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Tausug History





The Tausug or SULUK people are an ethnic group in the Philippines and Malaysia. The term Tausug was derived from two words tau and sug (on suluk) meaning “people of the current” referring to their homelands in the same thing , with the former being the phonetic evolution in the Philippines of the latter( the L being dropped and thus the two short U’s merging into one long U). the Tausug people in SABAH refer to themselves as Tausug but refers to their race as SULUK as documented in official documents such as birth certificates in Sabah, Malaysia the Tausug are part of the wider Moro ethnic group, who constitute the sixth largest Filipino ethnic group.




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. Tawi-tawi until his death.

In 1390, raja Bagunda landed at Buansa and extended the missionary work of Makdum. The Arabian scholar Abu Bakr arrived in 1450, married Bagunda’s daughter, and after Bagunda’s a death, He became sultan , thereby introducing the sultanate as a political system. Political districts were created in Parang, Pansulmlati, Gitung and Luuk, each headed by a Pang lima or political 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.

On 1578, an expedition sent by Gov. Francisco De Sande and headed by Capt. Rodriguez De Figueroa began the 300 years warfare between the Tausug and the Spanish authorities. In 1579, the Spanish government gave De Figueroa the role right to colonize Mindanao. In retaliation, the Muslims raided Visayan towns in Panay, Negros, and Cebu. These were repulsed by Spanish and Visayans forces. In the early 17th century , the largest alliance composed if the Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, other Muslim groups was formed by Sultan Kudarat of Maguindanao. Several expeditions sent by the Spanish authorities suffered defeat. In 1635, Capt. Juan De Chavez occupied Zamboanga and erected a part. In 1637, Gov. Gen. Hurtado De Corcuera personally led an expedition against Kudarat, and triumphed ever his forces at Lamitan and Ilain. On 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 as the Spaniards left in 1646.


In 1737, Sultan Alimud Den I entered into a ‘permanent’ peace treaty with Gov Gen F. Valdez Y tamon, and in 1746, befriended the Jesuits sent to Jolo by King Philip.

In 1893, amed 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 warm col. Luis Huerta, the last Governor of SULU, relinquished his garrison to the Americans (Orosa 1970 – 25 -30)

During the Philippines – American war, the Americans adopted a policy of non-interference 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.

After the Philippines – American war , the Americans established direct rules ever the newly formed “Moro province, which consisted of five districts – Zamboanga, Lana, 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 dead tax, the migration of Christians to Muslims 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 more province on 15 December 1913.


Assalamu Alaikum mga Taymanghud

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