Sultanate of Sulu

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The Sultanate of Sulu was an Islamic kingdom which ruled a small territory in maritime Southeast Asia, parts of which are today divided between the modern states of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Sulu was recognized by the Ming court as being three separate kingdoms - East, Central, and West Sulu - each of which paid tribute separately to the Ming court. The ruler of East Sulu sent his first tributary embassy in 1417, and others soon followed, receiving investiture from Beijing and securing a political and trading connection which contributed dramatically to the prosperity and longevity of Sulu as a polity.


  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 62.