THE EARLY PERIOD OF SETTLEMENT
The first positive written of the town proper of Cotabato is found in Maguindanao-Kabuntalan-Buayan tarsillas or genealogies. The original manuscripts translated into English in 1905, by Dr. Najeeb Saleeby as part of ethnological survey publications of the department of Interior. The Tarsal speaks briefly on early history of Maguindanao and rise of the sultanate but its principal function was to preserve the record of descent and determine the right succession of the of the sultanate.
But for the present article, this shall confine the background of Cotabato city History to that of Maguindanao proper. In that discussion will lead us to the establishment of the civil government in Cotabato town as distinguished from traditional administration of the maguindanao realm. Undeniably, little has been written about Cotabato part but substantially there exist also a number of travelogues Europeans who visited or stayed at the town some months. For the seventeenth century, there is a great account of the historian Combes, Captain Forrest and William Dampier, both English men whose ships laid anchor in this town, like wise were eyewitness historians of Maguindanao.
It is recorded in tarsila that the beginning of settled life was on the banks of the twin creeks of Rawass maguindanao and slanagan. In terms of local history, Sahriff Kbunsuwan was the son of Jusul Asiquin of Johore and Shariff Ali-Zain Abiden who came to maguindanao and converted to Islam all the people of maguindano, Matampay, Slangan, Simway and Katituan. In this conviction that this period presents the peregrination of the Malay rulers after Malacca fell into the hands of the Portuguese in 1511. However, evidence of the presence of Shariff Marajah and Hasan who proceeded Shariff Kabungsuwan, according to the tarsila, attest to one more generation of bearers of Islam who came to maguindanao. For the dating of Islamization period, the event was roughly in the year 1475 as estimated by Captain Thomas Forrest who visited maguindanao in 1775. And now generally settled in two generations of shariff lineage before Shariff Kabungsuwan because a certain Sharif Awliya (Arabic aula) mentioned in the tarsila as having come to maguindanao, arrived there and begot a daughter entitled “paramisuli”. The Filipino Cesar Adlib Maul has placed that event to take place roughly around 1460.