List of sultans of Sulu
|Sultans of Sulu |
|First monarch||Rajah and Sharif ul-Hāshim|
Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram|
(last recognised Sultan)
(Sultanate of Sulu was said to be founded on 1405)
|Residence||Datu Sangahan, Sulu|
Sulu was divided into three Kingdoms before the Sultanate arose.
|1|| East King Paduka Pahala (Paduka Batara) |
|1|| Cave (Dong) King Paduka Patulapok |
|1|| West King Maharaja Kamalud Din (Mahalachii) |
The Hashemite Sharif ul-Hāshim of Sulu arrived in Sulu and married Princess Dayang-dayang Paramisuli from the previous royal family, founding the Sulu Sultanate.
List of sultans from 1405 to 1936
The following list details the holders of the title of sultan between 1405 and 1936.
|1|| Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim|
|The founder of the Sulu sultanate, whose proper name was Abu Bakr. He founded The Royal Sultanate of Sulu in 1457 and renamed himself Paduka Mahasari Maulana al-Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim, which roughly translates from Arabic as "The Master His Majesty, Protector and Sultan, Noble of the Banu Hashim Clan". The Sultan is reported to have lived about thirty years in Buansa, the first seat of the sultanate, and his tomb is located in one of the slopes of nearby Mount Tumantangis.|
|The son of the Sharif ul-Hashim who succeeded his father as sultan.|
|Sulu genealogy suggests that he was a brother of Kamalud-Din, a son of Sultan Shariful-Hashim, but believed not to be proclaimed the "Sultan of Sulu".|
|4|| Sultan Amirul-Umara|
|His title is believed to be the Arabic translation of Maharajah-di-rajah, found as the fourth sultan in some tarsilas. Some Sulu genealogies do not mention him. Believed to be the Sultan Bolkiah.|
|He is the Maharajah Upo (grandchild) of Sharif ul-Hashim. Some genealogies states that he succeeded to the sultanate upon the death of Kamalud-Din.|
|6||Sultan Nasirud-Din I|
|The son of Sultan Muizz ul-Mutawadi-in. His surname was Digunung or Habud, suggesting that he grew up in, or ruled from, the interior of Sulu.|
|7||Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim|
|The son of Sultan Nasirud-Din I. His other name was Pangiran Buddiman, which was the name by which he was probably known.|
|8||Sultan Batarah Shah Tengah|
|The son of Sultan Muhammad ul-Halim. "Batarah" was a title used by Sulu rulers as early as the beginning of the fifteenth century, and Brunei annals always referred to Sulu rulers by this term. Died without heir.|
|9||Sultan Muwallil Wasit I|
|The nephew of Sultan Batara Shah Tengah (the son of his sister who married Sultan Hassan of Brunei). He was known to Spaniards as Raja Bongsu; his royal bloodline is that of Brunei. One of his daughters married Sultan Qudarat of Maguindanao, while another daughter married Balatamay (Baratamay), the ruler of Buayan in 1657. Around 1650, his son Bachtiar took over the sultanate. Moved Sulu Royal court to Dungun, Tawi-Tawi after the Capture of Jolo by the Spaniards in 1638.|
|10||Sultan Nasir ud-Din II|
|Either Sultan Muwallil Wasit's son who ruled following his father's defeat at the hands of the Spaniards at Jolo, or believed to be the Sultan Qudarat who became sultan by virtue of his marriage to the previous sultan's Daughter, after which the throne reverted to Wasit once again, after a certain Sarikula died in 1648.|
|11||Sultan Salahud-Din Bakhtiar|
|Known to Spanish authorities as Pangiran Bactial and to Dutch officials as Pangiran Batticale. After his death, he was called Marhum Karamat. Due to his father's old age, as well as the number of his father's followers, he did not become sultan until around 1650, if not a year earlier. He installed the "3 Temporary Sultans of Sulu" to sit on the Sulu throne from 1680–1685 due to the very young age of his son.|
|12||Sultan Ali Shah||Not mentioned in the Sulu genealogy but produced an heir in Shahabud-Din (No. 15). His reign was short and peaceful.|
|13||Sultan Nur ul-Azam||Daughter of Sultan Nasirud-Din II, who was also known as Pangyan Ampay or Sitti Kabil (Arabic, meaning grand mistress), and ruled for four or five years.|
|14||Sultan Al Haqunu Ibn Wali ul-Ahad||The name "Ibn Wali ul-Ahad" is Arabic for "son of the rajah muda" (heir apparent). Is speculated to be the son of Sarikula and helped govern with his cousin Sultan Salah ud-Din.|
