History

Mindanao is named after the Maguindanaons who constituted the largest Sultanate historically, and evidence from maps made during the 17th and 18th centuries suggests that the name was used to refer to the island by natives at the time. Evidence of human occupation dates back tens of thousands of years. In prehistoric times the Negrito people arrived. Sometime around 1500 BC Austronesian peoples spread throughout the Philippines and far beyond.

Islam first spread to the region during the 13th century through Arab traders from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia. Prior to this contact, the inhabitants of the area were primarily animists living in small autonomous communities. The indigenous population was quickly converted and the first mosque in the Philippines was built in the mid 14th century in the town of Simunul. The Philippine sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao were subsequently in the 15th and 16th centuries, respectively. In the late 16th to early 17th centuries, the first contact with Spain occurred. By this time, Islam was well established in Mindanao and had started influencing groups as far north as present-day Manila on the island of Luzon.

Upon the Spaniards’ arrival to the Philippines, they were dismayed to find such a strong Muslim presence on the island, having just expelled the Moors from Spain after centuries of fighting. In fact, the name Moros (the Spanish word for “Moors”) was given to the Muslim inhabitants by the Spanish.

Today, the region is home to most of the country’s Muslim or Moro populations, composed of many ethnic groups such as the Maranao and the Tausug, the Banguingui (users of the vinta), as well as the collective group of indigenous tribes known as the Lumad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: