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    Sultanate of Sulu - Moro Flag - Philippine-American War - Lt. Furlong & Capt. Buttner. Between 1899 and 1913, the inhabitants of the southern Philippines refused to acquiesce to U.S. authority, professing nominal loyalty to the Sultanate of Sulu. They evolved a "war flag," likely, and perhaps ironically, based on the "Stars and Stripes," consisting generally of a flag with a dark blue almost black canton bearing stars and traditional weapons of war displayed on red field. War flags of this type were commonly used by the combatants of these islands and became desirable trophies for American soldiers.

    The flag is a homemade, 27" X 40", wool/cotton, 5-star, single applique, hand-sewn flag finished with a cotton header and ties at the upper and lower hoist. The flag is inscribed on the upper reverse hoist, "MORO CAPT. BUTTNER." The term moro is Spanish reference to a member of any of several Muslim peoples of the southern Philippines. It derives from the Spanish word for the people of Morocco, the Moors, and, by extension, to all Muslims. Capt. Buttner, is a reference to a career U.S. Army officer Capt. Julius C. Buttner (1878-1954), who acquired the flag in 1909 from then Lt. (later Captain) Leonard Furlong of the Philippine Constabulary.

    The Sultanate of Sulu (1405-1915), was a Muslim state that ruled the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, all or parts of, Mindanao, Palawan, Jolo, Borneo, Sabah, and Kalimantan. In its prime, circa 1675, it was a thalassocracy wielding supreme theocratic and political power over the Sulu Sea, until various western powers arrived - Spanish, British, Dutch, French, and German - all of whom colonized portions of the sultanate. The last were the Americans, who took their mantle from Spain after the Spanish American War.

    The "war flags" of the Moros were universally red, with a dark blue, almost black canton bearing five stars for the Sulu archipelago, Palawan, Basilan, Sabah (North Borneo and Kalimantan. On the fiel were their ceremonial weapons of war the Kris, the spear and religious symbols, often crescent and star. There were often local variants, but these attributes were ubiquitous.

    This flag was originally acquired by Leonard Furlong (1877-1911), an officer in the Philippine Constabulary. An infantry officer, Furlong went to the Philippines in 1900 with the 2nd Infantry. When the 2nd returned to the U.S. in 1903, he remained in the Philippines as 3rd Lt. with the Philippine Constabulary. Lt. Furlong soon won a reputation as a fearless and respected fighter and inspirational leader. He commanded 1st Cotabato Co., Moro Constabulary, a mixed Christian/Muslim unit on Mindanao. He would remain constantly in the field for six years and would be recommended for the Constabulary Medal of Valor four times before it was awarded in 1907, one of only 16 Americans accorded that honor. Where he acquired this flag remains unknown, but it was likely on Mindanao. He was eventually promoted Captain and, in 1909, conveyed this flag to Capt. Julius C. Buttner, the Senior Inspector of the Philippine Constabulary.

    Capt. Buttner would go on to serve in WWI as the Supply Officer for the 305th Infantry, 77th Division in France. He would retain this flag until 1949, when he gifted it to Dr. Rungee.

    While Moro flags are well known, documented battle flags associated with known officers rarely come to market. This flag is for an advanced collector of Philippine Campaign, Philippine Constabulary, Mindanao Campaign or Moro artifacts.

    Awards: Capt. Leonard Furlong: Philippine Constabulary Medal of Valor. Capt. Julius Butner, Philippine Campaign Medal, WWI Victory Medal with three campaign Stars.

    Condition: The flag is in good condition. It is used, worn, and lightly soiled with some wear on the fly edge.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,172

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