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The Tausug or Suluk people are a Filipino ethnic group. The term tau sug means 'people of the current', referring to their homelands in the Sulu Archipelago. Some said that the meaning of "Tausug" is "Tau Ma Isug" mean "The brave peoples" in Sulu language. Tausugs are called Suluk in Sabah, Malaysia. The Tausug are part of the wider Moro ethnic group, who constitute the sixth largest Filipino ethnic group. They originally had an independent state known as the Sulu Sultanate, which once exercised sovereignty over the present day provinces of Basilan, Palawan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and the States of Malaysia|Malaysian state of Sabah (formerly [North Borneo]).

The Sultanate of Sulu was the basic identity for the tausugs. As the Sulu Sultanate stand as a free and independent kingdom, the tausugs could not put or declare themselves as a "Filipino". The Sultan of Sulu is the head of the tausug peoples. In the Sulu Sultanate, there were only existed "Two Heirs" as the owner's and inherits to the Sulu Sultanate kingdom. The heirs so-called as "The first heir-apparents" (Descendant of Sultan Azimuddin @ Alimuddin-I ibni Sultan Badaruddin-I. Nowadays became Kiram & Shakiraullah families), AND "The second heir-apparent" (Descendant of Sultan Bantilan Muizzuddin ibni Sultan Badaruddin-I. Nowadays became the Maharajah Adinda families). These matters can be trace by analyzing the Sulu Sultanate flag which showed the "Long sword" as a symbol for the first heir-apparent and the "Spear" as the symbols to the second heir-apparent. Since the Kiram & Shakiraullah families (first heir-apparents) were fought each other for the Sulu throne, then the "Long Sword" were changed to be the "Keris for Kiram" and "Barung for Shakiraullah" in the Sulu Sultanate flag. But the "Spear" symbols for the second heir-apparent never been change in the flag.

Anyway, the basic of the Sulu heirs is just stand and consist of the "TWO HEIRS" only (The first and the second heir-apparent).

Since the rights of the first heir-apparents "Ended" by signing the Carpenter Agreement in 1915, the death of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram-II in 1936 without heir, and the "Non-recognition" to any "Successor" of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II by President Manuel L.Quezon in "Memorandum 20 September 1937", then seems only "The second heir-apparent" (The Maharajah Adinda Families) have a fully rights to claim back and restore the Sulu Sultanate kingdom. Not the Kiram or the Shakiraullah families (The first heir-apparents) anymore.

  • The Carpenter Agreement in 1915 just reduce the power of Sultan of Sulu, but not abolish the Sulu Sultanate.
  • By the death of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram-II without heir, and by following the Sulu Sultanate protocol system or "Tartib", the throne should shifted to the second heir-apparent since that time.
  • The non-recognition to any "Successors" of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II by President Manuel L.Quezon in "Memorandum 20 September 1937", its just the "Non-Recognition" to "The first heir-apparents" of the Sulu Sultanate. And not by meant want to abolish the Sulu Sultanate.

So, the non abolishment to the Sulu Sultanate, made the Sultanate should be continue by "The Sulu Sultanate second heir-apparent" (The Maharajah Adinda families) by the mean of "The heirs AND successors" to the Sulu Sultanate kingdom. Whom the heirs matched in the documentation of "The 1878 North-Borneo Padjak Agreement" clearly stated 4 times and documented as "The heirs AND Successors" (*Not documented as "The heirs OR Successors").

These facts should be understands by anybody for them to verify the "real heirs" to the Sulu Sultanate, and the heir who had a fully power to reclaim the Sulu Sultanate territories & its properties.

  • If the first heir-apparents were demolished the Sulu Sultanate, then ONLY the second heir-apparent will be the saviour to the Sulu Sultanate kingdom*



Sultanate Era

Main article: Sulu Sultanate

The history of Sulu begins with Makdum, a Muslim missionary, who arrived in Sulu in 1380. He introduced the Islamic faith and settled in Tubig Indangan, Simunul until his death. The mosque's pillars at Tubig-Indangan which he built still stand.

In 1390, Raja Baguinda landed at Buansa and extended the missionary work of Makdum. The Muslim Arabian scholar Abu Bakr arrived in 1450, married Baguinda's daughter, and after Baguinda's death, became sultan, thereby introducing the sultanate as a political system. Political districts were created in Parang, Pansul, Lati, Gitung, and Luuk, each headed by a panglima or district leader.

