MOROS, mer6z, Mohammedan Malays in habiting the southwestern part of the Philip pines, chiefly the Sulu Archipelago and the Islands of Palawan and Mindanao; various sub divisions include the Illanos, Samales, Joloanos, Maguendanaos, etc. Mohammedanism was propagated among the Moros in the 14th cen tury by Malays from the island of Borneo, and is the prevailing religion. The Moro alphabet, which is still retained in writing, shows di,stinct traces of Arabic origin introduced by Arabic teachers of the doctrines of Islam. The Moros are governed by their local chiefs, dattos. or sultans under a form of primitive feudalism.
They have no system of laws as such. The penal passages of the Koran, taken in connec tion with local customs, are referred to as the Titab; the local customs being mainly interpre tations or even evasions of the Koran. Land is held in common, the dattos claiming sections as their own; in some localities, a °Master of the allots plots of ground to individuals for permanent or temporary occupancy. Such real estate may not be alienated without permission having first been obtained from the authority granting residence thereon. Slavery and po lygamy prevail among them ; and they have for many years engaged in piracy and predatory expeditions against the neighboring Filipinos. They remained unconquered by the Spaniards until the era of modern firearms, and were still an inexhaustible source of trouble when the sovereignty of Spain terminated. Their religion and peculiar customs, as well as their spint of independence, have made the govern ment of their country one of the greatest prob lems of the United States occupation of the Philippines. The Sulu Archipelago in 1901 was
placed under military supervision and govern ment in accordance with a treaty made by the United States representative and the sultan of Sulu, who has relinquished his authority (see SuLu). In 1903 a law was passed by the Philip pine Commission providing government for the Moro country of Mindanao and adjacent islands. This act provides that the civil gov ernor of the Philippine Islands shall appoint for the Moro Province a governor and other officials who were to form the legislative coun cil, which was empowered to organize educa tion, create a form of local government, estab lish courts and enact laws providing for the abolition of slavery and the suppression of all slave hunting and slave trade. The Moros were informed in 1900 that slaves who sought the protection of the United States garrison would he considered free and their freedom enforced. The datto at Zamboanga in 1901 abolished slavery among his followers. In 1903 the legislative council of the Moro Province passed a law prohibiting slave hunting in all the province, which law was immediately con firmed by the Philippine Commission. The order for disarmament of the Moros, made in September 1911, is being systematically carried out, but led in 1913 to a rebellion which was not quelled till they had been pursued and conquered in the mountain fastnesses of Bagsak in Northern Jolo. In 1914 the department of Mindanao and Sulu was created. Pop. 154,706.
See PHILIPPINE ISLANDS.