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Brunei is 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.

The first 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 and gold.

Brunei's 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.

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