to live freely within the city of Manila, after having sworn before the Governor, on bended knees, to pay homage to him, and to remain peaceful during the Kingʼs pleasure. Indeed, Governor Arandia was so favourably disposed towards the Sultan Mahamad Alimudin (Ferdinand I.) that personally he was willing to restore him to his throne, but his wish only brought him in collision with the clergy, and he desisted.

The British, after the military occupation of Manila in 1763, took up the cause of the Sultan, and reinstated him in Sulu. Then he avenged himself on the Spaniards by fomenting incursions against them in Mindanao, which the Gov.-General, José Raon, was unable to oppose for want of resources. The Mahometans, however, soon proved their untrustworthiness to friend and foe alike. Their friendship lasted on the one side so long as danger could thereby be averted from the other, and a certain Datto Teng-teng attacked the British garrison one night at Balambangan and slaughtered all but six of the troops (vide pp. 92, 98).

In 1836 the sovereignty of the Sultan was distinctly recognized in a treaty made between him and Spain, whereby the Sultan had the right to collect dues on Spanish craft entering Joló, whilst Sulu vessels paid dues to the Spaniards in their ports as foreign vessels.

In 1844 Gov.-General Narciso Claveria led an expedition against the Moros and had a desperate, but victorious, struggle with them at the fort of Balanguigui (an islet 14 miles due east of Sulu Is.), for which he was rewarded with the title of Conde de Manila.

The town of Sulu (Joló) was formerly the residence of the Sultanʼs Court. This Sovereign had arrogantly refused to check the piratical cruisings made by his people against Spanish subjects in the locality and about the Islands of Calamianes; therefore, on February 11, 1851, General Antonio de Urbiztondo, Marquis de la Solana (an ex-Carlist chief), who had been appointed Gov.-General of the Philippines in the previous year, undertook to redress his nationʼs grievances by force. The Spanish flag was hoisted in several places. Sulu town, which was shelled by the gunboats, was captured and held by the invaders, and the Sultan Muhamed Pulalon fled to Maybun on the south coast, to which place the Court was permanently removed. At the close of this expedition another treaty was signed (1851), which provided for the annual payment of ₱1,500 to the Sultan and ₱600 each to three dattos, on condition that they would suppress piracy and promote mutual trade. Still the Mahometans paid the Spaniards an occasional visit and massacred the garrison, which was as often replaced by fresh levies.

In 1876 the incursions of the Mahometans and the temerity of the chiefs had again attained such proportions that European dominion over the Sulu Sultanate and Mindanao, even in the nominal form in which it existed, was sorely menaced. Consequent on this, an expedition, headed by Vice-Admiral Malcampo, arrived in the waters of the Sultanate, carrying troops, with the design of enforcing submission. The chief of the land forces appears to have had no topographical plan formed. The expedition turned out to be one of discovery. The troops were marched into the interior, without their officers knowing where they were going, and they even had to depend on Sulu guides. Naturally, they were often deceived, and led to precisely where the Mahometans were awaiting them in ambush, the result being that great havoc was made in the advance column by frequent surprises. Now and again would appear a few juramentados, or sworn Mahometans, who sought their way to Allah by the sacrifice of their own blood, but causing considerable destruction to the invading party. With a kris at the waist, a javelin in one hand, and a shield supported by the other, they would advance before the enemy, dart forward and backwards, make zigzag movements, and then, with a war-whoop, rush in three or four at a time upon a body of Christians twenty times their number, giving no quarter, expecting none—to die, or to conquer! The expedition was not a failure, but it gained little. The Spanish flag was hoisted in several places, including Sulu (Joló), where it remained from February 29, 1876, until the Spanish evacuation of the Islands in 1898.


The Mahometans (called by the Spaniards Moros) now extend over nine-tenths of Mindanao Island, and the whole of the Sultanate of Sulu, which comprises Sulu Island (34 miles long from E. to W., and 12 miles in the broadest part from N. to S.) and about 140 others, 80 to 90 of which are uninhabited.

The native population of the Sulu Sultanate alone would be about 100,000, including free people, slaves, and some 20,000 men-at-arms under orders of the Dattos.6 The domains of His Highness reach westward as far as Borneo, where, up to 25 years ago, the Sultanate of [141]Brunei7 was actually tributary (and now nominally so) to that of Sulu. The Sultan of Sulu is also feudal lord of two vassal Sultanates in Mindanao Island. There is, moreover, a half-caste branch of these people in the southern half of Palauan Island (Parágua) of a very subdued and peaceful nature, compared with the Sulu, nominally under the Sulu Sultanʼs rule.