|The son of Salah ud-Din. It was he who killed Sultan Kahar ud-Din Kuda of Maguindanao in 1702 and "ceded" Palawan to the Spanish government in 1705.|
|16||Sultan Mustafa Shafi ud-Din|
|The younger brother of Shahab ud-Din he was also known as Juhan Pahalawan. He abdicated the throne in favour of his younger brother Badar ud-Din to avoid future dynastic troubles.|
|17||Sultan Badarud-Din I|
|The younger brother of the two previous sultans, he was known to different Spanish authors as "Bigotillos" or "Barbillas", or as "el Rey Viejo de Tawi-Tawi". His mother is a Tirun lady from the northeast coast of Borneo. In 1732, a nephew (or grand nephew) contested his rule which led to his retirement to Tawi-Tawi where he was then known as Sultan Dungun. He died around 1740 in Dungun during the reign of his son Azimud-Din I.|
|He was either a son or grandson (by a daughter) of Shahab ud-Din and was known to the Spaniards as Datu Sabdula (Arabic, Abdullah). In 1731, he challenged the rule of Badar ud-Din, forcing the latter to take leave and retire in 1732. The intrigues of Badar ud-Din led to the proclamation of Azim ud-Din (a son of Badar ud-Din) as sultan in 1735. After a series of desultory skirmishes between the factions of Nasar ud-Din and Azim ud-Din, the former left for Maimbung where he generally remained till he died around 1735. He was also referred to as Dipatuan.|
|19|| Sultan Alimud-Din I|
|Son of Badarud-Din. His royal families were then known as "The Sulu Sultanate First Heir-Apparents Families". His father proclaimed him ruler in Tawi-Tawi in 1735. In 1736, after a few intrigues had paved the way, a number of Datus asked Alimud-Din to transfer his court from Dungun to Bauang (Jolo). But a political struggle in 1748 forced him to leave Jolo for Basilan and then Zamboanga. His younger brother, Datu Bantilan, was then proclaimed sultan. In the meantime, he went to Manila where he remained for sometime, including a few years of imprisonment. He returned an old man to Jolo in 1764. In the same year, on 8 June, he was formally reinstated on the throne. In 1773, tired of affairs of state, he formally handed over the affairs of state to his son Muhammad Israil. He had two periods of reign; 1735–1748 and 1764–1773.|
|20||Sultan Bantilan Muizzud-Din|
|Known to Spanish officials and priests as Datu or Pangiran Bantilan, he was a younger brother of Alimud-Din I. His families were then known as "The Sulu Sultanate Second Heir-Apparent" (The Maharajah Adinda Families), the second-line heirs to the Sulu Sultanate after the First Heir-Apparents lines.|
|21|| Sultan Mohammad Israel|
|One of the sons of Alimud-Din I, who abdicated his power to his son in November 1773. Mohammad Israel did not formally assume power until early the next year. He was believed to have been poisoned by either the partisans of his cousin or the cousin himself, Alimud-Din II (a son of Sultan Bantilan Muizzud-Din I), in 1778.|
|22||Sultan Alimud-Din II|
|The son of Muizzud-Din I, he governed Sulu with his brother after the death of their father starting around the middle of 1763. By the end of that year, Alimud-Din II had become, for all practical purposes, the sultan. With the arrival of his uncle Alimud-Din I from Manila in 1764, whom he received well, Alimud-Din II left his followers for Parang. In 1778, he succeeded Muhammad Israel. He reigned until his death in 1789.|
|Another son of Alimud-Din I, he lived to a venerable old age. Ten years earlier the Spaniards were expecting him to die at any moment and were thus worried that a successor antagonistic to them might ascend the throne.|
|24||Sultan Alimud-Din III|
|The son of Sharapud-Din, he died the same year as his father. According to a report, he reigned only for forty days. Most likely he died in a smallpox epidemic that raged through Jolo that year.|
|25||Sultan Aliyud-Din I|
|The younger brother of Alimud-Din III.|
|The brother of Aliyud-Din I.|
|27||Sultan Jamalul-Kiram I|
|According to some sources his real name was Muwalil Wasit (cousin to Brunei Sultan Nasiruddin whose niece—Mohandun's husband—was Brunei's Maharaja Anddin). Muwalil Wasit was the son of Alimud-Din III.|
