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Sulu

archipelago, islands, town, island, government, miles, native and pearl

SULU, soo-loo', or JOLO, 116-16', Philip pines. (1) An archipelago, consisting of over 400 islands, forming the southern central por tion of the Philippine Archipelago, lying be tween the parallels 4° 30' and 121° 52' N. lat. and the meridians 119° 25' and 121° 52' E. long.; area 1,029 square miles. The archipelago is surrounded by the Sulu and Mindanao seas on the north and west and the Celebes Sea on the south and east. The islands form a long chain extending from northeast to southwest and are divided into five principal groups: (1) Balan guingui; (2) Pafigutarang; (3) Sulu; (4) Tapul; (5) Tawi Tawi. The larger islands are generally high and of volcanic formation; the smaller islands are low and rest on coral; mountain chains traverse the islands of Sulu and Tawi Tawi. The larger islands are fer tile; rice, coffee, chocolate, corn, hemp, saffron, indigo, sesame and cotton are cultivated, but not as a rule for export. The raising of horses, cattle and goats is an important indus try; there is some metal working in the manu facture of chisels, knives, etc.. and weaving for home consumption. The chief industry from the commercial standpoint is pearl and pearl shell fishing, large quantities of pearl shell especially being exported; other exports are shark's fins, beche de mer and native cordage. The trade is largely in the hands of the Chinese. The forests contain many of the most valuable woods of the East. The people of the archipelago are divided into four groups, according to their origin and customs: (a) The Guimbajanos, the aborigines living in the mountains; (b) the Malay and Visayan slaves; (c) the Samales; (d) the Moros proper, the dominating race. Mohammedanism is the prevailing religion; polygamy and slavery are recognized institutions. Piracy was formerly a regular occupation of the people and their depredations were carried as far as Singapore. (See Moms). Spain never occupied but a few towns on the coast and the native government remained largely independent of Spanish do minion. When the islands were transferred to the United States, after the Spanish-Ameri can War, negotiations were immediately begun for establishing satisfactory relations between the United States government and the sultan of Sulu and his datos (or chiefs). In August 1899 a treaty was signed in accordance with which the sovereignty of the United States over the whole archipelago was recognized, but the government of the sultan and datos continued under this supreme jurisdiction, the rights and religion of the Moros to be respected, with the following important stipulations: the United States shall occupy and control such parts of the archipelago as public interest demands; any person can purchase land with the sultan's con sent; piracy shall be suppressed; American courts shall have jurisdiction except between Moros; the American government shall protect the island against foreign aggression. Pop.

(estimated) 22,680. (2) A group of islands in the central part of the Sulu Archipelago, lying between the Balanguingui group on the north and the Tapul group on the south; area 380 square miles. All of the larger islands of this group are volcanic, each of them being formed of a central peak sloping to a narrow stretch of level coast land; the islets are generally rocks. All the staples of the archipelago are cultivated; a small amount of hemp and indigo is exported; but cattle raising and fishing oc cupy a larger number of the inhabitants. The trade between islands is by native craft; the port of export is the town of Sulu. Pop. 14,500. (3) An island, the central and largest one of the Sulu group; area 333 square miles. It is traversed from northeast to southwest by three nearly parallel mountain chains, between which lie fertile valleys; there are several important peaks, of which the highest has an elevation of 2,894 feet. There are numerous small streams; which are nearly or completely dry during the summer season. The climate is particularly good, the temperature being even and unusually cool for the latitude. The soil is fertile and is well cultivated; rice, however, is imported and the chief articles of export, as in the rest of the Sulu Archipelago, are the products of the fisheries. The mountains are heavily wooded and valuable cabinet woods are also among the exports. Under the Ameri can jurisdiction, a school has been established on the island. (4) A town, capital of the Sulu Archipelago, situated on the northwest coast of Sulu Island, 540 miles south of Manila. It was the ancient residence of the Sulu sultans, but scarcely a trace of the ancient Moro town remains; the present town was built in 1878 by the Spaniards. It is surrounded by a wall, within which the town is regularly laid out, with three principal streets, broad and well shaded. The houses are mostly well built and there is a large modern market house. It is the chief town and chief port of the Sulu Archipelago and carries on a large trade with Singapore and Manila, as well as a native inter island trade. In the channel between the road stead and Maroflgas is a pearl oyster bed, which employs a large number of fishing boats and the town is the centre of this industry.