In Mindanao Island only a small coast district here and there was really under Spanish empire, although Spain (by virtue of an old treaty, which never was respected to the letter) claimed suzerainty over all the territory subject to the Sultan of Sulu. After the Sulu war of 1876 the Sultan admitted the claim more formally, and on March 11, 1877, a protocol was signed by England and Germany recognizing Spainʼs rights to the Tawi Tawi group and the chain of islands stretching from Sulu to Borneo. At the same time it was understood that Spain would give visible proof of annexation by establishing military posts, or occupying these islands in some way, but nothing was done until 1880, when Spain was stirred into action by a report that the Germans projected a settlement there. A convict corps at once took possession, military posts were established, and in 1882 the 6th Regiment of regular troops was quartered in the group at Bongao and Siassi.

Meanwhile, in 1880, a foreign colonizing company was formed in the Sultanate of Brunei, under the title of “British North Borneo Co.” (Royal Charter of November 7, 1881). The company recognized the suzerain rights of the Sultan of Sulu, and agreed to pay to him an annual sum as feudal lord. Spain protested that the territory was hers, but could show nothing to confirm the possession. There was no flag, or a detachment of troops, or anything whatsoever to indicate that the coast was under European protection or dominion. Notes were exchanged between the Cabinets of Madrid and London, and Spain relinquished for ever her claim to the Borneo fief of Brunei.

The experience of the unfortunate Sultan Alimudin (Ferdinand I.) taught the Sulu people such a sad lesson that subsequent sultans have not cared to risk their persons in the hands of the Spaniards. There was, moreover, a Nationalist Party which repudiated dependence on Spain, and hoped to be able eventually to drive out the Spaniards. Therefore, in 1885, when the heir to the throne, Mohammad Jamalul Kiram (who was then about 15 years old) was cited to Manila to receive his investiture at the hands of the Gov.-General, he refused to comply, and the Government at once offered the Sultanate to his uncle, Datto Harun Narrasid, who accepted it, and presented himself to the Gov.-General in the capital.

The ceremony of investiture took place in the Government House at Malacañan near Manila on September 24, 1886, when Datto Harun took the oath of allegiance to the King of Spain as his sovereign lord, [142]and received from the Gov.-General, Emilio Terrero, the title of His Excellency Paduca Majasari Maulana Amiril Mauminin Sultan Muhamad Harun Narrasid, with the rank of a Spanish lieut.-general. The Gov.-General was attended by his Secretary, the Official Interpreter, and several high officers. In the suite of the Sultan-elect were his Secretary, Tuan Hadji Omar, a priest, Pandita Tuan Sik Mustafá, and several dattos. For the occasion, the Sultan-elect was dressed in European costume, and wore a Turkish fez with a heavy tassel of black silk. His Secretary and Chaplain appeared in long black tunics, white trousers, light shoes, and turbans. Two of the remainder of his suite adopted the European fashion, but the others wore rich typical Moorish vestments.

The Sultan returned to his country, and in the course of three months the Nationalist Party chiefs openly took up arms against the King of Spainʼs nominee, the movement spreading to the adjacent islands of Siassi and Bongao, which form part of the Sultanate.8

The Mahometans on the Great Mindanao River, from Cottabato9 upwards, openly defied Spanish authority; and in the spring of 1886 the Government were under the necessity of organizing an expedition against them. The Spaniards had ordered that native craft should carry the Spanish flag, otherwise they would be treated as pirates or rebels. In March, 1887, the cacique of the Simonor ranche (Bongao Is.), named Pandan, refused any longer to hoist the christian ensign, and he was pursued and taken prisoner. He was conveyed on the gunboat Panay to Sulu, and on being asked by the Governor why he had ceased to use the Spanish flag, he haughtily replied that “he would only answer such a question to the Captain-General,” and refused to give any further explanation. Within a month after his arrest the garrison of Sulu (Joló) was strengthened by 377 men, in expectation of an immediate general rising, which indeed took place. The Spanish forces were led by Majors Mattos and Villa Abrille, under the command of Brig.-General Seriná. They were stoutly opposed by a cruel and despotic chief, named Utto, who advanced at the head of his subjects and slaves. With the co-operation of the gunboats up the river, the Mahometans were repulsed with great loss.