After Abu Bakr's death, the sultanate system had already become well established in Sulu. Before the coming of the Spaniards, the ethnic groups in Sulu--the Tausug, Samal, Yakan, and Bajau--were in varying degrees united under the Sulu sultanate, considered the most centralized -political system in the Philippines. Called the "Moro Wars," these battles were waged intermittently from 1578 till 1898 between the Spanish colonial government and the Muslims of Mindanao.

In 1578, an expedition sent by Gov Francisco de Sande and headed by Capt Rodriguez de Figueroa began the 300-year warfare between the Tausug and the Spanish authorities. In 1579, the Spanish government gave de Figueroa the sole right to colonize Mindanao. In retaliation, the Muslims raided Visayan towns in Panay, Negros, and Cebu. These were repulsed by Spanish and Visayan forces. In the early 17th century, the largest alliance composed of the Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, other Muslim groups was formed by Sultan Kudarat or Cachil Corralat of Maguindanao, whose domain extended from the Davao Gulf to Dapitan on the Zamboanga peninsula. Several expeditions sent by the Spanish authorities suffered defeat. In 1635, Capt Juan de Chaves occupied Zamboanga and erected a fort. In 1637, Gov Gen Hurtado de Corcuera personally led an expedition against Kudarat, and triumphed over his forces at Lamitan and Ilian. On 1 January 1638, de Corcuera with 80 vessels and 2000 soldiers, defeated the Tausug and occupied Jolo. A peace treaty was forged. The victory did not establish Spanish sovereignty over Sulu, as the Tausug abrogated the treaty as soon Spaniards left in 1646.

In 1737, Sultan Alimud Din I entered into a "permanent" peace treaty with Gov Gen F. Valdes y Tamon; and in 1746, befriended the Jesuits sent to Jolo by King Philip. The "permission" of Sultan Azimuddin-I (*the first heir-apparent) allowed the Christians Jesuit enter Jolo was against by his young brother's Raja Muda Maharajah Adinda Datu Bantilan (*the second heir-apparent). Datu Bantilan did not want the Christian Jesuits disturbed or dishonored the Muslims faith in the Sulu Sultanate kingdom. The fought of these two brother, made Sultan Azimuddin-I leave Jolo to Zamboanga, then to Manila in 1948. Then Raja Muda Maharajah Adinda Datu Bantilan was proclaimed as sultan, taken the name as Sultan Bantilan Muizzuddin.

Sultan Bantilan Muizzuddin was a "Saviour" to the Sulu Sultanate kingdom. If he did not fought his brother Sultan Azimuddin-I (*Sultan Azimuddin-I was allowed the Christian Jesuits to entor Jolo and allowed them to spread the "Christians Doctrine" among the Muslims in Sulu), maybe since that time (1748), the Sulu Sultanate kingdom was already became "Christians Country" as what happened to Manila. Nowadays, the generation of Sultan Bantilan Muizzuddin (*the Maharajah Adinda Families) will try again to save the Sulu Sultanate for the second times. Which the Sulu Sultanate seems was demolished under the first heir-apparents management.

In 1893, amid succession controversies, Amirnul Kiram became Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, the title being officially recognized by the Spanish authorities. In 1899, after the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War, Col Luis Huerta, the last governor of Sulu, relinquished his garrison to the Americans (Orosa 1970:25-30).

Fall of the Sultanate

Main: Moro Rebellion

During the Philippine-American War, the Americans adopted a policy of noninterference in the Muslim areas, as spelled out in the Bates Agreement of 1899 signed by Brig Gen John Bates and Sultan Jamalul Kiram II of Jolo. Although the Bates Agreement had "pacified," to a certain extent, the Sulu sultanate, resistance continued. In 1901, panglima (district chief) Hassan and his followers fought the Americans, believing that acceptance of American sovereignty would affect his own authority (Che Man l990:46-47).

