Tausug map
  • AKA: Taw Sug, Tau Suug, Sulu, Suluk, Moro, Joloano, Taw Suluk
  • Location: Sulu archipelago
  • Subsistence: Rice, corn, yams, cassava, millet, and sorgum; fishing; coconut and hemp production for cash.
  • Population: 701,367 (1994)

The name "Tausug" supposedly means “People of the Current,” though it is also said to derive from tau, "person," and Suug which is the old name for the island of Jolo. This widespread group has a large population in Malaysia as well as the Philippines. Core areas are in Jolo, Indanan, Siasi, and Patikul; in Sulu Province there are over 413,700. The Tausug are very homogeneous and very Moslem in their ways, with society structured around a sultanate. The language is similar to that of the Butuanon and Kamayo of north-eastern Mindanao, and the venturesome Tausug are thought to have moved to Jolo from that area about the 11th century A.D., long before the arrival of Islam. The Tausug have long dominated their new home in the Sulus as a result both of superior numbers and their political and religious institutions. Weaving and metalcraft are quite developed; the Tausug kris is quite well known. Trade is a very important occupation, and the Tausug language serves as the lingua franca in the south. Kin is figured bilaterally to the second cousin, with the patrilateral side favored. The government is headed by the sultan, who is elected by a small staff. Beneath him things are run by the datus common to the southern Philippines, although here they are said to be descendents of the original sultan.