Sultanate of Maguindanao

Sultanate of Maguindanao
Kasultanan sa Maguindanao
Kasultanan ng Maguindanao
Kesultanan Maguindanao
الملكي سلطنة ماجوينداناو
كسولتانن ماڬوايندنااو


Approximate extent of influence of the Sultanate of Maguindanao in the 17th century.
Capital Kuta Wato
Languages Maguindanao, Arabic, Iranun, Maranao, and Manobo
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Absolute monarchy
   1521–1543 Sharif Kabungsuwan (first)
  1597–1619 Laut Buisan
  1619–1671 Dipatuan Kudarat
  ?? Muhammad Hijaban Kudarat (last)
Historical era Spanish colonial era
   Established 1500
   Spanish conquest of Maguindanao 1888
Currency Barter
Succeeded by
Spanish East Indies
Today part of  Philippines

The Sultanate of Maguindanao (Maguindanaoan: Kasultanan sa Maguindanao; Arabic: سلطنة ماجوينداناو; Filipino: Kasultanan ng Maguindanao; Malay: Kesultanan Maguindanao; Jawi: كسولتانن ماڬوايندنااو) was a Sultanate state that ruled parts of the island of Mindanao, in southern Philippines, especially in modern day Maguindanao province. It's known historical influence stretches from the peninsula of Zamboanga to the bay of Sarangani. At it's peak, the sultanate covered the entire island of Mindanao, and ruled over the smaller neighboring islands near and around Mindanao. During the era of European colonization, the Sultanate maintained friendly relations with British and Dutch traders.[1]


Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johor introduced Islam in the area, which was earlier Hindu influenced from Srivijaya times, at the end of the 16th century and established himself as Sultan seated in Malabang-Lanao. He exiled some of his people who deviated from the Islamic faith to Cotabato. He subsequently married many local princesses of the Maguinadanao family ruling class in Dulawan and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao seated in Dulawan and virtually as Sultan of the whole island of the so-called Mindanao.[2] The sultanate was usually centered in the valley of Cotabato.

Asraf Mohamad Samalan Dipatuan Qudratullah Fahar'uddin Nasiruddin, popularly known as Qudarat and whose name as a youth was Ullah Untong, was one of the greatest known sultans who controlled Mindanao. In his island sanctuary in Sulu, he was known as Sultan Nasiruddin and was the Sultan of that island recognized by the Sulu Sultan and his grave still stands there.

Abd al-Rahman, his grandson, continued increasing the Sultanate's power and influence.

During the Spanish colonial period, the Sultanate of Maguindanao was able to defend its territory, preventing the Spaniards from colonizing the entire Mindanao and ceding the island of Palawan to the Spanish government in 1705. The island priory ceded to him by Sulu Sultan Sahabuddin. This was to have help dissuaded Spanish encroachments into the island of Maguindanao.

Chinese gongs, yellow as a color of royalty and idioms originated from Chinese entered into Mindanao.[3] Royalty was connected to yellow.[4] Yellow color was utilized by royalty.[5] The color yellow was used by the Sultan in Mindanao.[6] Chinese tableware and gongs were exported to the Moros.[7]

Merchant Chinese were tranquilly residing alongside the Moros in Maguindanao.[8]

List of Maguindanao Sultans[9]

Tarsilas by Dr. Sleeby and Dr. Majul researched indicated of Sharif Ali Kabungsuwan (Karim Ul-Makdum) was Abu'Baik the brother of Abu'Bkr-Zein Ul-Abidin the Sulu Sultan Sharif Ul-Hashim. Their father was Sultan Betatar of Taif Arabia the 9th generation progeny of Hassan (son of Fatima, the daughter of the Holy Prophet of Islam.). Sharif Kabungsuwan Seated in Malabang Lanao who exiled Muslims to Dulawan Cotabato who had deviated from Islamic Jurisprudence. And again drove those stubborn ones were drove to the hinterlands where they later became the Manobos. Kabungsuwan's mother was a member of the Johore royalty of Singapore. It may be speculated that he arrived on the shores of Mindanao around 1515. He was the second Makdum (Karim Ul-Makdum) who had came and reinforced Islam. He married the daughter of Tomoai Aliwya of the Maguindanao Family Dynasty. After his father in-law's death, the latter's political authority fell on Kabungsuwan who had established the Sultanate of Maguindanao as its first Sultan reighning as Sultan Aliwya.

He was a son of Muhammad Kabungsuwan and surnamed “Saripada”. His mother Angintabu was a daughter of an Iranun chief from the area now known as Malabang. In 1543, during the Villalobos expedition, some Spaniards were able to go to the mouth of a big river (Pulangi) where they were informed by the inhabitants that the chief was called “Sarriparra”. This being a variation of “salipada” or “saripada”, it can be surmised that the chief was the Sharif Maka-alang; especially if it is considered that not only does a tarsila explicitly state that the Sharif had such a title but that such a title was not found among his immediate successors.

