NOTES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE SULTANATE OF SULU DURING THE 19th CENTURY
PERIOD OF TEN RULERS
Period of 19th century was in the history of the Sultanate of Sulu very dynamic and marked with various important events. During this century, there was ten Sultans as the heads of state of Sulu. Here will be presented some of the important events, related to their rule in the century of the world’s industrial and technological revolution.
The Sultanate of Sulu entered in the 19th Century as ally of the British Empire. This alliance was dating back to the
mid 18th century, when the two countries started their joint struggle against the Spanish. The British in the 18th century
had their trading post in the Sultanate of Sulu, more precisely at Balambangan island, near the northern coast of Borneo. The
Sultan of Sulu issued a permission for its foundation. This outpost was abandoned by 1775, because it was heavily damaged during the frequent pirate attacks.
At late 18th and early 19th century the Sultanate of Sulu was under the rule of Sultan Sharapud-Din. He was the head of the country from 1789, until his death, in 1808. He lived to old age. He was the son of Sultan Alimud-Din I. During his reign, namely in 1803, the British renewed their presence on the island Balambangan, but this time in the form of military base. From there, however, they withdrew in November 1805.
Sultan Alimud-Din III
Sultan Sharapud-Din was succeeded on the throne by his son, Sultan Alimud-Din III. He ruled very briefly, considered
to be only 40 days. He died in 1808, the same year as his father. He probably died of smallpox, which raged in that year on the main island of Sulu archipelago, Jolo.
Sultan Aliyud-Din I
After Alimud-Din’s death, on the throne of this island monarchy, came his younger brother, a pious Sultan Aliyud-Din I. He ruled between the 1808. and 1821. When the Spanish lost Mexico in 1821, their possessions in the Philippines came under the direct rule of Madrid. This further influenced the deterioration in relations between the Spanish Empire and the Sultanate of Sulu.
In the 1821. Sultan of Sulu became Shakirul-Lah. He was the brother of the Sultans Alimud-Din III and Aliyud-Din I, and the
son of Sharapud-Din. He is remembered as a great benefactor of the poor. He reigned for only two years, until his death, in
Sultan Jamalul-Kiram I
Sultan Jamalul-Kiram I was the son of Sultan AlimudDin III. He ruled the Sultanate of Sulu between 1823. and 1844. The royal House of Kiram, Sultanate of Sulu ruling family, is named after him. The Spanish fleet under the command of Captain
Alonso Morgado in 1824. won a victory over some slave traders and pirates, who came from Sulu. This event improved the
Spanish naval supremacy in these waters. The following period was also marked by several Spanish naval victories, which led
to a reduction in the Sultanate’s maritime power. During 1840s, besides Spanish colonial interests in the territory under the rule of Sulatanate of Sulu, interests among other world powers has increased, such as: France, Britain, Germany and the United States of America.
Sultan Mohammad Pulalun Kiram
Mohammad Pulalun Kiram (Pogdar) was the Sultan of Sulu in the period from 1844, until his death, in 1862. He was the son of the previous ruler of Sulu, Sultan Jamalul-Kiram I. He was regarded as capable administrator and a just ruler. French fleet under Admiral Jean-Baptiste Cécille attacked the Jolo and after that, in 1844/1845, conducted a naval blockade of the island of Basilan, forcing the local leaders to recognize the sovereignty of France, on 13. January 1845. In this way, French forced the Sultanate of Sulu to formally cede Basilan for 100 000 piasters (500 000 francs), on 20. February 1845. Their intention was to create the naval base, similar to British base in Hong Kong. However, they gave up the project, as they were encountered by fierce resistance of the local population and the Spanish Empire. The Spanish also strongly opposed by diplomatic means, claiming that Basilan is part of their possessions in the Philippines. The French issued the proclamation on 5. August 1845, claiming that they have no longer interests in Basilan.
