Part of a series on the
Alternate History of the Philippines
Philippine History Collage
Alternate Classic Period of the Philippines (900–1521)
  • State of Ma-i
  • Kingdom of Tondo
  • Kingdom of Maynila
  • Kingdom of Namayan
  • Kingdom of Butuan
  • Rajahnate of Cebu
  • Sultanate of Manila
  • Sultanate of Maguindanao
  • Sultanate of Sulu
  • Sultanate of Lanao
Spanish Period (1521–1898)
  • Spanish East Indies
  • Christianity in the Philippines
  • Philippine revolts against Spain
  • Katipunan
  • Philippine Revolution
By topic
  • Demographics
  • Military
  • Political
  • Transportation

The Rajah Sulayman Dynasty (Jawi: راجه سوليمن كلوارڬ, Arabic: راجح سلالة سليمان, Spanish: Dinastía de Rajah Solimano, Filipino: Dinastiya ni Raha Solíman) or the Sulayman Dynasty in short was a Muslim royal dynasty (with Catholic members) and colonial nobility that ruled the southern parts of Manila Bay and the Pasig River from the reign of Rajah Ache (also known as Rajah Matanda) to the colonial governerships of Juan Carlos and Fernando Carlos in the 1700s. 

It started as a recognised, autonomous Muslim dynasty when Rajah Sulayman defeated Spanish forces in southern Manila and halted Roman Catholic missionaries from preaching to the Muslim settlements. Rajah Sulayman's grandson, Hassanal Sulayman officially the adopted the Islamic title sultan. The dynasty became Christian during the reign of Safar ud-Din, the sixth sultan of Manila, his Suluk wife Maryam of Sulu, and his heir, Esmael converted to Catholicism under the names Enrique, María and Carlos, adopting the Spanish royal titles don and cabeza who became part of the colonial native nobility known as the Principalía, the caste of native Philippine chiefs that converted to Catholicism and were allowed by the Spanish Crown to retain the priveliges, wealth and power they held prior to conversion. However, Enrique, as well as Carlos both reverted to Islam, and continued the dynasty as a Muslim dynasty. Their children however, were either Roman Catholic or irreligious.

After Safar ud-Din and Esmael's temporary conversions to Christianity, the royal court was known as the the Casa de Solimano (House of Sulayman). The youngest son of Carlos, Juan became the chief of Manila while his old brother Fernando Carlos took an a heavier duty as the gobernadorcillo of Manila, controlling its native police force.



The members of the Sulyman Dynasty are native to Manila. The first-known member was Rajah Ache, or as Tagalog documents refer to him as "Rajah Matandâ" which means "Old King" and the Spaniards referred to him as Rajah Ache el Viejo or "Rajah Ache to Old". Matanda was the grandson of the Sultan of Brunei.

Kingdom of Maynila

Rajah Ache was the ruler of the Pasig River settlements, his nephew Salila was the heir to the throne. Once Maynila reached its peak, the Sultan of Brunei decided to occupy it along with its northern counterpart Tondo in which Islam was introduced into the shores of Manila Bay. Salila's name was changed to Sulayman and inherited the throne from his uncle. It is unknown of whether Matanda/Ache ever became a Muslim or not. Lakan Dula, of neighboring Tondo was thought to have experimented with Islam for a while before reverting to his Animist beliefs.

Spanish Conquest

When the Spanish explorer Martín de Goiti arrived in 1570, he had already ceded his authority to his nephew and heir, Rajah Sulaiman III, but still had considerable influence, as did his brother Lakan Dula. Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, searching for a suitable place to establish his capital after being compelled to move from Cebu to Panay by Portuguese pirates and hearing of the existence of a prosperous kingdom in Luzon, sent an expedition under Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo to explore its location and potentials.

Goiti anchored at Cavite and established his authority peaceably by sending a message of friendship to various nations in Manila. Rajah Sulayman, who had been ceded authority over their settlements by his aging uncle, was willing to accept the friendship that the Spaniards were offering, but did not want to submit its sovereignty unto them, and waged war against them due to disputes and hostility. Sulayman warned the Muslim barangays that the Spaniards would attack, and as a result, Goiti and his army attacked the Muslim nations on June 1570 but his invasion was repulsed. A treaty was signed between Rajah Sulayman, Lakan Dula and Martín de Goiti.

Silver enlaid salakot

The Sulayman Salakot, worn by rulers of Manila

When López de Legazpi died in 1572, his successor, Governor-General Guido de Lavezaris, did not honor the agreements with Rajah Sulayman and Lakan Dula. He sequestered the properties of the two kings and tolerated Spanish atrocities. In response, Rajah 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 "Sulaiman revolt" and the "Lakan Dula revolt." Since it involved naval forces, the Sulayman Revolt is also known as the "First Battle of Manila Bay"

Friar Geronimo Marían and Juan de Salcedo were tasked with pursuing conciliatory talks with various nations. Lakan Dula agreed on Salcedo's peace treaty but Rajah Sulayman was not willing to accept the friendship at the loss of the Muslims and while he accepted some of the peace terms to cede Manila to Spain, he prevented Catholic missionaries from entering into the Muslim settlements south of the Pasig River. Another treaty enabled southern Manila to exist as an autonomous groups of Muslim barangays under Spanish administration, while the north was open to religious conversions and direct Spanish control. Lakan Dula made a Tagalog salakot and decorated it with silver and gave it to Rajah Sulayman as a gift. Some Filipino folkore says that it was a charm that one day, Sulayman's descendants would become Christians (which happened later on). Sulayman forged a Malay and a Moro-style sword known as a kris whch accompanied the salakot as an heirloom.

