Battle of Bayan 1902

What was happening in 1902?

The Philippine-American War began in 1899. This war was fought in the Philippines between Filipino revolutionaries and the U.S. army. The American army was able to defeat the main Filipino armies by 1902 and had arrested the head of the Filipino revolutionaries, ending hostilities in most parts of the Philippines.

But in the southern islands of Philippines, the Moro people rebelled against the American rule and started fighting back. This led to the Moro rebellion which would last all the way until 1914. The Battle of Bayan was one of the earliest battles of this rebellion.

Background of the battle

In 1899, the American government had signed a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu. The U.S. army hoped that this would pacify the Moro population. But the Moro population had many Sultans and not all of them agreed to the terms of the treaty.

So when the Americans started arriving in the Moro areas to exert the American colonial rule, the Moro people in many parts started resisting. This led to many minor conflicts which led to a few deaths on both sides. The American army then decided to send a proper expedition into the Moro areas and to tackle the rebellion. This led to the Battle of Bayan.

When and where did the battle take place?

The Battle of Bayan was fought on May 2, 1902 and May 3, 1902. It was fought on the southern side of the Lanao Lake near the area of Malabang in southern Philippines.

Commanders on both sides

The American army was commanded by Colonel Frank D. Baldwin. He commanded a force of around 1200 soldiers. The American army also had 4 mountain guns. The Moro side was led by the Sultan of Bayan who commanded a force of around 600 Moro warriors.

The Fighting

The Moro warriors, under the leadership of the Sultan of Bayan, had fortified themselves in two forts. On May 2, the American army had reached near these forts and demanded the Moro to surrender. When they refused, the army launched an attack on one of the forts.

Despite fierce resistance, the Americans were able to take control fairly quickly. However, the Sultan and most of the Moro warriors had fled to the second fort which was stronger. The Americans attacked this second fort the same day and tried to storm it by force as well. But the Moro resisted fiercely and by the time the day ended, the fort had still not be taken over by the American soldiers . The next day, as the American forces prepared for another attack, the Moro agreed to surrender.

Result and Aftermath

The Battle of Bayan was a significant victory for the American army. However, by using force rather than reconciliation in the Moro area, the army also paved the way for the Moro Rebellion which would last all the way until 1914. During the Battle of Bayan, around 400 to 500 Moro were killed while another 9 were captured. On the American side, 11 soldiers were killed and 42 were wounded.

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