Rajah Sulayman, sometimes referred to as Sulayman III (Sanskrit: स्ललैअह् , Baybayin: ᜐᜓᜎᜌ᜔ᜋᜈ᜔, Abecedario: Suláimán) (1558–1575),[1] was the Rajah or paramount ruler of the Rajahnate of Maynila, a fortified Tagalog Muslim polity which was a vassal to the Brunei Sultanate, on the southern half of the Pasig River delta, by the time Spanish colonizers arrived in the early 1570s.[2][3][4]

Rajah Sulayman
Rajah of Maynila
MalateManilajf9508 06.JPG
Monument of Rajah Sulayman in Malate, Manila
PredecessorRajah Matanda
SuccessorAgustin de Legazpi
Full name
Born1558[dubious ]
Died1575 (aged 16–17)[dubious ]
Noble familyMaynila, Tondo and Namayan

Natural Children

  • Rajang Bago (Raxa el Vago, executed by the Levazarez administration in 1574)
  • Doña Maria Laran

Adopted Children

  • Agustin de Legazpi (executed by the Spanish after being implicated in the Tondo Conspiracy, c. 1589)
  • Don Gabriel Taumbasan
  • Don Jeronimo Bassi (executed by the Spanish after being implicated in the Tondo Conspiracy, c. 1589)

In Legendary Accounts

ReligionSunni Islam

Sulayman - along with his co-ruler Rajah Matanda of Maynila and Lakan Dula, who ruled the neighboring polity of Tondo - was one of three monarchs who figured most significantly in the Spanish conquest of the Port of Manila and the Pasig River delta. Spanish accounts describe him as the most aggressive of the three rulers – a characteristic chalked up to his youth relative to the other two rulers.[3][4]

He was penultimate indigenous paramount ruler (Rajah) in the Pasig River Delta era: his adoptive son, baptized Agustin de Legaspi upon conversion to Christianity, was proclaimed Paramount ruler of Tondo upon the death of Lakan Dula, but he, along with most of Lakan Dula's sons and most of Sulayman's adoptive sons were executed by the Spanish after being implicated in the 1587–1588 Tondo Conspiracy, helping the Spanish Empire to further solidify its grip on Luzon and most of the Philippine archipelago.[4]


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[5] in 1955, and asserted by Majul in 1973,[6] Sulayman was the 14th[5] Raja of Manila since it was founded as a Muslim[5] principality in 1258[5] by Rajah Ahmad when he defeated the Majapahit Suzerain Raja Avirjirkaya.[5]

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 Mindanao saw the arrival of Islam.[7] The Spanish conquest was fought against by 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.[8] The war by Christians against Islam in the archipelago which terminated with the 1913 Bud Bagsak battle between Sulu and Americans began in 1571 when Martin de Goiti and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi 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.[9] 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.[10] Julkipli M. Wadi wrote Rajah Sulayman, Spain and the transformation of the Islamic Manila.[11] Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo, and Martín de Goiti led the invasion by the Spanish against Lakandula, Rajah Matanda and Maynila's final Muslim ruler, Rajah Sulayman III. Jose N. Svilla composed a Tagalog language Rajah Sulayman bio.[12] A monument dedicated to Rajah Sulayman was erected by the inhabitants in memory of his resistance and martyrdom against the Spanish.[13] 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.[14]

This area was a pre-colonial Indianized kingdom of Srivijaya 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 archipelago, sent Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo on an expedition northwards to Luzon upon hearing of a prosperous kingdom there.[15]

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.[15]

Tarik Sulayman and the Battle of Bangkusay (1571)Edit

Some controversy exists about the identity of the leader of the Macabebe people that initiated the Battle of Bangkusay in 1571. That chieftain is referred to by Filipino historians as Tarik Sulayman.[16] In some versions of the Battle of Bangkusay, Tarik Sulayman of Macabebe and Sulayman III of Manila are the same person,[17][18] while other contend that they are two separate individuals.[19]

Spanish documents do not identify the leader of the Macabebe revolt by name, but record that he died during the 1571 Battle of Bangkusay, resulting in a Macabebe retreat and Spanish victory.[19][20] 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 Bangkusay.[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.[4][21]

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".[4][21]

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.[4][21]

