The name Moro Lands is given to the southern islands of the Philippines (Mindanao, Palawan, Sulu, etc.) inhabited by Islamic communities, styled Moro (= Moors) by the Spanish since the 16th century. (In the period of U.S. rule Moroland was also commonly used)

THE MORO LANDS 1871 - 1899

In 1576 the Spanish launched a first campaign to conquer the Islamic states in the southern Philippines, hereby initiating a period of wars that would last more than 300 years. The Moro however opposed a fierce resistance and for nearly 250 years real Spanish presence was confined to isolated coastal strongholds like Zamboanga on Minandao (established in 1635, abandoned in 1663, recontructed in 1718), which became the centre of their activities in the region. It was only in the second part of the 19th century - when the use of steamships gave them naval superiority - that they were able to gradually extend their authority, even submitting the powerfull Sulu Sultanate in 1876. But even now Spanish control remained largely contested and by 1898 most Moro lands still were outside effective Spanish rule.


The Moro lands were formally transferred to the U.S. in 1898 (Treaty of Paris) as part of the Philippines and actually occupied by U.S. forces in 1899. (1) Chronology of the U.S. administration in Moroland 1899 : Instoration of a separate U.S. military administration for the Moro lands and signature of the so-called Bates-Kiram Treaty that provided for a regime of indirect rule, the Americans being only concerned with the maintainance of order and peace. The treaty didn't however prevent frictions and soon revolts broke out. They would last until 1905 in Mindanao and until 1913 in Sulu. 1903 : Creation of a separate Moro Province as a first step towards direct rule and full integration into the Philippines. The Bates-Kiram Treaty now no longer had any signification and was abolished the following year. 1912: The Moro Lands were opened to Christian colonization 1914 : The province of Moro was abolished and replaced by the provinces of Agusan, Bukidnon, Cotabato, Davao, Jolo, Surigao and Zamboanga forming a Department of Mindanao and Sulu, with mainly co-ordinating tasks. 1920 : The Department of Mindanao and Sulu was abolished and responsability for the Moro lands was transferred to the Philippino Department of the Interior. (2) (1) In the period preceding the arrival of the Americans forces, both the Moro and the Philippino nationalists terminated Spanish presence in many places. Among these actions was the seizure of the city of Zamboanga by a Philippino revolutionary army and the ensuing proclamation of the Republic of Zamboanga, claiming to rule all of the southern regions. President of the Revolutionary Government of Zamboanga 1899 Gen. Vicente Alvarez The republic lasted six months (may 18 - nov 16 1899) and ended when U.S. troops - supported by some members of the government - toke the city. (2) This transfer was opposed by the Moro, demanding the continuation of a separate U.S. administration. In 1926 a major revolt of the Alangkat headed by Datu Mampurok (1... - 1927) broke out, but it was quelled the following year. __________________________________________________________________________________


Commanders of the Military District of Mindanao, Jolo and Palawan (subordinated to the U.S. military commanders in the Philippines) 1899 - 1900 MajGen. John Coalter Bates 1842 - 1919 1900 MajGen. William August Kobbe 1841 - 1932 Commanders of the Military Department of Mindanao and Jolo (subordinated to the U.S. military commanders in the Philippines) 1900 - 1902 MajGen. William August Kobbe s.a. 1902 BrigGen. George Davis Commanders of the Military Department of Mindanao (subordinated to the U.S. military commanders in the Philippines) 1902 - 1903 BrigGen. Samuel Sumner 1903 MajGen. Leonard Wood 1860 - 1927 Governors of the Moro Province (subordinated to the U.S. Governors/Governors General of the Philippines) 1903 - 1906 MajGen. Leonard Wood s.a. 1906 - 1909 BrigGen. Tasker Howard Bliss 1853 - 1930 1909 Col. Ralph W. Hoyt 1909 Capt. Charles Hagedon 1909 - 1913 BrigGen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing 1860 - 1948 1913 - 1914 Frank C. Carpenter Governor of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu (subordinated to the U.S. Governors General of the Philippines) 1914 - 1920 Frank C. Carpenter s.a. __________________________________________________________________________________


Director of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes (Subordinated to the Philippino Department of the Interior 1920 - 1936 Teopisto Guingona Sr.