After a long period of mutual devastations and conflicts between the Spanish and the Sultanate of Sulu, in 1848. there
has been a significant shift in favor of the Spanish interests.One of the main causes of this turning point, was remarkable
technological advance of world powers and the emergence of new types of weapons. Especialy introduction of steamships in
the Spanish Navy was of great importance. Establishment of the Spanish fortress Queen Isabella II (Fuerte Isabella Segunda
Reina) in Basilan was also very important, as well as some other factors.
Strong Spanish fleet led by the Governor-General of the Philippines, Narciso Claveria, invaded in 1848. fort Balangingi
on Tungkil, one of the Sultanate of Sulu islands. The fort was conquered, but the local commander managed to avoid
capture. After that, the Spanish conquered Maluso on Basilan island.
During the year 1850, Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines Antonio de Urbistondo, again attacked Balangingi on the island Tungkil and destroyed remaining fortifications.
Sultan Jamalul A’Lam
To the throne of Sultanate of Sulu came Sultan Jamalul A’Lam in 1862. He was son of the previous Sultan, Mohammad Pulalun Kiram. Sultan Jamalul A’Lam was the ruler of Sulu, until his death, in 1881. During his reign, there was a significant number of important events concerning Sultanate. On 21. February 1876, after a series of unsuccessful attempts, the Spanish launched a large-scale attack on Jolo. Their contingent, led by Admiral Jose Malcampo, consisted of 9000 soldiers, 11 cargo ships, 11 gunboats, and 11 steamships. They conquered Jolo and established a Spanish garrison there. This garnison was led by Captain Pascual Cervera. He was assigned to the function of the military governor, which he held until December 1876. Until 1899. this position was held by a certain number of Spanish officers. The Spanish built fort in Jolo, but they did not feel safe there, because of the frequent attacks by the population of Sulu.
On 21. February 1876, after a series of unsuccessful attempts, the Spanish launched a large-scale attack on Jolo. Their contingent, led by Admiral Jose Malcampo, consisted of 9000 soldiers, 11 cargo ships, 11 gunboats, and 11 steamships.
They conquered Jolo and established a Spanish garrison there. This garnison was led by Captain Pascual Cervera. He was
assigned to the function of the military governor, which he held until December 1876. Until 1899. this position was held by a
certain number of Spanish officers. The Spanish built fort in Jolo, but they did not feel safe there, because of the frequent
attacks by the population of Sulu.
Sultan of Sulu signed a peace treaty with the Spanish on 22. July 1878. According to the Spanish version, it was transfer of the sovereignty over Sulu archipelago, while by version in Tausug language it was introducing a protectorate. After the signing of the peace, Sultan Jamalul A’Lam moved his court in Maymbung.
Also, there were some major events on the southern borders of the Sultanate of Sulu, during this period. In 1865, the American Consul to Brunei, Claude Lee Moses, concluded with the Sultanate of Sulu ten-year lease agreement on the North Borneo. Due to financial difficulties, he had to transfer his rights to the Austro-Hungarian consul in Hong Kong, baron Gustav von Overbeck. Sultan Jamalul A’Lam on 22. January 1878. signed an agreement with baron von Overbeck and British, brothers Alfred and Edward Dent. By terms of this agreement, the North Borneo given in a ten-year lease to the Company Dent and Oferbek. In return, the Sultanate received the necessary weapons and certain funds, which are paid annually.
Due to the signing of the mentioned peace of 22nd July 1878, the property of Company Dent and Overbeck at the North Borneo was threatened.
In 1880. Overbeck transferred his rights to the Dent brothers. The British established in July 1881 British North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd. In May 1882, when this association get the Charter of Queen Victoria, they formed the North Borneo Chartered Company. The company strengthened in this area, and stopped the spread of the Spanish sphere of influence to Borneo.
Sultan Badarud-Din II
Sultan Badarud-Din II was the son of Sultan Jamalul A’Lam. He came to the throne of Sulu after his father’s death, in 1881. He ruled for three years. Sultan Badarud-Din II died on 22 February 1884, without male heir.
Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II (first reign)
Jamalul-Kiram II was declared Sultan by his supporters in 1884, following the death of his brother, Sultan Badarud-Din
II. It is believed that the earlier name of Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II was Amirul Kiram II. His reign was unsuccessfully challenged
by the grandson of Sultan Shakirul-Lah, Datu (Prince) Aliud-Din. Because of that, Aliud-Din was forced to flee to the island
Basilan. As a mediator between the Sultan and Aliud-Din appeared Harun Ar-Rashid (descendant of Alimud-Din by Datu Putong).
Historical Sultans Palace in Maimbung
Sultan Harun Ar-Rashid
Spanish intrigue led to the arrival of the mentioned Harun Ar-Rashid at the Sultan’s throne. He was declared Sultan of Sulu in Manila in 1886. Harun Ar-Rashid never gained the support of the majority of the population Sulu. When in 1894. became clear, that he is no longer necessary to the Spanish, he was forced to abdicate. He went to Palawan, where he died in 1899.
The Chinese who lived at Sulu Archipelago were supplying Sultanate with arms. It was used for fighting against the Spanish. In exchange, they took slaves and material goods. At that time Chinese prevailed in Sulu trade. In April 1887. The Spanish suddenly attacked Maymbung, then capital of the Sultanate. On that occasion, they seized a large amount of weapons. Property of the local Chinese was destroyed, and they were deported to Jolo. In 1888, despite the fact that it was a leased territory, British proclaimed they protectorate in North Borneo.
Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II (second reign)
In 1894. Sultan Jamalul-Kiram II managed to re-assert his authority in this monarchy. The Spanish finally admitted him
as the Sultan of Sulu. Jamalul-Kiram II died on 7. June 1936. During his rule, in 1895, the unit of the Sultanate of
Sulu, led by prominent military leaders, brothers Datu Julkarnain and Datu Kalbi, attacked the Spanish troops in the
Jolo. However, this attack was rejected by the combined forces of the Spanish Army and military units of their Filipino allies.
The Spanish have lost the Spanish – American War. Under the terms of the Paris Peace, 1898, they gave certain territories to the United States of America. Among these territories were the Philippines. Concerning these circumstances, U.S. Brigadier General John Coalter Bates made the agreement with the Sultan of Sulu Jamalul-Kiram II, on 26th August 1899. It is interesting that, under the terms of the agreement, although it acknowledges the supremacy of Americans, the Sultanate of Sulu remained full sovereignty over the North Borneo.
In the tumultuous period, as was the 19th century, the Sultanate of Sulu came in contact with various colonial powers of the time, such as: Spain, United Kingdom, France and the United States. These contacts were usually concerning conflicts
between them, although there were some inter-state cooperation.
Although the Sultanate of Sulu entered in the 19th century as an important regional entity, its influence in the region has decreased during this century. As in previous centuries, the Sultanate of Sulu led continual struggle with the world’s colonial powers, but this time appeared some new factors. In the first place it was a more modern weapons, which world powers began to use. Appearance of steamships, for example, has had a major impact on the balance of power in the maritime domination. The Sultanate of Sulu haven’t had industrial and economic base for the production or supply of modern weapons. Despite persistent and courageous struggle for freedom of the Sultans, the leaders, and the people of Sulu, the impact of this state in the region was gradually decreasing in the age of the industrial and technological revolution.
“THE PEARL KNIGHTS”
ABOUT THE ROYAL AND HASHEMITE ORDER OF THE PEARL
Although The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl was formally established in June 2011, it is an institution whose
roots are much deeper. When the current Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, His Majesty Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram decided to
establish a Order, using His sovereign right as “Fons honorum”, it was uniting of the royal, nobiliary and chivalrous traditions of Sultanate, in a manner appropriate international standards.
This issue will be further discussed. However Firstly we will analyze the name of this Order.
Almost from the beginning of human civilization, the pearl has represented something very precious, but at the same time something sophisticated and rare. Symbolism of the pearl is very significant. It is mentioned in many of ancient writings. Sacred books of great world religions, including Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, mention pearl, usually as a symbol of great value.