Scores of expeditions had been led against the Mindanao natives, and their temporary submission had usually been obtained by the Spaniards—on whose retirement, however, the natives always reverted to their old customs, and took their revenge on the settlers. Moreover, the petty jealousies existing between the highest officers in the south rendered every peaceful effort fruitless. [143]
Datto Utto having defiantly proclaimed that no Spaniard should ever enter his territory, an armed expedition was fitted out; and from the example of his predecessor in 1881 (vide p. 124) the Gov.-General, Emilio Terrero, perchance foresaw in a little war the vision of titles and more material reward, besides counterbalancing his increasing unpopularity in Manila, due to the influence of my late friend, the Government Secretary Felipe Canga-Argüelles. Following in the wake of those who had successfully checked the Mahometans in the previous spring, he took the chief command in person in the beginning of January, 1887, to force a recantation of Datto Uttoʼs utterances.

The petty Sultans of Bacat, Buhayen and Kudaran͠gan in vain united their fortunes with those of Utto. The stockades of cocoanut trunks, palma-bravas (q.v.) and earth (cottas) were easily destroyed by the Spanish artillery, and their defenders fled under a desultory fire. There were very few casualties on either side. Some of the Christian native infantry soldiers suffered from the bamboo spikes (Spanish, puas) set in the ground around the stockades, but the enemy had not had time to cover with brushwood the pits dug for the attacking party to fall into. In about two months the operations ended by the submission of some chiefs of minor importance and influence; and after spending so much powder and shot and Christian blood, the General had not even the satisfaction of seeing either the man he was fighting against or his enemyʼs ally, the Sultan of Kudaran͠gan. This latter sent a priest, Pandita Kalibaudang, and Datto Andig to sue for peace and cajole the General with the fairest promises. Afterwards the son and heir of this chief, Rajahmudah Tambilanang, presented himself, and he and his suite of 30 followers were conducted to the camp in the steam launch Carriedo. Utto, whose residence had been demolished, had not deigned to submit in person, but sent, as emissaries, Dattos Sirun͠gang, Buat and Dalandung, who excused only the absence of Uttoʼs prime minister. Capitulations of peace were handed to Uttoʼs subordinates, who were told to bring them back signed without delay, for despatches from the Home Government, received four or five weeks previously, were urging the General to conclude this affair as speedily as possible. They were returned signed by Utto—or by somebody else—and the same signature and another, supposed to be that of his wife, the Ranee Pudtli (a woman of great sway amongst her people) were also attached to a letter, offering complete submission.

The Spaniards destroyed a large quantity of rice-paddy, and stipulated for the subsequent payment of a war indemnity in the form of cannons (lantacas), buffaloes, and horses.

The General gave the emissaries some trifling presents, and they went their way and he his,—to Manila, which he entered in state on March 21, with flags flying, music playing, and the streets decorated with bunting of the national colours, to give welcome to the conqueror [144]of the Mahometan chief—whom he had never seen—the bearer of peace capitulations signed—by whom? As usual, a Te Deum was celebrated in the Cathedral for the victories gained over the infidels; the officers and troops who had returned were invited by the Municipality to a theatrical performance, and the Gov.-General held a reception in the Palace of Malacañan. Some of the troops were left in Mindanao, it having been resolved to establish armed outposts still farther up the river for the better protection of the port and settlement of Cottabato.

Whilst the Gov.-General headed this military parade in the Cottabato district, the ill-feeling of the Sulu natives towards the Spaniards was gradually maturing. An impending struggle was evident, and Colonel Juan Arolas, the Governor of Sulu, concentrated his forces in expectation. The Sulus, always armed, prepared for events in their cottas; Arolas demanded their surrender, which was refused, and they were attacked. Two cottas, well defended, were ultimately taken, not without serious loss to the Spaniards. In the report of the slain a captain was mentioned. Arolas then twice asked for authority to attack the Mahometans at Maybun, and was each time refused. At length, acting on his own responsibility, on April 15, 1887, he ordered a gunboat to steam round to Maybun and open fire at daybreak on the Sultanʼs capital, which was in possession of the party opposed to the Spanish nominee (Harun Narrasid). At 11 oʼclock the same night he started across country with his troops towards Maybun, and the next morning, whilst the enemy was engaged with the gunboat, he led the attack on the land side. The Mahometans, quite surprised, fought like lions, but were completely routed, and the seat of the Sultanate was razed to the ground. It was the most crushing defeat ever inflicted on the Sulu Nationalist Party. The news reached Manila on April 29, and great praise was justly accorded to Colonel Arolas, whose energetic operations contrasted so favourably with the Cottabato expedition. All manner of festivities in his honour were projected in Manila, but Arolas elected to continue the work of subduing the Moro country. Notwithstanding his well-known republican tendencies, on September 20, 1887, the Queen-Regent cabled through her Ministry her acknowledgment of Colonel Arolasʼ valuable services, and the pleasure it gave her to reward him with a Brig.-Generalʼs commission.10

