This confederation commenced around 1525 A.D., and consisted of the Rajahnates of Butuan and Bukidnon, and the Sultanates of Maguindanao, Lanao, Sulu and Buluan. The army leaders and rulers of the kingdoms communicated in varieties of Malay languages, resembling a mix of Bruneian Malay and Old Malay.
It was dissolved around the 1600s, with the defeat of the Maguindanao Sultanate and the incorporation of the Buluan Sultanate as a Spanish protectorate. Lanao and Sulu were left as the standing remnants, who were able to defeat the Spanish forces. With American help at the waning days of Spanish occupation, the Sultanates of Sulu and Lanao eliminated the remaining Spanish forces in the south.
It was officially formed in the Maguindanaon capital of Kota Batu, known in the Maguindanaon languages as "Kuta Wato", when the Moro sultans had one of their first meetings to discuss the concern with the Spanish invasion. The Spanish would later conquer Kuta Wato, and establish a church there, they would rename it Cotabato. It would serve as a regional capital of the Spanish occupation of Mindanao.
Though initially stereotyped as a war between Muslims and Christians, the truth is that while Muslim tribes dominated much of the southern resistance forces, a mix of all Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan and Animist natives also fought the Spanish armies. For example, the Manobos of Bukidnon and the Butuanons of Butuan were a mix of Catholic and Pagan.
The Great Alliance of Six has had an impacting legacy on Philippine culture, and forms a preceding foundations for Southern Philippine nationalism.