Volcanic and coral archipelago, southwestern Philippines, between Mindanao and Borneo. A double island chain, it extends 170 mi (270 km) and includes about 400 named islands and more than 500 unnamed ones; they cover an area of 1,038 sq mi (2,688 sq km). The islanders were converted to Islam by Abu Bakr in the mid-15th century. The Spanish tried, largely unsuccessfully, to subdue the inhabitants, whom they called Moros. The islands finally became a Spanish protectorate in the 19th century, and in 1899 came under U.S. authority. The archipelago was ceded to the Philippines in 1940. The islands have long provided a haven for smugglers.
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Sulu is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Its capital is Jolo and occupies the middle group of islands of the Sulu Archipelago, between Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. It is home to the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.
A landmark born of the social process was the founding of the principality of Buansa Sumatra, who settled thereat and married the daughter. A decade earlier (1380), Karim-ul-Mahkdum, an Arab religious missionary and learned judge, reinforced the Islamic foundation of Rajah Baguinda’s polity (1390-1460) and that of the Sultanate of Sayid Abubakar, princely scholar from Arabia who married Paramisuli, the daughter of Rajah Baguinda. Sayid Abubakar eventually inherited the rule of Rajah Baguinda, established the Sultanate and became the first Sultan of Sulu. To consolidate his rule, Sayid Abubakar united the local political units under the umbrella of the Sultanate. He brought Sulu, Zamboanga Peninsula, Palawan and Basilan under its aegis. Later in 1704, Sabah was added to the constellation as a quid pro quo for the Sultan’s help in quelling the Brunei civil war which had been raging for decades.
The navigational error that landed Ferdinand Magellan to Limasawa brought the Philippines to the awareness of Europe and opened the door to Spanish colonial incursion. The Spaniards introduced Christianity and a political system of church-state dichotomy encountering fierce resistance in the devastating Moro wars from 1578 to 1899.
After Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States, American forces came to Jolo and ended the 23 years of Spanish military occupation (1876- to 1899). On August 20, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II and Brig. Gen John C. Bates signed the Bates Agreement that continued the gradual emasculation of the Sultanate started by Spain (Treaty of 1878) until its final inertia on March 1915 when the Sultan abdicated his temporal powers in the Carpenter Agreement. The Agreement totally vanished opposition against the civilian government of Gov. Frank W. Carpenter.
The Department of Mindanao and Sulu under Gov. Carpenter was created by Philippine Commission Act 2309 (1914) and ended on February 5, 1920 by Act of Philippine Legislature No. 2878. The Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes was organized and briefly headed by Teofisto Guingona, Sr. With the enactment by the US Congress of the Jones Law (Philippine Autonomy Law) in 1916, ultimate Philippine independence was guaranteed and the Filipinization of public administration began. Sulu, however, had an appointed American governor until 1935 and the Governor General in Manila had a say in Sulu affairs. At any rate, the essence of local governance forged by Rajah Baguinda continued to permeate the ethos of Sulu politics despite centuries of colonial presence. History points to a local government in Sulu that antedates other similar systems in the country. Today, Sulu has a locally constituted government under the new leadership of Governor Benjamin T. Loong and is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Sulu's area is 1,600.4 kilometers square, and is 15th largest island of the Philippine Archipelago, in terms of the area. Sulu is a part of the Sulu Archipelago, which is near the island of Borneo. The main island and also its islets are in-between the island-provinces of Basilan to the northeast, and Tawi-Tawi to the southwest.
Their traditional religio-political structure is the sultanate. The sultan is the head of all ranks within the sultanate. Succession is by election by his staff although patrilineal succession is the ideal.
The Tausugs are referred to as ‘people of the current’, reflective of their close ties to the sea. The handicrafts of Sulu mirror Islamic and Indonesian influences. Skilled artisans make boats, bladed weapons, bronze and brassware, pis cloth, embroidered textiles, shellcraft, traditional house carvings, and carved wooden grave markers.
Fishing is the most important industry since the Sulu Sea is one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. The province also have a extensive pearl industry. Pearls are extensively gathered and a pearl farm is established at Marungas Island. The backs of sea turtles are made into beautiful trays and combs. During breaks from fishing, the people build boats and weave mats. Other industries include coffee processing and fruit preservation.
Sulu is subdivided into 19 municipalities.
|Municipality|| No. of|
|Area(km²)|| Pop. density|
|Hadji Panglima Tahil (Marunggas)|
|Panglima Estino (New Panamao)|