|28||Sultan Moh. Pulalun Kiram|
|The son of Jamalul-Kiram I, whose cousin the Maharaja Adinda (son of Mohandun) in 1859 was made Crown Prince to Sultan Pulalun, due to the latter being childless.|
|29||Sultan Jamal ul-Azam|
|The proxy of Mohammad Pulalun Kiram. On 22 January 1878, he signed a treaty under which the territory of the eastern part of northern Borneo was ceded to an Austro-Hungarian consul Baron von Overbeck.|
|30||Sultan Badarud-Din II|
|A descendant of Paduka Batara, eastern Sulu king who had died in Denzou-China, 19-year-old Sultan Badaruddin died in 1884 without leaving any male heir.|
|31||Sultan Harun Ar-Rashid|
|A descendant of Alimud-Din I, through Datu Putong. Spanish intrigues led to his proclamation as sultan by a few Datus in 1881, until forced to abdicate in 1894 in favor of Jamalul-Kiram-II, a younger brother of Badarud-Din II, who had already been proclaimed as Sultan of Sulu, the abdication being a recognition by Spanish authorities of Jamalul-Kiram-II's legitimacy. Harun Ar-Rashid retired to Palawan, where he died in April 1899.|
|32||Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II|
|The younger brother of Badarud-Din II. He was proclaimed Sultan of Sulu by his followers in 1884 as the son of Jamalul A'Lam. According to some sources, his real name was Amirul Kiram Awal-II. His proclamation as sultan was contested by Datu Aliud-Din, a grandson of Sultan Shakirul-Lah, but without any success. Aliud-Din was forced to flee to Basilan. It was Harun Ar-Rashid who tried to mediate between Jamalul-Kiram and Aliud-Din, until the Spaniards thought it expedient to have Harun Ar-Rashid himself proclaimed Sultan. The Spaniards were led eventually to deal with Jamalul-Kiram II as the Sultan of Sulu in spite of his repeated refusal to go to Manila on a state visit. In 1915, Jamalul-Kiram II virtually surrendered his political powers to the United States government under the 1915 Carpenter Agreement. Jamalul-Kiram II died on 7 June 1936, without leaving any son nor heir. Although he had seven daughters, no woman could be appointed as heir or successor according to Islamic law.|
List of Sultans from 1936 to 1950
The political sovereignty of the Sultanate was abolished in 1915. However non-sovereign powers such as the right to confer titles—as well as cultural, proprietary, and religious authority—remained. The descendants of the royal family are still recognised and honoured as de facto royalty by the people in Sulu and by others..
After the death of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II in 1936, the Philippine Government, the successors in sovereignty to the United States of America, decided not to recognise the continued existence of the Sulu sultanate, according to a letter to the Governor of North Borneo dated 28 July 1936, from His Britannic Majesty's Consul General in Manila. After that decision several legitimate claimants and pretenders to the throne of Sulu appeared. During World War II, Japanese and American forces exerted influence in Sultanates affairs, each recognising a pretender supportive of their agenda.
List of Sultans from 1950 to 1986
In 1962, the Philippine government of President Diosdado Macapagal officially recognised the continued existence of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu, and, on 24 May 1974, officially recognised Sultan Mohammad Mahakuttah Kiram (reigned 1974–1986), under Memo Order 427, which was issued by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, and which stated that "The Government has always recognised the Sultanate of Sulu as the legitimate claimant to the historical territories of the Republic of Philippines" and that Mahakuttah A. Kiram is officially recognised as the Sultan of Sulu with the government being obligated to support his coronation on that date, his 8-year-old eldest son, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, being crowned beside his father as Raja Muda (Crown Prince). On 16 February 1986, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, succeeded his father to become the Head of the Royal House of Sulu. As the eldest son of the former Sultan Mahakuttah, he is the legitimate heir to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu.
