Rajah Sulayman

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Rajah Sulayman
Rajah of Maynila
Malate Monument.jpg
Monument of Rajah Sulayman in Malate, Manila
Reign 1571–1575
Predecessor Rajah Matanda
Successor Magat Salamat
Born 1558
Died 1575 (aged 16–17)
House Tondo, Maynila and Namayan
Religion Sunni Islam

Rajah Sulayman also Sulayman III (1558–1575),[1] was the Rajah or ruler of the Kingdom of Maynila, a pre-Hispanic Moro vassal-kingdom of the Sultanate of Brunei at the mouth of the Pasig River in what is now Manila, Philippines. He also inherited rule of nearby Tondo and Namayan, becoming the first sovereign to hold all three realms in personal union.

He was the kingdom's penultimate indigenous ruler, as the state (along with Luzon and most of the archipelago), was gradually absorbed into the Spanish Empire beginning in the late 16th century. His eldest son, Bunao Dula, was crowned Lakan (paramount ruler) when Sulayman I was too sick to function as monarch. Sulayman I is the grandson of Abdul Bolkiah of the Sultanate of Brunei and the son of Sulayman Bolkiah. Sulayman l did not use the surname Bolkiah but instead used the official title of Rajah Soliman Dula l, to mark the new era of a united Manila aristocracy.[2][3][4]

Sulayman III resisted Spanish forces, and thus, along with Rajah Matanda and Lakan Dula, was one of three monarchs who defended and figured greatly in the Spanish conquest of the Port of Manila and the Pasig River delta in the early 1570s.[5]


Spanish documents note that Sulayman's subjects called him Raja Mura or Raja Muda (from the Sanskrit raja). The Spanish glossed this name as "Young Raja", a reference to the fact that he was Raja Matanda's nephew and heir apparent. The Spaniards also called him Raja Solimano el Mow.[1]

According to the genealogy proposed by Mariano A. Henson[6] in 1955, and asserted by Majul in 1973,[7] Sulayman was the 14th[6] Raja of Manila since it was founded as a Muslim[6] principality in 1258[6] by Rajah Ahmad when he defeated the Majapahit Suzerain Raja Avirjirkaya.[6]

Spanish conquest of Manila (1570–1571)[edit]

Rajah Sulayman was there when the invasion of Legazpi occurred. His predecessor asserted ancestry from Alexander the Great, Lakanduli, whose predecessor was Kanduli, whose predecessor was Rajah Nicoy who ruled the Muslim area in Manila before the Spanish invasion. It is believed that Islam would have disseminated all over the Philippines but for the Spanish invasion since both Luzon and Visayas saw the arrival of Islam.[8] The Spanish conquest was fought against by Rajah Lakandula, Rajah Matanda, and their nephew Rajah Sulayman. Brunei's Sultan had familial ties with the Borneo originated royals who ruled Manila. Manila was converted by Muslims from Borneo.[9] The war by Christians against Islam in the archipelago which terminated with the 1913 Bud Bagsak battle between Sulu and Americans began in 1571 Martin de Goiti and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and their subordinate army of Visayans, Latin-American soldiers and Spaniards attacked Rajah Sulayman's Manila Kingdom of Muslims and conquered it. Being part of its ancient trading ports and traditional ally, the Spanish experienced spectacular and catastrophic military assaults at the hands of the Muslim Moros from the Sama, Iranun, Maguindanaon and Suluk ethnicities after their conquest of Manila. This signal the start of the age old sovereign based conflict in the Archipelago.[10] The royals and nobility of Brunei converted the royals of Manila to Islam and established familiar relations by matrimony which is why Rajah Sulayman was a known Muslim when the Spanish arrived.[11] Julkipli M. Wadi wrote Rajah Sulayman, Spain and the transformation of the Islamic Manila.[12] Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo, and Martín de Goiti led the invasion by the Spanish against Rajah Lakandula, Rajah Matanda and Maynila's final Muslim ruler, Rjaha Sulayman III. Jose N. Svilla composed a Tagalog language Rajah Suulayman bio.[13] A monument dedicated to Rajah Sulayman was erected by the inhabitants in memory of his resistance and martyrdom against the Spanish.[14] Tondo ruled by Lakandula and Manila ruled by Sulayman were both Muslim since Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Sulu all experienced Islamic proselytization. Muslims were already all over the islands of the Philippines during the entry of the Spanish.[15]

This area was a pre-colonial Indianized kingdom of Sri Vijaya and at their arrival has already shifted to Majapahit Empire. The Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, searching for a suitable place to establish his capital after moving from Cebu to Panay due to Portuguese claim of the Archipeago, sent Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo on an expedition northwards to Luzon upon hearing of a prosperous kingdom there.[16]

Goiti anchored at Cavite and established his authority by sending a "message of friendship" to the states surrounding the Pasig River. Sulayman, who had been given authority over these settlements by the ageing Rajah Matanda, was willing to accept the "friendship" from the Spaniards. However, he refused to cede his sovereignty, and had no choice but to waged war against the new arrivals' demands. As a result, Goíti and his army invaded the kingdoms in June 1570, sacked and burned the great city before returning to Panay.[16]

