Royal Sultanate of Sulu – Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam


An armed group calling itself “The Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” is holed up in the seaside village of Tanduao in Lahad Datu town, where they landed in speedboats on February 12 after crossing the sea from Simunul Island in the Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi.


Who are these people?

Earliest human migration and settlement into the region is believed to have dated back about 20,000–30,000 years ago. These early humans are believed to be Australoid or Negrito people. The next wave of human migration, believed to be Austronesian Mongoloids, occurred around 3000 BC.

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.

The Sultanate of Brunei began after the ruler of Brunei embraced Islam. During the reign of the fifth sultan known as Bolkiah between 1473–1524, the Sultanate’s thalassocracy extended over Sabah, Sulu Archipelago and Manila in the north, and Sarawak until Banjarmasin in the south. In 1658, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the northern and eastern portion of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu in compensation for the latter’s help in settling a civil war in the Brunei Sultanate. In 1749, the Sultanate of Borneo ceded southern Palawan, to Spain. Within late 1700s, Sultanate of Sulu gave up the rest of its territories to Spain.

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

Heirs of the Sultan of Sulu

Center in the first row is Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III

The Tausug or Suluk people are an ethnic group of the Philippines and Malaysia. The term Tausug was derived from two words tao and sug (or suluk) meaning “people of the current”, referring to their homelands in the Sulu Archipelago.  The Tausug are part of the wider political identity of Muslims of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan known as the Moro ethnic group, who constitute the third largest ethnic group of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

The Tausug currently number about 953,000 in the Philippines. In Malaysia live around 300,000 and 12,000 can be found in Indonesia.

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