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Over the successive years, the MNLF has splintered into several different groups including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which wanted to establish an Islamic state within the Philippines.The Moro Insurgency is rooted in a long history of resistance by the Bangsamoro people against foreign rule, dating back to the American annexation of the Philippines in 1898 even as they are not part of Spain's Act of War.During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the Moros waged an insurgency against the Japanese on Mindanao and Sulu until Japan surrendered in 1945.Moro Juramentados attacked the Spanish, Americans, Philippine Constabulary and the Japanese.Another grievance by the Moro people is the extraction of Mindanao's natural resources by the central government whilst many Moros continued to live in poverty.
For a series of attacks over Sabah, see Moro attacks on Sabah.
On 14 August 1898, after defeating Spanish forces, the United States had established a military government in the Philippines under General Wesley Merritt as Military Governor. Bates was sent to negotiate a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram II.
Kiram was disappointed by the American takeover, as he expected to regain sovereignty after the defeat of Spanish forces in the archipelago.
On 20 March 1900, General Bates was replaced by Brigadier General William August Kobbé and the District of Mindanao-Jolo was upgraded to a full department.
American forces in Mindanao were reinforced and hostilities with the Moro people lessened, although there are reports of Americans and other civilians being attacked and slain by Moros.