Prior to the entry of Christian missionaries in the Philippines, the Arab traders and other Muslim traders from the Indo-Malaysian archipelago were the first to propagate their religion - Islam - in the islands. Among them were Karim ul-Makhdum, Abu Bakr, Rajah Baguinda, and Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan. With religion came the introduction of the Islamic political institution called Sultanate. Abu Bakr, the first Sultan of Sulu, is credited for establishing the first Sultanate.
Below are the subcategories of Mindanao Sultans - based on the Sultanates where they reign.