In 1895 an expedition against the Mahometans was organized under the supreme command of Gov.-General Ramon Blanco. It was known as the Marahui (or Marauit) Campaign. The tribes around Lake Lanao (ancient name Malanao) and the Marahui district had, for some time past, made serious raids on the Spanish settlement at Ylígan, which is connected with Lake Lanao by a river navigable only by canoes. [145]Indeed, the lives and property of Christians in all the territory adjoining Yligan were in great jeopardy, and the Spanish authorities were set at defiance. It was therefore resolved, for the first time, to attack the tribes and destroy their cottas around the lake for the permanent tranquillity of Yligan. The Spanish and native troops alike suffered great hardships and privations. Steam launches in sections (constructed in Hong-Kong), small guns, and war material were carried up from Yligan to the lake by natives over very rugged ground. On the lake shore the launches were fitted up and operated on the lake, to the immense surprise of the tribes. From the land side their cottas were attacked and destroyed, under the command of my old friend Brig.-General Gonzalez Parrado. The operations, which lasted about three months, were a complete success, and General Gonzalez Parrado was rewarded with promotion to General of Division. Lake Lanao, with the surrounding district and the route down to Yligan, was in possession of the Spaniards, and in order to retain that possession without the expense of maintaining a large military establishment, it was determined to people the conquered territory with Christian families from Luzon and the other islands situated north of Mindanao. It was the attempt to carry out this colonizing scheme which gave significance to the Marahui Expedition and contributed to that movement which, in 1896, led to the downfall of Spanish rule in the Archipelago.

The last Spanish punitive expedition against the Mindanao Mahometans was sent in February, 1898, under the command of General Buille. The operations lasted only a few days. The enemy was driven into the interior with great loss, and one chief was slain. The small gunboats built in Hong-Kong for the Marahui Campaign—the General Blanco, Corcuera, and Lanao—again did good service.

There are three branches or tribes of the Malanao Moros around the Lake Lanao:

•(1) Bayabos, at the north of the Lake, their centre being Marahui.
•(2) Onayans, at the south of the Lake, their centre being Bayan.
•(3) Macui tribe includes the remaining Lake Lanao people, except a few independent ranches to the east of the Macui, belonging to the Bayabos. The Macui claim to be the most ancient, although no tribe can trace descent farther back than the 13th century. Intermarriage has destroyed traces, but there are over a hundred sultans who claim to be of royal blood.

The other principal Mindanao tribes are as follows, viz.:—Aetas, in the regions near Mount Apo (vide p. 121).

•Bagobos, on the foothills of Mount Apo. A peaceful people, disposed to work, and reputed to be human sacrificers.
•Manobos, in the valley of the Agusan River. There are also some on the Gulf of Davao and in the Cottabato district.
•Samales inhabit the small islands in the Gulf of Davao, but there is [146]quite a large colony of them at Magay, a suburb of Zamboanga, (from the neighbouring islets) under Rajahmudah Datto Mandi.
•Subuanos occupy the peninsula of the Zamboanga Province. They are docile and lazy, and much prone to stealing. They are far less courageous than the Samales, by whom they are overawed. Some physiognomists consider them to be of the same caste as the Manobos, the Guimbanos of Sulu, and the Samecas of Basilan.
•Tagubans live on the north shore of the Gulf of Davao.
•Tirurayas inhabit the mountains to the west of the Rio Grande.

There is a large number of smaller tribes.

