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Datu or Datto is a title for the princes of Southeast Asia and is used in the Philippines , Malaysia , Brunei and Indonesia , among others . In Indonesia among the Toba-Batak on the island of Sumatra , the term has the meaning "magician priest". Datu were, and still are in part, rulers over more or less large areas of these nations and mostly subordinate to a sultan or raja . The caste would also be comparable to the European dukes , counts or marquis , depending on how much power they wield.

The word Datu is derived from the old Malay term dato or datok , a title of rule of the Malays . Together with the Maharlika , the Timawa and the Alipin , the Datu formed the caste system of medieval Southeast Asia . Even today there are such princes in all of the above nations.

Furthermore, the title Datuk Seri is used for male members of the Malaysian Parliament ( Dewan Rakyat ).

Date in the Philippines

Muslim Filipino Society

The Moros ethnic group , a term borrowed from Spanish, is the largest ethnic group of Muslims in the Philippines. In the traditional structure of the Muslim Filipinos, sultans have the highest authority, followed by the dates, whose decisions are based on the Koran .

Datus' influence is measured by the number of their subordinates. As compensation for taxes and labor services, the Datus assure them help in emergencies and assistance in disputes with other communities. A datu is the basis for a smooth process in the Muslim Filipino society. He is a powerful figure of authority who used to have at least four wives, but is no more than one today. In earlier days they also ordered raids on other villages. They were also entitled to retaliation ( maratabat ) for the death of a subject or for an injury to their honor.

Datus are still heads of a community in the Muslim societies on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago , and they administer the Sharia (the law of Islam) there. Supporting the Datu is an important part of the governance of a Muslim community.

Christianized Filipino Society

After the Christianization of the Philippines, the incumbent Datus retained their status and rights, but with the condition that they convert to Christianity and serve the Spanish crown. King Philip II signed a law on June 11, 1594 assuring them this.

This order granted the local nobles the same respect and privileges as they enjoyed prior to their conversion to Christianity. Later they became part of an exclusive and elite leadership class, called the Principalía , in the communities of the Spanish Philippines.

Legend of the ten dates

The legend of the ten dates is known in the Philippines as the Maragtas legend . This says that around 1240 ten brave noble rulers landed on the coasts of Iloilo to exchange land for gold. They came from the Bornay Kingdom (now Borneo ) and were on the run from the wrath of the evil ruler Rajah Makatunao. They set out to sea in large ships called balanghays to find a place where they could live in peace and harmony. On a moonless night on April 15, 1240, they drove into the unknown, together with their families, soldiers, slaves and advisers.

The myth of the arrival of the ten dates is still celebrated today with the Binirayan Festival on Panay Island , which a long time ago was called "Aninipay Island".

List of known nobles of the Philippine archipelago

Individual evidence

  1. “It would not be lawful if the Indian chiefs of the Filipino territories, after their conversion to Christianity, had to assume a worse position than they had before. Rather, they should be left with their usual privileges so that one can win their favor and their loyalty remains to them and this is now combined with the spiritual blessing that God has bestowed on them, through the fact that he has called them to himself and tells them of his true faith convinced, worldly blessings will expand their faith and make them happier and more comfortable. That is why we send orders to the governors of the islands to treat them well and to trust them to act on our behalf, together with the Indian government and those who previously held the rank of prince. Under all circumstances, the governors should ensure that the chiefs are properly favored and the Indians should give them the recognition they gave them during their paganism, this should be done without prejudice to the taxes to which we are entitled. ”Felipe II, Ley de Junio ​​11, 1594 in Recapilación de leyes , lib. vi, tit. VII, ley xvi. Also in Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898) , Cleveland: The AH Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVI, pp. 155-156.

See also