The Moro are of mixed Malayan stock, with some Arab and Chinese admixture. They are a short, brown-skinned, black-haired people, following an economy based on fishing, some farming, and the manufacture of cloth, brass, and steel. Moro homes, often on or near water, are raised high on poles. The timbers are lashed together with rattan, and the sides and roofs are made of palm leaves sewed together.

In the Philippines, any of several Muslim peoples of Mindanao, Palawan, the Sulu Archipelago, and other southern islands. Constituting about 5 percent of the Philippine population, they can be classified linguistically into 10 subgroups: the Maguindanao of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Maguindanao provinces; the Maranao of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur provinces; the Tausug, mostly of Jolo Island; the Samal, mostly in the Sulu Archipelago; the Bajau, mostly in the Sulu Archipelago; the Yakan of Zamboanga del Sur province; the Ilanon of southern Mindanao; the Sangir of southern Mindanao; the Melabugnan of southern Palawan; and the Jama Mapun of the Cagayan Islands. The Moro are not racially different from other Filipinos but--with a separate Islamic faith (introduced from Borneo and Malaya in the 14th century) and local cultures--have remained outside the mainstream of Philippine life and have been the object of popular prejudice and national neglect. Moro conflict with ruling powers has a centuries-long history: from the 16th to the 19th century they resisted Roman Catholic Spanish colonialists, who tried to extirpate their "heresy"; in the first decade of the 20th century they battled against U.S. occupation troops in a futile hope of establishing a separate sovereignty; and, finally, they spawned insurgencies against the independent Philippine government, especially from the late 1960s on.

Historically, Muslim Filipinos have never constituted a collective entity. The various groups or tribes have often been fiercely independent, have clashed with one another at times, and have independently grafted Islamic tenets and practices onto their distinct local cultures. Nevertheless, internal differences have been outweighed by the common grievances that the Moro have experienced vis-à-vis non-Muslims in the Philippines. After World War II, their traditional grievances as religious and economic outcasts were exacerbated by the great migration of northern Christian Filipinos into the southern provinces, where they bought up land and tried, Moros alleged, to Christianize the schools and other institutions. In 1971 the Manila Times estimated that 800,000 Muslims were refugees turned out of their lands by Christians.

The main contemporary resistance group espousing Moro separatism--the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), founded in 1968--instituted a terrorist insurgency that left 50,000 dead, drew in about half of the Philippine armed forces, and drove some 20,000 Muslim refugees to Sabah, East Malaysia, before a ceasefire was arranged in late l976. In l976-77 the Ferdinand Marcos administration in Manila offered regional autonomy to the various Moro groups, but in 1977 the MNLF president, Nur Misuari, renewed a demand for total independence for the southern Philippines and gained diplomatic and military support first from Libya and then from Iran. The war nevertheless dwindled to Moro raids and ambushes, and the MNLF itself was reported to have split into factions, partly on the lines of traditional ethnic and regional Moro rivalries.


nomadic people of N Africa, originally inhabitants of Mauretania. They became Muslims in the 8th cent. and went to Spain (711), where they overran the Visigoths. They spread northward across the Pyrenees into France but were turned back by CHARLES MARTEL in 732. In S Spain, however, they established the Umayyad emirate (later caliphate) at Córdoba. The court grew in wealth, splendor, and culture. Other centers of Moorish culture were Toledo, Granada, and Seville. The Moors never established a stable central government. In the 11th cent. the caliphate fell, and Moorish Spain was captured by the ALMORAVIDS, who were supplanted in 1174 by the ALMOHADS. During this period, Christian rulers continued efforts in N Spain to recapture the south. In 1085 ALFONSO VI of León and Castile recovered Toledo. Córdoba fell in 1236, and one by one the Moorish strongholds surrendered. The last Moorish city, Granada, fell to FERDINAND V and ISABELLA I in 1492. Most of the Moors were driven from Spain, but two groups, the Mudejares and MORISCOS, remained.

MOORS converted to Christianity after the Christian reconquest (11th-15th cent.) of Spain. The religion and customs of Muslims in the Christian parts of Spain were generally respected until the fall of Granada (1492), after which Moors who refused conversion were coerced. They rebelled (1500-1502) unsuccessfully. Although most Moors accepted conversion, others were persecuted by the INQUISITION. The Moriscos rose in a bloody rebellion (1568-71), which was put down by PHILIP II. They prospered in spite of persecution, but Philip decreed (1609) their expulsion for both religious and political reasons.


tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church formed to suppress heresy. In 1233 Pope GREGORY IX established the papal Inquisition to combat the heresy of the ALBIGENSES. The Inquisition used judicial torture but rarely condemned prisoners to burn; imprisonment was the norm. To deal with Protestantism, PAUL III assigned (1542) the Inquisition to the Holy Office. This was replaced (1965) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which governs vigilance in matters of faith. The Spanish Inquisition, independent of the papal Inquisition, was established (1478) by the Spanish monarchs to punish converted Jews and Muslims who were insincere. Headed by people such as Tomás de TORQUEMADA, it was notoriously harsher than the medieval Inquisition and much freer with the death penalty. Soon every Spaniard came to fear its power. It was finally abolished in 1834.