Tarik Sulayman and the Battle of Bankusay (1571)[edit]

Some controversy exists about the identity of the leader of the Macabebe people that initiated the Battle of Bankusay in 1571. That chieftain is referred to by Filipino historians as Tarik Sulayman.[17] In some versions of the Battle of Bankusay, Tarik Sulayman of Macabebe and Sulayman III of Manila are the same person,[18][19] while other contend that they are two separate individuals.[20]

Spanish documents do not identify the leader of the Macabebe revolt by name, but record that he died during the 1571 Battle of Bankusay, resulting in a Macabebe retreat and Spanish victory.[20][21] Sulayman III, on the other hand, is clearly recorded as participating in the Revolt of 1574, and thus cannot be the unnamed figure who died in 1571 at Bankusay.[citation needed]

The "Sulayman Revolt" (1574)[edit]

When López de Legazpi died in 1572, his successor, Governor-General Guido de Lavezaris, did not honour their agreements with Sulayman and Lakan Dula. He sequestered the properties of both kings and tolerated Spanish atrocities.[5]

In response, Sulayman and Lakan Dula led a revolt in the villages of Navotas in 1574, taking advantage of the confusion brought about by the attacks of Chinese pirate Limahong. This is often referred to as the "Manila Revolt of 1574" but is sometimes referred to as the "Sulayman Revolt" and the "Lakan Dula Revolt." Since it involved naval forces, the Sulayman Revolt is also known as the "First Battle of Manila Bay".[5]

Friar Geronimo Marín and Juan de Salcedo were tasked with pursuing conciliatory talks with the kingdoms. Lakan Dula and Sulayman agreed to Salcedo's peace treaty and an alliance was formed between the two groups.[5]


According to Meranau history

  • Rajah Sulayman
  • Rajah Indarafatra
  • Rajah Umaka'an


In Rizal Park in Manila, the Philippines erected a statue to commemorate Rajah Sulayman as a hero against Spanish invasion.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rodil, Awang Romeo Duana (April 18, 2008). "The Muslim Rulers of Manila". melayuonline.com. Retrieved October 4, 2008. 
  2. ^ Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young. City of Manila: Anvil Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-971-569-313-4. 
  3. ^ Scott, William Henry (1994). Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. ISBN 971-550-135-4. 
  4. ^ Dery, Luis Camara (2001). A History of the Inarticulate. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-1069-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d 222. "Rajah Soliman". National Heroes. Globalpinoy.com. Retrieved February 5, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Henson, Mariano A (1955). The Province of Pampanga and its towns (A.D. 1300-1955) with the genealogy of the rulers of central Luzon. Manila: Villanueva Books. 
  7. ^ Majul, César Adib (1973). Muslims in the Philippines. Diliman: University of the Philippines Asian Center. 
  8. ^ Struggle for Freedom' 2008 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 2008. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0. 
  9. ^ William Larousse (2001). A Local Church Living for Dialogue: Muslim-Christian Relations in Mindanao-Sulu, Philippines : 1965-2000. Gregorian Biblical BookShop. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-88-7652-879-8. 
  10. ^ Samuel K. Tan (2010). The Muslim South and Beyond. UP Press. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-971-542-632-9. 
  11. ^ K S Nathan; Mohammad Hashim Kamali (January 2005). Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-981-230-283-0. 
  12. ^ http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4840373
  13. ^ http://tagaloglang.com/Famous-Filipinos/Leaders/rajah-soliman-last-muslim-king-of-manila.html http://tagaloglang.com/rajah-soliman-last-muslim-king-of-manila/
  14. ^ http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMAY5X_Rajah_Sulayman__Manila_Philippines http://img.groundspeak.com/waymarking/display/1dd72826-1372-42c5-a4bc-ee8583239d43.jpg https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-waymarking-images/1dd72826-1372-42c5-a4bc-ee8583239d43_d.jpg
  15. ^ Struggle for Freedom' 2008 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 2008. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0. 
  16. ^ a b Filipiniana: Act of Taking Possession of Luzon by Martin de Goiti; accessed September 6, 2008.
  17. ^ Tantingco, Robby (October 24, 2006). "First Filipino martyr for freedom". Sun Star Pampanga. 
  18. ^ History of Manila; accessed September 8, 2008.
  19. ^ Rajah Sulayman - Manila, Philippines, waymarking.com; accessed August 10, 2015.
  20. ^ a b Piedad-Pugay, Chris Antonette (June 6, 2008). "The Battle of Bangkusay: A Paradigm of Defiance against Colonial Conquest". National Historical Institute Website. National Historical Institute. 
  21. ^ San Agustin, Gaspar de. Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas 1565–1615 (in Spanish and English). Translated by Luis Antonio Mañeru (1st bilingual ed.). Intramuros, Manila, 1998: Pedro Galende, OSA. 
  22. ^ "Rajah Sulayman - Manila, Philippines - Statues of Historic Figures on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajah Sulaiman II
Rajah of Namayan
Succeeded by
Magat Salamat
as King without a title in the Cabeza de Barangay (leader of the Province).
Preceded by
Lakan Dula
Rajah of Tondo and Sabag