After the Philippine-American War, the Americans established direct rule over the newly formed "Moro province," which consisted of five districts-Zamboanga, Lanao, Cotabato, Davao, and Sulu. Political, social, and economic changes were introduced. These included the creation of provincial and district institutions; the introduction of the public school system and American-inspired judicial system the imposition of the cedula or head tax; the migration of Christians to Muslim lands encouraged by the colonial government; and the abolition of slavery. These and other factors contributed to Muslim resistance that took 10 years "to pacify”. The Department of Mindanao and Sulu replaced the Moro province on 15 December 1913.

Modern Era

Main: Islamic insurgency in the Philippines

A "policy of attraction" was introduced, ushering in reforms to encourage Muslim integration into Philippine society. "Proxy colonialism" was legalized by the Public Land Act of 1919, invalidating Muslim pusaka (inherited property) laws. The act also granted the state the right to confer land ownership. It was thought that the Muslims would "learn" from the "more advanced" Christianized Filipinos, and would integrate more easily into mainstream Philippine society. In February 1920, the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives passed Act No 2878, which abolished the Department of Mindanao and Sulu and transferred its responsibilities to the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes under the Department of the Interior. Muslim dissatisfaction grew as power shifted to the Christianized Filipinos. Petitions were sent by Muslim leaders between 1921 and 1924 requesting that Mindanao and Sulu be administered directly by the United States. These petitions were not granted. Realizing the futility of armed resistance, some Muslims sought to make the best of the situation. In 1934, Arolas Tulawi of Sulu, Datu Manandang Piang and Datu Blah Sinsuat of Cotabato, and Sultan Alaoya Alonto of Lanao were elected to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. In 1935, two Muslims were elected to the National Assembly.

The Commonwealth years sought to end the privileges the Muslims had been enjoying under the earlier American administration. Muslim exemptions from some national laws, as expressed in the administrative code for Mindanao, and the Muslim right to use their traditional Islamic courts, as expressed in the Moro Board, were ended. It was unlikely that the Muslims, who have had a longer cultural history as Muslims than the Filipinos as Christians, would surrender their identity. Fearing government persecution, he went to the hills. On "death row," he was finally pardoned by Pres Marcos on 11 September 1968. This incident contributed to the rise of various separatist movements-the Muslim Independence Movement (MIM), Ansar El-Islam, and Union of Islamic Forces and Organizations (Che Man 1990:74-75). In 1969, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was founded on the concept of a Bangsa Moro Republic by a group of educated young Muslims. In 1976, negotiations between the Philippine government and the MNLF in Tripoli resulted in the Tripoli Agreement, which provided for an autonomous region in Mindanao. Nur Misuari was invited to chair the provisional government but he refused. The referendum was boycotted by the Muslims themselves. The talks collapsed, and fighting continued. On 1 August 1989, Republic Act 673 or the Organic Act for Mindanao created the Autonomous Region of Mindanao, which encompasses Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. Many leaders of the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group operating in Mindanao, are of Tausug descent. [1]

Nowadays, the name of moro peoples were not so good in the eyes of the world. Due to they were spotted as the terrorists, kidnappers, killers, robbers and etc. Some nations said that the moro peoples always killing the other peoples. But what we witnessed, the other nations went to moros lands and killed the moros. So, the questions....who's killing who?

The good solutions to reach peace in Moroland (Mindanao & Sulu), let's the moros to be Free & Independent and govern by their own ancestor's system, the Sultanates. The other nations (*the Army) must leave the morolands. So, there will no more killing, kidnapping, robbering & etc. in moroslands.

For sure, the moros will can govern back their ancestor homeland as their ancestor's before (*the Sultanate). Do remember, while the Manila just as the small settlement....Jolo was already a City!


The Tausugs presently populate the province of Sulu as a majority, and the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi as minorities. There is a large population of Tausugs in all parts of Sabah, Malaysia, who mainly work as laborers and are there known as Suluk.


The Tausugs currently number about 953,000 in the Philippines. They are related to the Bisaya since the Tausug language is a Visayan language. The Tausug however do not consider themselves as Bisaya, using the term only to refer to Christian Bisaya-language speakers, given that the vast majority of Tausugs are Muslims. In Malaysia, they number at around 300,000.


Tausug is also the language used by this ethnic tribe.


Tausugs are experienced sailors and are known for their colorful boats or vintas.


  • Institute of Bangsamoro Studies 2005

Original Source

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