For the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, pearl is even more important than for most other countries. On the islands of the Sulu archipelago pearls are collected for centuries in the traditional way. It is believed, that pearls from Sulu are most valuable in the world. For centuries, only the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo had the right to possess the largest and most valuable pearls found in the archipelago. Although penalties for violators of this law were very harsh, some exceptional pieces found their way to Europe and other destinations by secret channels. Pearls are also of great importance for this country because, for a long time, they are one of the pillars of its economy.
The term “Hashemite” in the title of Order has its roots in the very foundations Kiram dynasty, as well as the history of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo. This term refers to the ancient Arab clan Hashemites, descendants of Hashim. It is a branch of a larger tribe, the Quraish. From the Hashemite clan originated Prophet Muhammad himself, his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali, the most important personalities of Islam. The roots of this clan are in the region Hejaz in today’s Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea.
In the narrow sense, Hashemites are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and her
husband Ali. Fatima and Ali had more children, but it is known that four of them came to maturity. These were sons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, and daughters Zaynab and Umm Kulthum. Descendants of Fatima and Ali are bearing honorary titles Sayyid (master) and the Sharif (noble).
Some important Dynasties of the Islamic world developed from the old clan Hashemites. Among them were the former Dynasties of: Hejaz Kingdom, Syria, North Yemen and IrКq. SСɚrТПs oП MОММК СКН SКmО orТРТns. Current Royal houses of Jordan eand Morocco are also of Hashemitic origin.
Royal House of Kiram of Sulu and North Borneo is one of the Dynasties that have Hashemite ancestry. In the first half
of the 15th century Said Abubakar Abirin, a prominent explorer and Islamic religious teacher, came to Sulu. He was born in
Johor on the Malay Peninsula, and he was of Arabic, respectively of Hashemitic origin. He married Princess Paramisuli and about 1450, after the death of his father in law Raj Baguinde, he founded the Sultanate of Sulu. Said Abubakar Abirin ruler’s name was Sharif Ul – Hashim. The present Royal House of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, Kiram, descends from him.
As mentioned, Hashemites in the narrow sense of the word, or descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima, have the right to bear the title Sayyid. In accordance with the traditions of his country, and his Hashemitic origin, His Majesty Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, bears the title of the Grand Sayyid of the The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl. It is the appropriate title for this function of His Majesty, because it is equivalent to the traditional title of the Grand Master of the Order in English language.
Title of Sultan is certainly one of the most important and most frequent royal titles in countries with deeply rooted Islamic
traditions. This title comes from the Arabic language and is derived from the term “sultah”, meaning “authority” or “power”.
In the region of Sulu archipelago it has been present since the mid-15th century. His Majesty Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram is the 35th Sultan of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
Grand Cordon of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl
The term “Fons honorum” (Fount of honour) means a person who, by his/her position, has the sovereign right of giving legitimate titles of nobility, or membership in the knightly orders, to other people. These are, therefore, persons who are either rulers of states, heads of dynasties, or leaders of traditional (old) religious organizations. By the establishment of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl, His Majesty Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram used this sovereign right as the Sultan of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, as well as the Head of the Royal House of Kiram.
Besides the symbolism regarding the name, insignia of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl also contain a certain symbolic significance. On the insignia of this Order (collar, badges, stars, rosettes and miniatures) are elements of the coat of arms of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo: double saber, pearl, crescent, star and crown.
Besides the crescent and star, which are clearly associated with Islamic tradition of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, one of the most significant parts of insignia of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl is represented by double saber, probably Zulfiqar. This symbol is also represented at Coat of Arms of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo. It is a legendary bifurcated (double) saber or sword of Ali, given to him by his father-in-law, Prophet Muhammad.