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List of the Rulers of the Sulu Sutanate

This is a list of the rulers of the Sulu Sultanate. The Sultan of Sulu is a Muslim royal house that governs over most Muslims in the Sulu Archipelago in southern Philippines. The Sultanate also used to govern the state of Sabah in Malaysia. The sultanate was recognized as sovereign entity by the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th Century Treaties of Sulu signed between him with Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, France and United States of America. In 1935 the Sultan Apostolate is capable of asserting sovereign in the international community was emasculated

The following list details the holders of the title Sultan between 1450 and 1936

1. Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim (1450–1480)

The founder of the Sulu Sultanate whose proper name was Abu Bakr. He founded The Royal Sultanate of Sulu in 1457, and renamed himself Paduka Mahasari Maulana al-Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim. The "maulana" meaning protector (Arabic), "paduka" being a local term for "master", and "mahasari" for "His Majesty". The Sharif is reported to have lived about thirty years in Buansa, the first seat of the sultanate, and his tomb is located in one of the slopes of nearby Mount Tumantangis.

2. Sultan Kamal ud-Din (1480-1505)

The son of the Sharif ul-Hashim who succeeded his father as sultan.

3. Sultan Ala ud-Din

Sulu Genealogy suggests that he was a brother of Kamal ud-Din. A son of Sultan Shariful-Hashim, but believed not to be proclaimed the "Sultan of Sulu."

4. Sultan Amir ul-Umara (1505-1527)

His title is believed to be the Arabic translation of Maharajah-di-rajah found as the fourth sultan in some tarsilas. Some Sulu genealogy do not mention him. Believed to be the Sultan Bolkiah

5. Sultan Mu-izz ul-Mutawadi-in (1527-1548)

He is the Maharajah Upo (grandchild) of Sharif ul-Hashim. Some genealogy states that he succeeded to the sultanate upon the death of Kamal ud-Din.

6. Sultan Nasir ud-Din I (1548-1568)

The son of Sultan Mu-izz ul-Mutawadi-in. He was surnamed Digunung or Habud, suggesting that he grew up in or ruled from the interior of Sulu.

7. Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim (1568-1596)

The son of Sultan Nasir ud-Din I. His other name was Pangiran Buddiman which was the name by which he was probably known.

8. Sultan Batara Shah Tengah (1596-1608)

The son of Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim. "Batara" was a title used by Sulu rulers as early as the beginning of the fifteenth century, and Brunei annals always referred to Sulu rulers by this term. Died without heir.

9. Sultan Muwallil Wasit (1610-1650)

The nephew of Sultan Batara Shah Tengah (the son of his sister who married Sultan Hassan of Brunei). He was known to Spaniards as Rajah Bongsu. One of his daughters married Sultan Qudarat of Maguindanao while another daughter married Balatamay (Baratamay), the ruler of Buayan in 1657. Around 1650, his son Bachtiar took over the sultanate.

10. Sultan Nasir ud-Din II (1645–1648)

Son of Sultan Muwallil Wasit who reigned during the lifetime of his father following his father's defeat by the Spaniards. The throne reverted to his father after his brother, Sarikula, died in 1648. Sarikula was speculated to be in control of the throne during this time.

11. Sultan Salah ud-Din Bakhtiar (1649/50-1680)

Known to Spanish authorities as Pangiran Bactial and to Dutch officials as Pangiran Batticale. After his death, he was called Marhum Karamat. Due to his father's old age as well as the number of his followers, he did not become sultan until around 1650, if not a year earlier. He installed the "3 Temporary Sultans of Sulu" to sit on the Sulu throne from 1680-1685 due to the very young age of his son

12. Sultan Ali Shah

Not mentioned in the Sulu Genealogy but produced a permanent heir in Shahab ud-Din (No.

15). His reign was short and peaceful.

The son of Salah ud-Din. It was he who killed Sultan Kahar ud-Din Kuda of Maguindanao in 1702 and "ceded" Palawan to the Spanish government in 1705.

13. Sultan Nur ul-Azam

Daughter of Sultan Nasir ud-Din II who was also known as Pangyan Ampay or Sitti Kabil (Arabic, meaning grand mistress) and ruled for four or five years. Some Sulus did not look with favor on her regime, being ruled under a woman.

14. Sultan Al Haqunu Ibn Wali ul-Ahad

The name "Ibn Wali ul-Ahad" is Arabic for "son of the rajah muda" (heir apparent). Is speculated to be the son of Sarikula and helped govern with his cousin Sultan Salah ud-Din.

