Moro, Moros*

Working Definition:

Descendants of Muslim converts prior to the late sixteenth century. Though used as a blanket term in many of the catalog records and finding aids, the Moro population was and remains mosaic in terms of language and cultural practices. The term stems from “Moor,” in reference to the conflict between Catholics and Muslims during the Crusades. Though the peoples labeled “Moro” by the Spanish, and later, American colonials, did not originally use this term to describe themselves, the term has, according to scholar Oona Paredes, “since been embraced by most Moro…peoples who continue to build alliances based on shared histories of legal and religious discrimination, state oppression, and social marginalization in the modern Philippine state.” It should also be noted that peoples identified as Moros and living in the Moro region were subjected to particular brutalization within the Spanish and American regimes due to their non-Christian religious practices.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Michael Hawkins, Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South (Dekalb: NIU Press, 2013); Oona Paredes, “Preserving ‘Tradition’: The Business of Indigeneity in the Modern Philippine Context,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 50, No. 1 (February 2019): 86-106; David P. Barrows, “Circulation of Information, Instructions for Volunteer Field Workers, The Museum of Ethnology, Natural History and Commerce,” The Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, December 1901