Zulfiqar is, among other things, a symbol of sharp distinction between right and wrong.The symbolism of the pearls for Sulu is already mentioned. The crown on the insignia of The Royal and HКsСОmТtО OrНОr oП tСО PОКrХ rОprОsОnts ruХОr’s НТРnТtв oП tСО
Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo. On the breast star of the Order appears the mythical animals (semi tiger – semi fish),
which are also supporters of the shield on the Greater Coat of Arms of the Sultanate.
The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl is divided into several grades. Highest grade, Royal Companion, is reserved exclusively for members of the current and former ruling houses. Beside this, there are five more grades in the Order: Grand Cordon, Distinguished Companion, Companion, Officer and Member. This ranking to some extent resembles the ranking of traditional nobility and privileged classes of society in the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (datu, tuan…), but also the European Royal Orders of Chivalry. Membership in the Order can only be acquired in accordance with the wish and the approval of its Grand Sayyid (Grand Master). With this dynastic Order its Grand Sayyid rewards persons of all nationalities and religions, which were particularly meritorious concerning service, deeds and faithfulness to the Royal House and the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, as well as those, who gained an outstanding international reputation in their field of activity.
Kimon Andreou gave a very detailed insight into the heraldic aspects of the Order, so at this point we will not specifically deal with them.
Among the members of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl there are some leading figures from the royal families, as well as scientists, artists, and other prominent individuals. We are going to mention only a few here: HM King (Omukama) Solomon Iguru I of Bunyoro-Kitara; HM King Kigeli V of Rwanda; HRH Duarte Pio Duke of Braganza, “de jure” Kingof Portugal; HRH Davit Bagrationi Mukhran, Crown Prince of Georgia; HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia; HIRH Archduke Joseph Karl von Habsburg; HRH Princess Margaret von Hohenberg; HRH Prince Aleksandar Pavlov Karageorgevich of Serbia and Yugoslavia; HRH Prince Vladimir Karageorgevich of Serbia and Yugoslavia; HRH Princess Jelisaveta Karageorgevich of Serbia and Yugoslavia; HRH Princess Brigitta Karageorgevich of Serbia and Yugoslavia; HRH Princess Luciana Pallavicini Hassan of Afghanistan; HRH Princess Mahera Hassan of Afghanistan; HRH Prince Osman Rifat Ibrahim of Egypt and Turkey, HH Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad; HRH Princess Dr Chao Duangduen of Chiang Mai and many other prominent members of the Order. Sulu and North Borneo, The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl is not officially called the order of chivalry, it is certainly knightly order of the Royal House, from a European point of view. Concerning this, the writer of these lines should not be criticized for authorial freedom, to call members of The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl – “The Pearl Knight”.
ABOUT SUCCESSION OF THE TITLE OF SULTAN OF SULU
We are witnessing numerous attempts to relativize the process of succession of title of Sultan in the Sultanate of Sulu.
These attempts are constantly being launched by a number of self-styled Sultans, pretenders to the throne of this island
monarchy. Firstly, we will consider practice of succession of this title in the Sultanate of Sulu, during the 20th century. Older
examples from the rich history of the Sultanate will not be considered, primarily because of the fact, that they were very
similar to examples from the 20th century.
In the beggining of the 20th century, Sulanate of Sulu was under the leadership of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, who ruled
between 1894. and 1936. He had only daughters, who came to adulthood. After the death of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II, his brother
Muvallil Wasit II was declared Sultan. Until then, he was the Crown Prince. He, however, died in the same year (1936),
before he was formally crowned.
In the period 1937 – 1950, there were several pretenders to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu. One of them was Amirul Umara
I, supported by the Japanese. He was the son in law of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (husband of his adopted daughter Piandao).
The second was Jainal Abirin. He was supported by the American forces.
Sultan Moh. Esmail Kiram I was the eldest son of Sultan Muvallil Wasit II. He was Crown Prince, before coming to the throne. He was leader of the Sultanate of Sulu in the period of 24 years, between 1950. and 1974. He was recognized by the Philippine Government.In 1974, after the death of Sultan Moh. Esmail I Kiram, the throne was succeeded by his eldest son, Sultan Moh.