15. Sultan Shahab ud-Din (1685-1710)

The son of Salah ud-Din. It was he who killed Sultan Kahar ud-Din Kuda of Maguindanao in 1702 and "ceded" Palawan to the Spanish government in 1705.

16. Sultan Mustafa Shafi ud-Din (1710-1718)

The younger brother of Shahab ud-Din he was also known as Juhan Pahalawan. He abdicated the thrown in favor of his younger brother Badar ud-Din to avoid future dynastic troubles.

17. Sultan Badar ud-Din I (1718-1732)

The younger brother of the two previous sultans, he was known to different Spanish authors as "Bigotillos" or "Barbillas,"" or as "el Rey Viejo de Tawi-Tawi." His mother as a Tirun lady from the North East coast of Borneo. In 1732, a nephew (or grand nephew) contested his rule which led to his retirement to Tawi-Tawi where he was then known as Sultan Dungun. He died around 1740 in Dungun during the reign of his son Azim ud-Din I.

18. Sultan Nasar ud-Din (1732-1735)

He was either a son or grandson (by a daughter) of Shahab ud-Din and was known to the Spaniards as Datu Sabdula (Arabic, Abdullah). In 1731, he challenged the rule of Badar ud-Din, forcing the latter to take leave and retire in 1732. The intrigues of Badar ud-Din led to the proclamation of Azim ud-Din (a son of Badar ud-Din) as sultan in 1735. After a series of desultory skirmishes between the factions of Nasar ud-Din and Azim ud-Din, the former left for Maimbung where he generally remained till he died around 1735. He was also referred to as Dipatuan.

19. Sultan Azim ud-Din I ((1735-1748) (1764–1774))

Son of Badar ud-Din, he was known to the Spaniards and many Sulus as Alimuddin. His father proclaimed him ruler in Tawi-Tawi in 1735. In 1736, after a few intrigues had paved the way, a number of Datus asked Azim ud-Din to transfer his court from Dungun to Bauang (Jolo). But a political struggle in 1748 forced him to leave Jolo for Basilan and then Zamboanga. His younger brother, Datu Bantilan, was then proclaimed sultan. In the meantime, he went to Manila where he remained for sometime, including a few years of imprisonment. He returned an old man to Jolo in 1764. In the same year, on June 8, he was formally reinstated to the throne. In 1774, tired of affairs of state, he formally handed over the affairs of state to hisson Muhammad Israil. He had two periods of reign; 1735-1748 and 1764-1774.

20. Sultan Muizz ud-Din (1748-1763)

Known to Spanish officials and priests as Datu or Pangiran Bantilan. He was a younger brother of Azim ud-Din

21. Sultan Muhammad Israil (1774-1778)

One of the sons of Azim ud-Din I who abdicated his power to his son in November 1773, but did not formally assumed the reign early the next year. He was believed to have been poisoned by either the partisans of his cousin or the cousin, himself, Azim ud-Din (a son of Muizz ud-Din), in 1778.

22. Sultan Azim ud-Din II ((1763–1764) (1778-1791))

The son of Muizz ud-Din I who governed Sulu with his brother after the death of their father around the middle of 1763. By the end of that year, he had become, for all practical purposes, the Sultan. With the arrival of his uncle Azim ud-Din I from Manila in 1764, whom he received well, Azim ud-Din II left his his followers for Parang. In 1778, he succeeded Muhammad Israil. He reigned up to his death in 1791.

23. Sultan Sharaf ud-Din (1791-1808)

Another son of Azim ud-Din I and lived a venerable old age. Ten years earlier the Spaniards were expecting him to die at any moment and were thus worried that a successor antagonistic to them might ascend the throne.

24. Sultan Azim ud-Din III (1808)

The son of Sharaf ud-Din and died the same year as his father. According to a report, he reigned only for forty days. He likely died a smallpox epidemic that raged through Jolo that year.

25. Sultan Ali ud-Din (1808-1821)

The younger brother of Azim ud-Din III who occupied the throne in the absence of the rajah muda in Jolo.

26. Sultan Shakirullah (1821-1823)

The brother of Ali ud-Din and was popularly known as Datu Sakilan.

27. Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram I (1823-1842)

The son of Azim ud-Din III.

28. Sultan Muhammad Fadl (1842-1862)

The son of Jamal ul-Kiram I and was popularly known as Pulalun.

