Philippines Sultanate of Sulu Insurrecto Flag.

Sub-collection: Captured Flags

Sultanate of Sulu (Moro) Battle Flag, 1899, Captured by Captain Lucien G. Berry.
This small, hand sewn, cotton flag, decorated with local weapons and symbols, is typical of the flags used in the Philippine Islands by Moro Insurrectos. The Insurrectos were fighting for independence, initially from the Kingdom of Spain and then ultimately from the United States of America. All Moro flags were vernacular. As they were made locally they were generally field expedients and betray the great haste in which most were made. Ironically, the flag, which was popularized in 1899, drew its influence from the Stars & Stripes, putting a white star for each island in a blue canton. Represented islands include Kalimantan, Sabah, Palawan, Basilan and Sulu, all of which had been part of the historic Sultanate of Sulu, which sought to retain its independence.

The flag was captured in the Philippines on December 19th, 1899 and returned to the United States alongside other war trophies and souvenirs, by Captain Lucien G. Berry, the Adjutant of United States Volunteers, then serving in the Philippines. Captain Berry's descendants kept the collection until it was sold at auction in 2009.

Despite how much is known about the flag, it still remains something of a mystery. It had a typewritten note attached to it detailing its capture, "Philippine [sic] Insurrection Flag Captured at San Pedro Masantry on day General Lawton Was Killed." But oddly, no such location is known to exist in the modern Philippines. Whether it is a typographical error or an arcane reference to an old name is unknown. This is further clouded by the fact that all the known locations called by the name San Pedro in the Philippines are in the north, while most of the Moro confrontations were in the south. Therefore, the conflict in which this flag was captured may never be known.

Provenance: Acquired at auction from heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas Texas, December 2009.

ZFC Significant Flag


Flags And Symbols Of The Royal Sultanates Of Sulu - Ranao Area And Maguindanao, Royal Panji, 10 October 2011, from: http://royalpanji.net/index.html

Lucien Grant Berry, Arlington National Cemetery, 10 October 2011, from: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/lgberry.htm

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 18.75
Length of Fly 24.5


Width of Union/Canton 8.675
Length of Union/Canton 8.675


Comments on Star Measurements 2-1-2 horizontal rows: stars are six-pointed
Size of Stars 2.125


Size of Hoist 1.5


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 5
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes
Comments on Stars Five stars represent Kalimantan, Sabah, Palawan, Basilan and Sulu.


Has a Blood Stripe? no


Description of Crest/Emblem Moro budjak (spear) and kris (knife) with unidentified circular shield.


Nation Represented Philippines


Fabric Cotton


Stitching Hand


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen Three ties
Method of Attachment Ties


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Flag is used, worn and torn.
Displayable yes


Date 1899