The following list details the holders of the title Sultan between 1950 and 1986, who are officially recognised by the Philippine Government.
|1|| Sultan Mohammed Esmail Kiram I|
|He was the eldest son of Raja Muda Muwallil Wasit II and the legally recognised successor to the Sultan of Sulu. Sultan Mohammed Esmail Kiram granted authority to the Philippine government under the administrations of President Diosdado Macapagal, on 12 September 1962, and of President Ferdinand Marcos, in 1972, under which documents the Philippine government again officially "recognised" the continued existence of the Sulu sultanate and the office of Sultan of Sulu. His eldest son, Datu Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram, was his Raja Muda (Crown Prince).|
|2||Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah Abdullah Kiram|
|He was the eldest son of Sultan Mohammed Esmail E. Kiram I and the heir apparent to the throne. He was the last Sultan of Sulu officially recognised by the Ruma Bichara and by the Philippine government. In Memorandum Order 427 (1974), then-Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos declared that Mahakuttah A. Kiram was the legitimate heir and that the government was obligated to support his coronation as Sultan of Sulu, which took place on 24 May 1974. At the same time, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, the eldest son, being then 8 years old, was crowned beside his father as Raja Muda (Crown Prince) of Sulu.|
List of Self-proclaimed Sultans from 1980 to 2013, as recognised by the Provincial Government of Sulu
After the death of Sultan Mahakuttah A. Kiram, the Philippine national government failed to formally recognise a new Sultan. Mahakutta's Crown Prince Muedzul Lail Kiram, the heir to the throne according to the line of succession as recognised by the Philippine governments from 1915 to 1986, was 20 years old upon his father's death. Due to his young age, he failed to claim the throne at a time of political instability in the Philippines that led to peaceful revolution and the subsequent removal of President Marcos. The gap in the sultanate leadership was filled by crown claimants from rival branches. Therefore, the following Sultans were not crowned with the support of, nor received formal recognition from, the Philippine government as their predecessors had until 1986. However, the Philippine national government decided to deal with one or more of these claimants regarding issues concerning the sultanate's affairs.
|1||Mohammed Punjungan Kiram|
|Younger brother of Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I. On 11 October 1939, the Sessions Court of North Borneo granted him administration rights over the property and credits of his deceased father, Raja Muda Muwallil Wasit II. Punjungan Kiram was made Crown Prince under Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I, on the condition that he transfer his rights of succession to the son of the Sultan when the son comes of legal age. (This condition was rarely used, as the law of succession would be complicated by such abnormal provisions. The primogeniture law of succession allows only for the title-holder's male heir, and the successor to Punjungan Kiram should be his own oldest son Jamalul Kiram III.) When the condition was met, instead of resigning from his position as Raja Muda, Punjungan Kiram exiled himself to Malaysia and later returned to contest the reign of his nephew Mahakuttah A. Kiram, who had lawfully replaced him as Crown Prince, and who was later recognised by President Ferdinand Marcos as Sultan, based on Mahakuttah A Kiram being Crown Prince and at Abraham Rasul's recommendation. Punjungan Kiram was the father of Jamalul Kiram III and Esmail Kiram II.|
|From the family of Jainal Abirin, he claimed the title for a short time.|
|3||Jamal ul-Kiram III|
|Eldest son of Punjungan Kiram and elder brother of Esmail Kiram II. He was the so-called "Interim Sultan of Sulu" from 1974–1981 during the absence of his father in Sabah (but not recognised by the Philippine government). In 1986, he proclaimed himself as the Sultan of Sulu; he later retired, replaced by Mohammad Akijal Atti, in 1990. He was in violation of the sultanate's law of succession by leaving Sulu for Manila to enter politics. A decade-long dispute over succession rights within the family ended on 11 November 2012, when claimants met and Jamalul Kiram III was proclaimed sultan along with his brother Esmail Kiram II. He then proclaimed Agbimuddin Kiram as Raja Muda (heir apparent). In February 2013, he organised the intrusion into the eastern part of Sabah, which turned into a violent standoff; and he was labelled a "terrorist" by both the Malaysian and Sabah state governments, when his followers killed Malaysian security personnel and mutilated their bodies, and were intent on taking Sabahan residents as hostages. Jamalul Kiram III died on 20 October 2013.|