Life after 1574Edit

Some accounts from the American Colonial era claim that Sulayman was killed during the revolt of 1574, but this once again seems to be the result of Sulayman being confused with Tarik Sulayman of Macabebe, who had died in the previous revolt in 1571. A review of genealogical documents deposited at the Philippines' National Archives notes that Sulayman lived past the 1574 revolt, in which his son Rahang Bago was killed, and lived long enough to adopt the children of an unnamed sibling to be his descendants.[22]

Sulayman is no longer mentioned in the accounts of events that took place from 1586 to 1588, which involved many members of his family.[3]


According to Luciano P.R. Santiago's genealogical research, Sulayman married his cousin, a princess from Borneo, and the two had at least two biological children: a son referred to as Rahang Bago (which means "new prince" Raxa el Vago in the Spanish texts), and a daughter who would be baptized Doña Maria Laran.[22] A legend cited by the government of Pasay City in the 1950s also says Sulayman had two children: a son named Suwaboy, and a daughter, Dayang-dayang (Princess) Pasay, who would inherit from her father the lands south of Manila now known as Pasay and Paranaque.[4] However, Rahang Bago and his cousin Lumantalan were killed by the Spanish in November 1574, in the confusion that ensued during the attack of the Chinese Corsair, Limahong.[22]

According to Santiago's research, Doña Maria Laran had two daughters: Doña Ines Dahitim, the elder, who married Don Miguel Banal of Quiapo; and Doña Maria Guinyamat, who married a Don Agustin Turingan. Luciano P.R. Santiago theorizes that Don Miguel Banal was the son of the Don Juan Banal who was implicated in the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587. Santiago furthers that Don Miguel Banal and Doña Ines Dahitim are said to have begotten the second filipino to be inducted into the Augustinian order, Fray Marcelo Banal de San Agustin.[22]

The oral legend cited by the local government of Pasay, in turn, says that Dayangdayang Pasay married a local prince named Maytubig and settled in the place called Balite. The legend says that they had a daughter named Dominga Custodio, who grew up to donate all her lands to the Augustinian Order just before her death.[4]

Santiago, however, claims that aside from his biological children, Sulayman had descendants by adoption. Santiago's Genealogical research suggests that Sulayman had at least one male sibling, who remained unnamed in the records, and who had died prior to the death of Rahang Bago in 1574. Sulayman chose to adopt the sons of this sibling, who were identified in records as Agustin de Legaspi, Don Gabriel Taumbasan, and Don Jeronimo Bassi.[22] All three adopted children of Sulayman participated in the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587, and only Taumbasan was not executed, having instead been sentenced to exile in Mexico for four years.


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.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Rodil, Awang Romeo Duana (April 18, 2008). "The Muslim Rulers of Manila". melayuonline.com. Archived from the original on 2009-04-05. 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. ^ a b c Scott, William Henry (1994). Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. ISBN 971-550-135-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Dery, Luis Camara (2001). A History of the Inarticulate. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. ISBN 971-10-1069-0.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Majul, César Adib (1973). Muslims in the Philippines. Diliman: University of the Philippines Asian Center.
  7. ^ Struggle for Freedom' 2008 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 2008. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Samuel K. Tan (2010). The Muslim South and Beyond. UP Press. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-971-542-632-9.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4840373
  12. ^ http://tagaloglang.com/Famous-Filipinos/Leaders/rajah-soliman-last-muslim-king-of-manila.html http://tagaloglang.com/rajah-soliman-last-muslim-king-of-manila/
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Struggle for Freedom' 2008 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 2008. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0.
  15. ^ a b Filipiniana: Act of Taking Possession of Luzon by Martin de Goiti Archived 2008-02-21 at the Wayback Machine; accessed September 6, 2008.
  16. ^ Tantingco, Robby (October 24, 2006). "First Filipino martyr for freedom". Sun Star Pampanga. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018.
  17. ^ History of Manila; accessed September 8, 2008.
  18. ^ Rajah Sulayman – Manila, Philippines, waymarking.com; accessed August 10, 2015.
  19. ^ 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. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009.
  20. ^ 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.CS1 maint: location (link)
  21. ^ a b c Robertson, James Alexander, and Emma Helen Blair. The Philippine Islands 1493–1989. Vol. 7.
  22. ^ a b c d e Santiago, Luciano P.R. (1990). "The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman [1571–1898]: Genealogy and Group Identity". Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society. 18.
  23. ^ "Rajah Sulayman - Manila, Philippines - Statues of Historic Figures on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajah Matanda
Rajah of Maynila and 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