He was a son of Sharif Maka-alang. In 1574, Guido de Lavezaris wrote to the Spanish King that the chief of Mindanao River wanted to become a friend of the Spaniards. In another Spanish report dated 1579, this chief is referred to as “Asulutan” (Arabic, As-sulutan) with the information that he was a father of Diman Sankay and that he had already died. This refers probably to Datu Bangkaya who by 1574 must have been reigning for some time, since in 1579, his son Dimansankay, was considered by the Spaniards to have been “an old man”. Datu Bangkaya could also have been the ruler in the Pulangi who was reported to have died in 1578.

He was a son of Bangkaya. Spanish reports say that he was ruling in 1579 and that he was an old man. The leading datus of the Iranuns and Maranaos all claim descent from him.

He was the half-brother of Dimansankay and also known as Gugu Salikula. Up to early 1597, he appeared to be a leading chief of Maguindanao, Dimansankay being dead at that time. According to tarsilas, he married a Sulu princess, and therefore he might have been the Maguindanao chief seen in Jolo in 1597 where he was supposed to have been banished for being “restless and rebellious” and who was further described as a brother-in-law of the Sulu ruler and an uncle of the Maguindanao Rajah Muda (erroneously called “King”) by the Spaniards. He was chief around 1585 to 1597.

He was a younger half-brother of both Dimansankay and Salikula; he was sometimes called by the title “Katchil”. His rule began around 1597 when he displaced Salikula; he controlled his nephew, the Rajah Muda, a son of Dimansankay. He must have been chief at least up to 1619, since Dutch sources mention relations with the immediate predecessor of Qudarat at this date.

A son of Buisan, he was known to the Spaniards as Corralat and to some Dutch writers as Guserat. In 1619-1621, there was war between Buayan and Maguindanao, probably dynastic or a contest for primacy in the Pulangi. Qudarat must have been involved in this war for not long after a temporary reversal he appears as exercising some political power over Buayan. Furthermore, he must have consolidated his power well enough after this to enable him to attack Sarangani in 1625. He died about the end of 1671 after having ruled about half a century. His rule, with varying fortunes and at different capitals can, therefore, be fairly estimated to have taken place from 1619 to 1671. By 1645, he was already using the title of “sultan”. As a young man he was entitled “Katchil”. His great grandchildren referred to him as Nasir ud-Din.

He was a son of Qudarat and there is a report that he died before his father. If he ruled at all, it must have been for a very short time. He was referred to as Saif ud-Din by his grandchildren.
9. SULTAN BARAHAMAN (Arabic, ‘Abd ur-Rahman)
He was a son of Sultan Tidulay. He was also known as Minulu sa rahmatullah. His sons referred to him as Muhammad Shah. He was Almo Sobat (Arabic, Al Mu-Thabbat) to William Dampier or the Almo al Lasab Brahaman to the Spaniards. The name of his grandfather Qudarat was also used by him. He was heard of as sultan early as 1678. Information given to Dutch officials at Ternate was that he died on July 6, 1699.

He was a younger brother of Barahaman and was sometimes known as Jamal ul-‘Azam. He also assumed the title of Amir ul-‘Umara as well as that of Maulana. His reign was contested by two of his nephews, the sons of Barahaman. To make more secure his authority, he asked the aid of the Sulu Sultan Shahab ud-Din who came over to Simuay where Kuda held court. A misunderstanding as well as bitterness due to a long standing feud brought about a pitched battle between the Sulus and Maguindanaos. In the struggle, the Sulu Sultan personally slew Kuda. This event took place on August 10, 1702.

His other regal name was Jalal ud-Din. Entitled “Dipatuan” during his lifetime, he was known after his death as Mupat Batua. He was a son of Sultan Barahaman. In 1701, he was already intriguing against his uncle the Sultan. He succeeded to the throne in 1702 and held court in Slangan but was often in Sibugay. His younger brother Ja’far Sadiq, the Rajah Muda, revolted against him but managed to keep the throne. In 1736, Anwar “abdicated” in favor of his son Tahir ud- Din Malinug (no. 13). He died around 1745.

He was a younger brother of Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar. He was sometimes referred to as Amir ud-Din. Referred to as Maulana while alive, he was known after his death as Shahid Mupat. He contested the reign of his older brother, but he was forced to flee to Tamontaka in 1710. Dutch officials referred to him as “the young king” to distinguish him from Sultan Bayan ul Anwar. By 1725 he had assumed the title of Paduka Sri Sultan. In March 1733, his brother and nephew Malinug attacked his forces in Tamontaka. The latter caused his death in the ensuing struggle. While his brother had power along the coast, Manamir held sway over the interior. His power was recognized in Tamontaka from about 1710 to his death in March 1733.

A son of Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar, he was commonly known to the Spaniards as Dipatuan Malinug. He was also known as Muhammad Shah Amir ud-Din. In a battle in 1733, he killed his uncle Ja’far Sadiq Manamir. In 1736, his father started sharing with him the responsibilities of government. His authority was however contested by two of his cousins, sons of Manamir, forcing him to retire to the interior where he died in Buayan around 1748.