|4||Mohammad Akijal Atti|
|Succeeded Jamalul Kiram III in 1990 as regent, and was succeeded by Jamalul Kiram's brother Esmail Kiram II in 1999.|
|5||Esmail Kiram II|
|Second son of Punjungan Kiram and younger brother of Jamalul Kiram III. Due to different regional spellings, as can be found at government and newspaper sites, his name appears as Esmail, Esmael, Ismail, or Ismael. He proclaimed himself as "Reigning Sultan". confirmed by the elders of Sulu, in 2001, when his older brother Jamalul Kiram III left Sulu, to Manila to enter showbusiness and politics. The November 2012 agreement allowed Jamalul Kiram III to once again be proclaimed Sultan alongside Esmail Kiram II, and their brother Agbimuddin Kiram was confirmed as Raja Muda (heir apparent) to both. Sultan Esmail Kiram II recognised Jamalul Kiram III, as the oldest brother, as the legitimate leader and organiser of the February 2013 "Sabah Homecoming of Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram", as agreed to by the family, and due to the illness of Jamalul Kiram, who styled himself as "Sultan Proper" (having abdicated). The homecoming led to a standoff, due to the unpopularity of Jamalul Kiram, for which both received criticism. Abdulah Kiram was his son and possible heir, but his brother Agbimuddin Kiram was confirmed as Raja Muda (heir apparent) in 2012, led the Sabah standoff in 2013 and died on 13 January 2015 while still in hiding. Sultan Esmail Kiram II died on 19 September 2015.|
The current legitimate claimant
These are the current claimants.
|1||Fuad Abdullah Kiram I||Fuad Abdullah Kiram I is the brother of Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah Abdullah Kiram, the last Sultan of Sulu officially recognised by the Philippine government. He is a claimant.|
|2||Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram|| Sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram—the eldest son, legitimate heir, and successor to the late Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram (sultan 1974–1986)—is the current head of the Royal House of Sulu, from 16 February 1986 to the present. As a child of eight, on 24 May 1974, he was crowned Raja Muda (Crown Prince, heir to the throne) of the Sultanate of Sulu, on the same day his father was crowned Sultan of Sulu.
These coronations—of the Sultan and the Raja Muda—were endorsed by Ferdinand Marcos in his capacity as President of the Philippines. Memorandum Order No. 427, issued at the time, affirms: "The Government has always recognised the Sultanate of Sulu as the legitimate claimant to the historical territories of the Republic of Philippines". In this document, Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram and (then) Crown Prince Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram were officially recognised by the Republic of the Philippines as the legitimate holder and the legitimate successor to the historic Sultanate of Sulu.
On 16 February 1986, after his late Majesty Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah A. Kiram of Sulu and North Borneo passed away, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram became Head of the Royal House of Sulu and North Borneo (Kiram Dynasty).
During his time as Raja Muda, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram studied at the Universidad de Zamboanga (Zamboanga City, Philippines), and was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts. His Majesty pursued further studies in Lahore (Pakistan) during 1995 and 1996.
In 2011, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram exercised his head-of-house dynastic rights as a fons honorum (font of honour) to institute and establish the Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl of Sulu, becoming the first Grand Sayyid (Grand Master) of this Order.
Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram was crowned as the 35th legitimate Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo on 16 September 2012. The coronation events took place in Mainbung (Sulu), in the presence of dignitaries of the sultanate, foreign guests, other dignitaries, and a large number of the people of Sulu. Subsequent to the coronation, His Majesty reaffirmed, as de jure sultan, his earlier dynastic institution of the Royal Order of the Pearl, also reconfirming his position within the Order as Grand Sayyid.
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