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Mindanao

Introduction

Mindanao (mĭndənäˈō, –nouˈ) [key], island (1990 pop. 13,535,738), 36,537 sq mi (94,631 sq km), second largest of the Philippine islands, NE of Borneo. About one fifth of the island's population is Muslim (see Moros). The terrain is generally mountainous and heavily forested, rising to 9,690 ft (2,954 m) at Mt. Apo, an active volcano and the highest point in the Philippines. The island is indented by several deep bays and has a large western peninsula, the Zamboanga or Sibuguey Peninsula. Its main rivers are the Mindanao (known as the Pulangi in its upper course), c.200 mi (320 km) long and navigable by small steamers for c.40 mi (60 km); and the Agusan, c.240 mi (390 km) long. The largest lake is Lake Lanao, for centuries the habitat of Muslim Moros. Off the northeast coast in the Philippine Sea is the Mindanao Trench (c.35,000 ft/10,670 m deep), one of the greatest known ocean depths.

Mindanao lies below the typhoon belt, and its climate is more favorable than that of Luzon to the north, but it has been been hit by tropical storms and typhoons. Bananas, pineapples, coconuts, mangoes, and other fruits are grown, as well as rice, corn, and coffee. Fish, especially tuna, and other marine products are harvested. Zamboanga and Davao are the principal cities; Davao is the most important port. There has been considerable industrial growth on the island since the 1960s. The extensive development of the water resources of the Lake Lanao–Agus River basin, including the harnessing of Maria Cristina Falls, has resulted in the establishment of heavy industrial plants, especially in the Iligan area. Mineral resources include gold, nickel, zinc and manganese.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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