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(mĭndənä`ō, –nou`), island (1990 pop. 13,535,738), 36,537 sq mi (94,631 sq km), second largest of the Philippine islands, NE of Borneo. About one fifth of the island's population is Muslim (see MorosMoros
[Span.,=Moors], group of Muslim natives, numbering about 3.8 million, of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and Palawan in the Philippines and of Borneo, who were converted in the great missionary extension of Islam from India in the 15th and 16th cent.
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). The terrain is generally mountainous and heavily forested, rising to 9,690 ft (2,954 m) at Mt. Apo, an active volcano and the highest point in the Philippines. The island is indented by several deep bays and has a large western peninsula, the Zamboanga or Sibuguey Peninsula. Its main rivers are the Mindanao (known as the PulangiPulangi
, river, c.200 mi (320 km) long, rising in the mountains of N Mindanao, the Philippines, and flowing SW to Liguasan Marsh. As the Mindanao River, it flows NW to Illana Bay at Cotabato. It drains a rich rice-growing area.
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 in its upper course), c.200 mi (320 km) long and navigable by small steamers for c.40 mi (60 km); and the Agusan, c.240 mi (390 km) long. The largest lake is Lake Lanao, for centuries the habitat of Muslim Moros. Off the northeast coast in the Philippine Sea is the Mindanao Trench (c.35,000 ft/10,670 m deep), one of the greatest known ocean depths.

Mindanao lies below the typhoon belt, and its climate is more favorable than that of LuzonLuzon
, island (1990 pop. 30,797,458), 40,420 sq mi (104,688 sq km), largest, most populous, and most important of the Philippine Islands. Land and People
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 to the north, but it has been been hit by tropical storms and typhoons. Bananas, pineapples, coconuts, mangoes, and other fruits are grown, as well as rice, corn, and coffee. Fish, especially tuna, and other marine products are harvested. ZamboangaZamboanga
, city (1990 pop. 442,345), Zamboanga del Sur prov., SW Mindanao, the Philippines, at the tip of the Zamboanga peninsula, on Basilan Strait. One of the chief cities of Mindanao and a busy seaport, it is the hub of a major iron-producing and lumbering area, which has
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 and DavaoDavao
, city (1990 pop. 849,947), Davao del Sur prov., SE Mindanao, the Philippines, at the mouth of the Davao River on Davao Gulf. The chief commercial center and major port of Mindanao, Davao experienced much industrial growth in the 1960s, and its population almost tripled.
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 are the principal cities; Davao is the most important port. There has been considerable industrial growth on the island since the 1960s. The extensive development of the water resources of the Lake Lanao–Agus River basin, including the harnessing of Maria Cristina Falls, has resulted in the establishment of heavy industrial plants, especially in the Iligan area. Mineral resources include gold, nickel, zinc and manganese.


In the middle of the 14th cent. Islam spread from Malaya and Borneo to the Sulu Archipelago, and from there to Mindanao. The arrival of the Spanish in the late 16th cent. united the various Muslim groups in a war against the conquerors that lasted some 300 years. The Moros likewise resisted American domination; fighting between U.S. garrisons and Muslim groups occurred early in the 20th cent.

Although many of the Philippine Islands suffered extensive damage in World War II, Mindanao emerged relatively unscathed. As the chief frontier left in the difficult reconstruction years, it was the object of government colonization projects. During the 1960s it experienced a phenomenal population increase and very rapid development. These changes brought serious problems. The native Moros, finding themselves outnumbered and in many cases pushed off their lands, retaliated with terrorist activities. When the Philippine army attempted to restore order, fierce fighting often resulted. In 1969 and the early 1970s several thousand people were killed and hundreds of villages were burned.

In 1971 anthropologists reported the discovery of the TasadayTasaday,
alleged band of 25 hunter-gatherers living in the Philippine rain forest, purportedly contacted by Westerners for the first time in 1971 in southern Mindanao (Cotabato Province).
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, whom they portrayed as a Stone Age people inhabiting caves in Mindanao's rain forest and threatened by the encroachment of lumbering, mining, and ranching interests. By the mid-1980s, when evidence had emerged indicating that the Tasaday were perhaps a division of a neighboring, comparatively sophisticated people, there arose a suspicion that the Tasaday phenomenon was a hoax, possibly instigated by the Marcos government.

In 1976 the Philippine government pledged to grant autonomy to several provinces in Mindanao. It was not until 1990, following a plebiscite boycotted by many Muslims and dominated by Christian majorities in a number of provinces, that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (now consisting of the Mindanao provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur and the Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan provinces in the Sulu Archipelago) was granted partial autonomy. Muslim discontent with partial rule persisted, and unrest and violence continued through 1990s. A 1996 agreement led to peace with one group of rebels and the expansion of the autonomous region in 2001. Negotiations continued with another Moro group, but they and fundamentalist Islamic guerrillas have continued fighting and terror attacks.