He was a son of Sultan Ja’far Sadiq and was better known to Europeans as Pakir Maulana Kamsa (Arabic, Faqir Maulana Hamzah) or Amir ud-Din Hamza. He also used the name ‘Azim ud-Din and assumed the title Amir ul-Mu’minin. In 1733, after his father was slain, he began to consider himself heir to the throne and thereupon called himself “rajah muda”. The next year, he was formally invested with the duties of a sultan in the presence of the Spanish officials from Zamboanga. With some Spanish aid, he was able to consolidate his position in Tamontaka and contest the rule of his uncle Bayan ul-Anwar and later that of his cousin Malinug. But upon the latter’s death around 1748, the struggle for the sultanate ceased. Pakir Maulana Kamsa emerged as paramount chief of Maguindanao. Around 1755, he started to relinquish some of his powers to his younger brother with the condition that his son, Kibad Sahriyal, would be the “Rajah Muda”.

He was a younger brother of Pakir Maulan Kamsa and was known as Datu Pongloc or Panglu. He began to exercise the powers of sultan around 1755 and was in the sultan’s seat in that same year when Captain Thomas Forrest paid a visit to Maguindanao. After his death he was known as Mupat Hidayat.

His more regal title was Muhammad ‘Azim ud-Din Amir ul-Umara. He was a son of Pakir Maulana Kamsa. Even before the death of his uncle the Sultan, he was already being addressed as “sultan”. He was friendly towards the Spaniards and at least twice entered into peaceful negotiations with them, namely, in 1780 and 1794. He probably governed from 1780 to 1805.

He was a son of Kibad Sahriyal and like his father was also entitled Amir ul-‘Umara. He entered into a peace treaty with the Spaniards in 1805. One of his seals carried the title of Iskandar Julkarnain. He possibly reigned from 1805 to 1830.

He was more popularly known as Sultan Untong. He was a grandson of Kibad Sahriyal and a nephew of Sultan Kawasa. Some Spanish documents carry his name as Iskandar Qudarat Pahar-ud-Din. In 1837 and 1845, he entered into friendly treaties with the Spaniards. He died either in 1853 and 1854.

He was a grandson of Sultan Kawasa Anwar ud-Din. His rule can be estimated to have lasted from about 1854 to 1884. He died in Nuling (in the site of the old settlement of Maguindanao).

Also known as Sultan Wata, he was a son of Sultan Makakwa. His capital was at Banubu, just opposite the town of Cotabato across the Pulangi. His death took place in 1888.

He was a grandson of the famous Datu Dakula of Sibugay, who in turn, was a grandson of Kibad Sahriyal (No. 16). He began his rule in 1896. From 1888 to 1896, the sultanate was vacant. This was probably due to the fact that Datu Utto (Sultan Anwar ud-Din of Buayan) wanted his brother-in-law Datu Mamaku (a son of Sultan Qudratullah Untong) to become the Sultan. The Spaniards, however, wanted the sultanate to go to one of the Sibugay datus. Around the end of 1800, Sultan Mangigin transferred his residence from Cotabato to Sibugay. In 1906, he married Rajah Putri, the widow of Datu Utto and sister of Datu Mamaku.

He assumed the throne upon Mangigin’s death in 1926. By this time, the Sultanate assumed a very ceremonial traditional character. It continued to be the central institution for traditional and religious affairs of the Maguindanaon and Iranon peoples.

See also

Pre-hispanic History of the Philippines
Barangay government
Ten datus of Borneo
States in Luzon
Luyag na Kaboloan (Pangasinan)
Kingdom of Maynila
Kingdom of Tondo
States in the Visayas
Kedatuan of Madja-as
Rajahnate of Cebu
States in Mindanao
Rajahnate of Butuan
Sultanate of Sulu
Sultanate of Maguindanao
Sultanate of Lanao
Key figures
Sulaiman II · Lakan Dula · Sulaiman III · Katuna
Tarik Sulayman · Tupas · Kabungsuwan · Kudarat
Humabon · Lapu-Lapu · Alimuddin I · Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram
History of the Philippines
Portal: Philippines


  1. Palafox, Queenie. "The Sultan of the River". National Historical Commission. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. "The Maguindanao Sultanate", Moro National Liberation Front web site. "The Political and Religious History of the Bangsamoro People, condensed from the book Muslims in the Philippines by Dr. C. A. Majuli." Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  3. Shinzō Hayase (2007). Mindanao Ethnohistory Beyond Nations: Maguindanao, Sangir, and Bagobo Societies in East Maritime Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-971-550-511-6.
  6. Ghislaine Loyré-de-Hauteclocque (1991). The institutions of Maguindanao. Historical Conservation Society. p. 21.
  7. Philippines. Census Office; Ignacio Villamor; Felipe Buencamino (1920). Census of the Philippine Islands Taken Under the Direction of the Philippine Legislature in the Year 1918. Bureau of printing. p. 148.
  8. John Russell Frank, Ph.D. (29 December 2009). On the Road Home: An American Story: A Memoir of Triumph and Tragedy on a Forgotten Frontier. iUniverse. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-4401-9375-0.

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