The New Student's Reference Work/Mindanao

Mindanao (mḗn′dȧ-nä′ṓ), the most southeastern of the Philippine Islands, next in size to Luzon, containing, it is estimated, 37,000 square miles. The population of that portion under Spanish domination was given by the last census made under the Spaniards as a little over 200,000. The population now ascertained is 499,634, of whom nearly 253,000 are uncivilized. The surface is broken into high mountains, reaching in the case of Apo, a volcano near Davao Gulf, an altitude of over 10,000 feet. The wet and the dry season shift from one side of the island to the other according to the direction of the prevailing winds. The island is densely wooded with timber of great value, and the tropical fauna is varied and abundant. The inhabitants are greatly divided in origin, temperament and religion. The interior is held by wild tribes of Malayan race or by the small, black Negritos with whom they have intermarried. The Jesuits, who knew most about the island before the American occupancy, divided the people into 24 distinct tribes, of whom 17 were pagan, six Mohammedan (Moro) and the remainder Christian Visayans, who came from the north. The warlike Moros are most dreaded, and, living along the frequented coasts, have held command of all important points. The rivers are larger and longer than those of Luzon, the Butan practically traversing the whole island from south to north. The soil is wonderfully productive. Gold is believed to exist in the mountains. The capital is Zamboanga, a large, clean city, with a pier extending into moderately deep water. This island was the first of the group to be discovered by Magellan in 1521.