In 1935 - despite strong Moro protest culminating into the 1935 so-called Dansalan Declaration - the Moro Lands were included into the newly created Commonwealth of the Philippines without any form of selfgovernment. (3) (3) A separate administration for the southern lands continued however to exist until 1950 Commissioners for Mindanao and Sulu 1936 - 19.. Teopisto Guingona Sr. s.a. 1944 - 19.. Gen. Paulino Santos The integration into the Philippines was followed by several revolts, the most important being that of Haji Abd ul-hamid Bongabong lasting from 1936 to 1941


Most of the Moro states - of which some 34 were styled sultanate - only had a local importance. Two of them - the Sultanates of Magindanao and of Sulu - however were real regional sea-powers, dominating the surrounding seas and sometimes intervening in the affairs of other Malayan states like Brunei, Johore or Pahang. (4) (4) A third state, the Kingdom of Buayan on Mindanao briefly gained (or rather regained, as it had already been a leading state some centuries earlier, before being eclipsed by Magindanao) in importance in the second part of the 19th century. Its last ruler (or Rajah Mudra) was Dato Ali (1... - 1905, r. 1899 - 1905) who became de de facto leader of the Moro resistance to U.S. occupation in Mindanao. After his death the state ceased to exist. __________________________________________________________________________________


The Sultanate of Magindanao (also Maguindanao and Magindanaw) was probably founded in the early 16th century (1515?). Its territory covered the south western coastal areas of Mindanao. Its power was at its highest in the 17th century, but later it declined and became no more than a confederation of semi-independent sub-sultanates, loosing much of its power to neighbouring sultanates like Buayan. Despite this it resisted all Spanish attempts to fully conquer it between 1578 and 1898. In 1899 Magindanao came under U.S. rule, later becoming part of the Philippines and continuing its nominal existence until the present days. __________________________________________________________________________________


Sultans 1857 - 1883 Muhammad Makakwa bin Datu Intirinu 1883 - 1888 Muhammad Jalal ud-Din Pablu (Pablo) bin Muhammad Makakwa, son 1... - 1888 1888 - 1906 interregnum Regent 1888 - 1906 Rajah Putri° 1906 - 1926 Muhammad Mangigin bin Datu 1926 - 1938 Iskandar Hijaban Mastura 1938 - 1991 Tato Ismael bin Kalug


The Sultanate of Sulu was founded in the 15th century (1450?). At the height of its power, it exercised sovereignty over the Sulu Ararchipelago, over other islands like Basilan, Palawan and Tawi-Tawi and over part of Sabah in North Borneo. Sulu resisted all Spanish attempts to conquer it until 1876. That year its capital Jolo was occupied and after some resistance the sultan was forced to accept Spanish rule in 1878. (5) In 1899 the Sultanate came under U.S. rule, later becoming part of the Philippines and continuing its nominal existence until the present days, despite the fact that it was formally abolished in 1940. (5) Actual Spanish rule remained however confined to Jolo and some other minor places conquered in the course of the following years. Spanish Governors of Sulu 1876 Capt. Pascual Cervera y Topete 1839 - 1909 1876 - 1877 Brig. Jose Paulin 1877 - 1880 Col. Carlos Martinez 1880 - 1881 Col. Rafael de Rivera 1881 - 1882 Col. Isidro G. Soto 1882 Col. Eduardo Bremon 1882 - 1884 Col. Julian Parrrado 1884 - 1886 Col. Francisco Castilla 1886 - 1893 Col. Juan Arolas 1893 Col. Caesar Mattos 1893 - 1899 Gen. Venancio Hernandez 1896 - 1899 Col. Luis Huerta, surrendered to the Americans In 1878, in a last attempt to gain foreign (= British) support the reigning sultan leased his possessions in Sabah to two Europeans - Alfred Dent (18.. -1...) and Gustavus Baron von Overbeck (1831 - 1...) - in exchange for a yearly tribute (Sulu maintaining a formal suzerainty over the concerned territories until our days). __________________________________________________________________________________


Sultans (Since the so-called Carpenter-Kiram Treaty of 1915, the Sultans no longer had any political powers, now only being recognized as the spiritual leaders of all Muslims of the Philippines) 1862 - 1881 Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam ibni Sultan Muhammad Fazlul Kahir 1... - 1881 1881 - 1884 Muhammad Badrud-Din (II) ibni Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam, son 1... - 1884 1884 - 1886 Succession contested between : - Haji Muhammad Jamal ad-Din Kiram (II) "Amirul Kiram" ibni Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam , son of Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul)Azam (s.a.) 18.. - 1936 - Ali ud-Din (II) ibni Datu Israil, continued as pretender until 1887 1886 - 1893 Muhammad Harun ur-Rashid ibni Datu Dakula, imposed by the Spanish, abdicated (6) 1... - 1899 1894 - 1936 al-Haj Muhammad Jamal ad-Din Kiram (II) "Amirul Kiram" ibni Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam , pretender since 1886 (2x) 1936 Muwallil Wasit (II) ibni Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam, son of Sultan Muhammad Jamal ul-Azam (s.a.) 1... - 1936 1936 - 195. Succession contested between : - Zain ul-Abidin ibni Datu Uyung 1880 - 195. - Amir ul-Umara (II) 1... - 1967 (6) After his abdication Muhammad Harun ur-Rashid ibni Datu Dakula moved to the - now Spanish - island of Palawan where he was allowed by the Spanish to rule as "Sultan Jubilado de Palawan" until his death in 1899.