Maguindanao is a province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Its capital is Shariff Aguak. It borders Lanao del Sur to the north, Cotabato to the east, and Sultan Kudarat to the south.
Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johore introduced Islam in the area at the end of the 15th century. He subsequently married a local princess from the Maranao Tribe of Malabang and Maguindanao Province, and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The Cotabato Valley formed the sultanate's heartland but its influence extended from the Zamboanga Peninsula to Sarangani Bay and Davao.
The Spaniards launched expeditions to subdue the area throughout the colonial era but they never gained control of the region until the middle of the 19th century.
In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces entered what is now Maguindanao.
In 1945, Maguindanao was liberated by allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and Maguindanaoan guerrilla units after defeating the Japanese Imperial forces in the Battle of Maguindanao during the Second World War.
The old province of Cotabato was divided in 1966 into Cotabato and South Cotabato. In 1973, the successor province of Cotabato was split into the provinces of Maguindanao, (North) Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
Maguindanao is the only Muslim-majority province of the four created out of the original Cotabato Province. In 1989, majority of its voters opted to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao but Cotabato City did not, which, ironically, has since served as the provisional capital of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
On October 31, 2006, Maguindanao voters approved the creation of a new province to be composed of 10 towns from the province. Of more than 500,000 voters registered, 285,372 favored the creation of the province, and 8,802 voted against it. The new province, Shariff Kabunsuan, became the country's 80th province and the 6th in the ARMM. It was composed of the towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Sultan Mastura, Parang, Buldon, Matanog and Barira. However, in July 2008, the Supreme Court nullified the province's creation, restoring its municipalities to Maguindanao.
2009 election violence
On November 23, 2009, a 2010 gubernatorial election caravan supporting Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan, was attacked. Fifty-seven people were killed, including Mangudadatu's wife and sisters, supporters, local journalists, and bystanders. On December 4, 2009 a number of homes belonging to the Ampatuan political family were raided in connection with the massacre.
In a press conference past 7 am, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced Proclamation No. 1959 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao, except for certain areas identified as bailiwicks of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separatists.
The declaration of martial law will lead to the "arrests without warrants" of other members of the Ampatuan clan who have been linked to the November 23 massacre of 58 civilians.
Last August 15, 2011, Provincial Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and his convoy were ambushed in a form of bombing as they were on their way to his birthday celebration.