an independent nation ever since 1984. Its history is long and colorful
and is one of Southeast Asia's oldest sovereign nations. Brunei has a
recorded history of over 600 years. The country rose to prominence in
the 15th and 16th centuries with the size covering Borneo and the entire
present day Philippines.
sultan to embrace Islam in Brunei was Sultan Muhammad I who reigned for
39 years in the 14th century. Around the year 1478, the sultans in the
region managed to free themselves from the clutches of Hindu rulers and
soon after that, Islam became rooted in Brunei. The first capital was
established during the pre Islamic era. It is known as Puni, in the district
of Temburong. The capital city was later moved to Kota Batu where the
Brunei Museum now stands. The final move came during the reign of Sultan
Muhyiddin I during the 17th century. Now, Bandar Seri Begawan is the country's
capital. Brunei's past wealth was based on the export of camphor, pepper
golden era was based on two rulers, Sultan Bolkiah and Sultan Hassan.
During their reign, the Royal Court rose in strength and splendor and
was equal to anywhere in the world. Religious influence was at its peak.
Brunei showed a decline in power and territory during the European influence
in the 17th and 18th centuries. British influence was predominant and
most of its territory fell into the hands of James Brooke, the white raja
of Sarawak. In 1888, Brunei became a part of the British protectorate
and the British Residential system was introduced to Brunei in 1906. However,
in 1959, Brunei managed to regain full internal sovereignty. Britain remained
in charge of defence and foreign affairs. In 1918, Brunei installed their
Yang Di Pertuan, the Sultan Muhammad Jamulul Alam who is the 20th ruler
and the great grandfather of the present sultan.
Oil was discovered
in the year 1929, during the rule of the 27th Sultan of Brunei, Ahmad
Tajuddin. The sultan ruled for 26 years from 1924 - 1950. And in 1959,
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien became the 28th Sultan of Brunei. He is the
father of the present sultan. He reigned from 1950 to 1967. His vision
expanded Brunei towards prosperity and modernity. He opposed to all attempts
to merge Brunei with North Borneo and Sarawak, instead maintaining a separate
identity for Brunei. He fought to restore Brunei's glory. In 1967, Sultan
Omar Ali Saifuddien descended from the throne and his eldest son, the
current sultan, took his place as the rightful leader - the 29th Sultan
of Brunei. Finally, after 96 years with Britain, His Majesty the Sultan
Hj Hassanal Bolkiah proclaimed Brunei Darussalam a sovereign, independent,
and democratic Muslim monarchy on January 1st, 1984.