First Battle of Bud Dajo 1906

What was happening in 1906?

American army had arrived in the Philippines in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. After defeating Spain, American government became the new colonial ruler of the archipelago. This led to the Philippine-American War in which the Filipinos fought against the Americans in a bid for independence.

The war was officially ended in 1902 when the American army was able to gain control of most of the Philippines. But it continued in the southern areas of Philippines where the Moro population lived. The Moro people refused to accept American colonial rule and then led to a number of battles between the two sides. The First Battle of Bud Dajo was one of them.

Background of the Battle

The Moro Rebellion against the American forces had begun as early as 1899. By 1906, the American army had been able to gain control of the most of the Moro areas and had imposed the new colonial rule. By this time, the army had also been able to defeat Moro in many battles.

In 1906, a few Moro who had escaped capture by the American authorities seeking them, took refuge in a volcanic crater of Bud Dajo. This was a fairly elevated and remote place.

Soon, many more Moro who didn’t like the American rule, started arriving at Bud Dajo and the population at this volcanic crater swelled to more than 1000. At the same time, the Moro at Bud Dajo started raiding the nearby areas for cattle and other provisions. Governor Leonard Wood, who was the American governor of the Moro Province at the time, then decided to attack Bud Dajo.

When and where did the battle take place?

The Battle of Bud Dajo took place at Bud Dajo on the Jolo Island of the Philippines. It was fought from March 5, 1906 to March 8, 1906.

Commanders on both sides

The American army was led by Colonel Joseph W. Duncan. Duncan led a force of around 750 soldiers.

The Moro population at Bud Dajo numbered at around 1000 and had no single leader.

The Fighting

Before the fighting, Governor Wood asked the Moro at Bud Dajo to give up their weapons. When they refused, he then asked them to send their women and children away, so that they may not suffer in the fighting. Again, the Moro refused.

The American army then launched the attack. The Moro fought back fiercely but slowly, the Americans were able to climb uphill and by the end of March 7, they had reached the rim of the crater. The next day, the army used machine gun and other artillery pieces to kill any other Moros in the crater.

Result and Aftermath

The Battle of the Bud Dajo was the bloodiest battle between the Moro people and the American forces. Of the 1000 Moro who lived in the Bud Dajo, only 6 had survived after the battle. On the American side, 21 soldiers had died and 70 had been wounded.

hen the American press reported the high number of women and children who had died in this battle, many in USA criticized the actions of the army. Governor Wood took full responsibility of the battle and was subsequently removed from the position of the governor of Moro Province.

Learn about the First Battle of Bud Dajo at Wikipedia