29. Sultan Jamal ul-Azam (1862-1881)

The son of Muhammad Fadl who ascended to the throne in 1862. He was known to the Spaniards and Sulus as Jamalul Alam.

30. Sultan Badar ud-Din II (1881-1884)

The son of Jamal ul-Azam and who died as a relatively young man on February 22, 1884.

31. Sultan Harun al-Rashid (1886-1894)

A descendant of Azim ud-Din I, through Datu Putong, a son. Spanish intrigues led to his proclamation as sultan by a few Datus in 1886, although earlier in 1884, Amirul Kiram, a younger brother of Badar ud-Din II, had already been proclaimed sultan. He never had firm support of the majority of the Sulus who generally Amirul Kiram as sultan especially when the latter was able to overthrow Datu Ali ud-Din, a pretender to the throne. When it became apparent that he no longer served any purpose to Spanish officials, Harun ar-Rashid was persuaded to abdicate in 1894. This was a tacit admission on the part of Spanish authorities that Amirul Kiram was the real sultan of Sulu. Harun ar-Rashid retired to Palawan where he died in April 1899.

32. Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram II (1894-1936)

The younger brother of Badar ud-Din II. He was proclaimed sultan by his followers in 1884, not long after the death of his older brother. While rajah muda, he was called Amirul Kiram. His proclamation as sultan wa contested by Datu Ali ud-Din, a grandson of Sultan Shakirullah, but to no avail. Ali ud-Din was forced to flee to Basilan. It was Harun ar-Rashid who tried to mediate between Amirul Kiram and Ali ud-Din until the Spaniards thought it expedient to have Harun ar-Rashid to sultan himself. The Spaniards were led eventually to deal with Jamal ul-Kiram II as the sultan of Sulu in spite of his repeated refusal to go to Manila on a state visit. Jamal ul-Kiram II died on June 7, 1936. He was considered to have been sultan from 1884 to 1936, despite the fact that in 1915, he virtually surrendered his political powers to the United States government under the so-called Carpenter's Agreement.

34. Sultan Esmail D. Kiram II (2001-Present)

Sultan Esmail Kiram II, the 34th sultan of Sulu's burning passion to revive, reunite and battle over his lost land is still thriving inside him. As well as his goal to regain the unity for the Sultanate of Sulu to stand as one and promote developmental projects to change lives not only of the Suluenos, Sabahans, but for different nationalities.

Sulu Sultanate

The Sultanate of Sulu was a Muslim state that ruled over many of the islands of the Sulu Sea in the southern Philippines. The sultanate was founded in 1457; but other sources place the date earlier. Muslim historians believed that it had existed centuries earlier in the time of Raja Baguinda Ali. The sultanate, together with the Sultanate of Maguindanao, bitterly fought the Spanish Empire and preserved her sovereignty. The Spanish Empire rule was limited in Luzon and Visayas. It was the Americans who succeeded in annexing the Sultanate with the rest of the Philippines through manipulation and betrayal of an agreement to the contrary as stipulated in the Kiram-Bates Treaty. The Philippines was later annexed by the United States in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War. Only North Borneo went to the British and later became part of Malaysia as Sabah in 1963.
At its peak, it stretched over the islands that bordered the western peninsula of Mindanao in the east, to the modern Malaysian state of Sabah (formerly North Borneo) in the west and south, and to Palawan in the north.
Currently, the issue of who would be the legitimate Sultan of Sulu is disputed by several branches of the Royal Family; although the line of succession fell on the Kiram branch of the royal family from 1823 up to the death of the last sovereign sultan in 1936.


During the 1450s, Shari'ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab born in Johore, arrived in Sulu from Malacca. In 1457, he founded the Sultanate of Sulu; he then renamed himself "Paduka Maulana Mahasari Sharif Sultan Hashem Abu Bakr". "Paduka" is a local term for "Master"; "Mahasari", for "His Majesty".

In 1658 (other sources say 1703), the Sultanate of Sulu received North Borneo from the Sultan of Brunei after Sulu sent aid against rebellion in Brunei. In the same year, Sulu gave Palawan to Qudarat, Sultan of Maguindanao, who married a Sulu princess and formed an alliance with Sulu. Sultan Qudarat eventually ceded Palawan to the Spanish Empire in 1705. From then on, the Sultanate of Sulu is referred to as the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.

Related web links :

Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo

A Nation under endless tyranny.

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