An agreement reached (Nov., 2007) in principle with the second Moro group collapsed after it was challenged in court (and subsequently declared unconstitutional). Significant fighting broke out beginning in Aug., 2008, between government forces and some Moro rebels. Government military operations continued until mid-2009. Peace talks resumed late in 2009, but subsequently there were occasional outbreaks of fighting. In 2012 the government and the second Moro group signed a framework peace agreement that would create a new autonomous region superseding the current one, but that accord prompted a splinter group of the rebels who had signed the 1996 agreement to launch attacks in Sept., 2013. A 2014 peace agreement with the second group called for replacing the autonomous region by 2016 with a new one, to be called Bangsamoro, with somewhat enlarged territory and increased autonomy. Legislation creating Bangsamoro was stalled until 2018; it came into existence following a referendum in 2019. Five months of devastating fighting erupted in Marawi between the military and hundreds of Islamic militants after a military raid in May, 2017, to capture the militants' leader failed.



an island in the southern part of the Philippine Archipelago; the second largest island (after Luzon) in the Philippines, with an area of 94,600 sq km. The terrain consists of volcanic massifs rising to 2,954 m and lowlands; the Apo volcano is the country’s highest peak. Mindanao has an irregular shape, with many large bays and narrow peninsulas jutting far into the ocean. The island is composed of shale, sandstone, limestone, and basalt, and it has active volcanoes. Coastal lowlands and large intermontane valleys are frequently marshy. There are deposits of coal, iron ores, and nonferrous metals.

The climate is subequatorial and monsoonal, except in the south, where it is equatorial. Throughout the year the temperature on the plains ranges from 25° to 28°C. Annual precipitation ranges from 1,000 to 4,000 mm. The chief rivers are the Mindanao and its tributary, the Pulangi (about 550 km long), and the Agusan. There are many lakes, of which the largest is Lake Lanao. The island’s tropical and monsoonal forests consist of dipterocarps, pandanuses, and nipa palms, and other species. Mangrove forests are found in places along the coast. The chief economic activity is farming, and the most important crops are coconuts, rice, Manila hemp, and pineapples. Population, 7.3 million (1970, estimate). The principal cities are Davao and Zamboanga.




an interisland sea in the southern part of the Philippine Archipelago, lying between the islands of Siquijor, Bohol, and Leyte in the north and Mindanao in the south. It opens to the Pacific Ocean in the east and to the Sulu Sea in the west. The maximum depth is 1,975 m, and the average annual water temperature exceeds 28°C. Salinity is approximately 34 parts per thousand. Currents generally flow westward and have speeds of up to 2 km per hr. Tides are irregular and semidiurnal, rising more than 2 m. There are many coral formations along the coasts.


the second largest island of the Philippines, in the S part of the archipelago: mountainous and volcanic. Chief towns: Davao, Zamboanga. Pop.: 13 626 338 (2000). Area: (including offshore islands) 94 631 sq. km (36 537 sq. miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
Dr Ralph Brussatis is running a clinic in the mountain villages on the Mindanao island as part of a volunteering project.
Clashes between government and guerrilla forces since February have led more than 100,000 villagers to free their homes in central Mindanao, on the main part of Mindanao Island.
Many of the injured were in a critical condition and officials on Mindanao island said they expected the death toll to rise.
based in Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines, is 550 million yen and the World Bank will provide $4 million in grants-in-aid, approximately equivalent to 486 million yen, for the project.
Raul Rabe, a retired career diplomat, was appointed special envoy to the Americas and also to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), suggesting Arroyo will also seek to emphasize issues in the southern Philippine's Mindanao Island.
on Thursday and met with the directly hired Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) from Davao on Mindanao island in the Philippines.
Summary: Zamboanga City [Philippines], Dec 14 (ANI): The Philippine Congress has approved a request by President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in the southern Mindanao Island for another year.
Arab News photo) MANILA - 127 days into the ongoing Marawi crisis, the Philippine authorities have yet to establish how Daesh-inspired Maute fighters and foreign jihadists laid siege to the country's only Islamic city; the capital of Lanao del Sur province on Mindanao island.
The whole Mindanao island has been placed under an extended martial law since the terrorists attacked Marawi City in late May.
On May 23, Duterte placed Mindanao island under martial law after violence broke out in Marawi City as government forces moved to arrest leaders of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Basilan faction, led by Isnilon Hapilon.
The IDPs are scattered across regions not only in the Mindanao Island but also in the Visayas and Luzon, Hervilla explained.