Mahakuttah Kiram. During the reign of his father, Mahakuttah Kiram was the Crown Prince.
At the time of the coronation of Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah Kiram, his eldest son, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, was proclaimed Crown Prince Sultanate of Sulu. The former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, by special decree, confirmed the coronation of the new Sultan and the appointment of the new heir to the throne. There are documents concerning this event, that have been published on the official website of the Sultanate of Sulu, and in recent times they have been mentioned in the official Gazette of the Republic of Philippines.
Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah Kiram died in 1986. At that moment, Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram should to come to the throne, both regarding his inheritance right of the first born Sultan’s son, as well as his appointment as the Crown Prince in 1974. However, due to the unstable political situation in the country. Then, as well as in the following years and decades, appeared some people with unfounded claims of Sulu sultan’s throne.
Some of these self-proclaimed pretenders were of the royal blood, and members of Kiram dynasty, like Datu (Prince) Fuad Kiram, Jamalul Kiram III, or Esmail Kiram II. Others were born in families that were not of royal or noble ancestry, but
anyway they stated their claim to throne. This situation has formally ended when, in 16 September 2012, took place the traditional coronation of the legal heir to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu, Sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram.
Even after the historic act of coronation of Sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, which was supported by the Royal Council (Ruma Bichara), imams of the Islamic community of Sulu, local leaders and people Sulu, some self-proclaimed pretenders have not given up their claims to the Sultan title.
Using his legitimate right, Sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram established, in accordance with the old traditions of the Sultanate, the Royal and Hashemite Order of Pearl. This Order has been recognized in international royal, aristocratic and expert circles. Among its numerous prominent members we will mention only a few: King of Bunyoro-Kitara Solomon Iguru I, King of Rwanda Kigeli V, Head of the Royal House of Portugal Duarte Pio of Braganza, Head of the Royal House of Georgia David Bagration, Ethiopian Imperial Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, members of some royal and princely houses, like Karageorgevich and Habsburg, princes of Afghanistan, Egypt, Hyderabad, as well as others. Among members of this Order is also former Polish president and Nobel Prize winner, Lech Walesa.
Some relevant international organizations, such as the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry, Augustan Society and others, clearly recognized Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram as the sole legitimate Sultan of Sulu and the only person in the Sultanate, who now has the right to establish chivalric orders (orders of datuship).
Coat of arms of The Royal Sultanate of Sulu. Artist:HE Datu Sadja Michael Y. Medvedev.
Unlike the Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl, some fictitious “titles” and “orders” are promoted by selfproclaimed pretenders. These are named mainly on the pseudo – European bases, not accordingly the traditions of Sulu. These self-proclaimed pretenders are not legitimate holders of the title of Sultan or chief of the royal House of Kiram, so they have no right for such actions. Their so-called “titles” and “orders” are not recognized by any of relevant international organisations.
Sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram is recognized and respected by members of many of the world’s dynasties. He is also the holder of a significant number of foreign decorations. Among them, there are Orders awarded by the royal houses of: Bunyoro-Kitara (Uganda), Georgia, Rwanda, Vietnam and Ethiopia.
Considering all that is mentioned, it is clear that the only true and legitimate Sultan of Sulu is Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram. As he eldest son of the last undeniable Sultan of Sulu, Moh.Mahakuttah Kiram, he is the only legitimate claimant to the throne of his late father. Furthermore, in his early age, at the time of his father’s coronation, he was appointed as Crown Prince. All legitimate sultans of Sulu in the 20th century were firstly bearers of this title. His appointment was confirmed by the Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Also, the sultan Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram is grandson of Sultan Moh. Esmail I Kiram, and great-grandson of Sultan Muvallil Wasit II. He was crowned as Sultan of Sulu on 16 September 2012, with the support and approval of the Royal Council, the imams of the Islamic community of Sulu and people of Sulu. These are the facts, intentionally relativized by self-proclaimed pretenders to the throne of the Sultanate and by their followers, because of their own interests.