The dynasty briefly turned into a Christian nobility during the reign of Safar ud-Din, the sixth sultan of Manila who converted he and his family to Roman Catholicism. However, Enrique reverted to Islam shortly before abdicating the throne to his son Carlos, and died as a Muslim. Carlos followed in his father's footsteps, and also returned to the Islamic faith. However, their descendants would become assimilated into the mainstream Spanish and Filipino culture, and were likely Roman Catholics or irreligious altogether, since no records of their religion could be found.

Members and Descendants

Sultans and Rajahs of Manila

Rajah Ache


Known as "the old king", he was the first-known ruler of the Sulayman Dynasty. He ruled the Kingdom of Maynila at the time of Muslim annexation, but it is unknown if he personally professed Islam.

Rajah Sulayman


Rajah Sulayman was Ache's nephew and heir to the throne, the former was named Salila who met the Spanish conquistadors. He consolidated his rule by preventing Catholic friars and missionaries from entering the Muslim settlements and waged war against the Spaniards if they attempted.

Rajah Sulayman II


Rajah Sulayman married a Malay princess by the name of Nirmala from Brunei, and strengthened the presence of Malay warriors in Manila, the both bore two sons one by the name of Hassanal Sulayman and the other by the name of Jamalul Sulayman. Jamalul Sulayman emigrated to Maguindanao and Hassanal Sulayman was the chosen heir to the throne.

Hassanal Sulayman


Hassanal Sulayman adopted the traditional Islamic title "sultan" and further solidified the presence of Islam, he barred all Spanish influence from entering the southern Pasig River where he also established a naval army, he thwarted two Spanish invasions in 1605 and 1608, but was killed during a battle in 1610 in which Spanish forces reached the Muslim settlements.

Qasim Abdullah


Abdullah bin Sulayman received his father's kris sword and sworn in at the time of battle, there was no time for a formal coronation. He defeated the Spanish forces and let a failed invasion of northern Spanish-controlled Manila, in 1618 he repulsed another large Spanish invasion where he took the name "Qasim" which meant "protector" in Arabic.

Safar ud-Din


Safar ud-Din was the son of Abdullah, unlike the past sultans he was friendly to the Spanish colonists. He married a Sulu princess by the name of Maryam, and had a child named Esmael bin Safar ud-Din. He finally permitted Christian missionaries into the Muslim settlements, and about 1/2 of all his people were converted to Roman Catholicism, in 1670 he and his family converted to Roman Catholicism taking the name Enrique, his son was baptized Carlos and his wife was baptized Maria, they became part of the Principales and were taken to visit the entire archipelago by Spanish colonists. However, some time before abdicating the throne, Enrique reverted to Islam.

Don Carlos


Originally known as Esmael bin Safar ud-Din, also Carlos Safaruddin was the ruler of Manila from 1690-1739, he was coronated in 1690. Don Carlos married a Spanish noble brought from Mexico by the name of Carrolla Lopez, and had two children, Juan and Fernando. Like his father Enrique, Carlos also reverted to Islam.

Cabezas, gobernadorcillos and other Principalía

Juan Carlos Juan Carlos was the youngest son of Don Carlos Safaruddin, and the younger brother of Fernando Carlos. Juan was given the diplomatic matters of the now-Spanish province of Manila.
Fernando Carlos Fernando Carlos became the Gobernadorcillo of Manila, he handled the native police forces of Manila that patrolled the area for any rebels or subversive activity.
Isabel Legazpi One of the daughters of Safar ud-Din, she was born as Zainab bin Safar ud-Din, and was married to one of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's great grandsons Felipe Legazpi and baptized under the name Isabel Legazpi y Safaruddin.
Consuela Legazpi One of the daughters of Safar ud-Din, born as Maryam II, Maryam bint Safar ud-Din and married to Felipe Legazpi's adopted brothers and baptized as Consuela Legazpi y Safaruddin.
Penélope Goiti One of the daughters of Safar ud-Din, born as Zula bint Safar ud-Din, married to one of Martín de Goiti's grandsons, Carlos Goiti, she was baptized as Penélope Goiti y Safaruddin.
Sandra de Carlos One of Don Carlos Safaruddin's daughters, married a Kapampagan principal from Macabre.
Consuelo de Carlos One of Don Carlos Safaruddin's daughters, married a Cebuano principal and lived in Cavite.

Modern-day politicians, pretenders, and figures

Luis Antonio Tagle A Roman Catholic cardinal who is the current Archbishop of Manila, he claims to be a descendant of Consuela Legazpi and Felipe Legazpi.
Gil Puyat A Filipino businessman, although his ancestry to Lakan Dula is certain, he also has traceable descent to Sandra de Carlos and an unknown Spanish husband.
Antonio De la Cruz A Filipino saint "of the Cross" who preached Roman Catholicism in other nations, claims to have descent from Isabel Legazpi, he visited Spain, Italy, France and Romania and became a well-respected foreigner in those nations.
Ahmed Kudarat A Moro-Filipino historian from Sulu, who claims that Carlos Safaruddin migrated to the Sulu Sultanate and reverted to Islam, claims to have his descent, claims to be the rightful heir to the throne and has request the kris and the salakót be given to him but was rejected by the Philippine government, he holds dual citizenship in both the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Mindanao and Sulu
Lorenzo Álvarez A Filipino scholar, businessman, historian, and Iglesia ni Cristo preacher who claims that Rajah Sulayman's dynasty often intermingled with Lakan Dula's. Claims descent from both lines.
Rico Rodríguez A Roman Catholic priest from Cavite, claims that the salakot was a symbol of the Sulayman Dynasty's destiny to become Christian (the salakót was a Christian noble symbol). Like Álvarez, he also claims that Rajah Sulyman and Lakan Dula's descendants intermingled and claims descent from both lines.

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