Brunei History, Brunei Darussalam
The empire that once included the entire Borneo, Brunei is presently one of the smallest countries of the world - two small slivers of land located in the northern coast of Sarawak. This tiny country has South Asia’s largest oil fields. Apart from the oil fields, Brunei is well known for its pure and beautiful rainforests.
Historians are of the opinion that there was a predecessor to the present Sultanate of Brunei, which was known as Po-ni by the Chinese. The presence of this trading kingdom can be traced from the seventh or eighth century AD, according to the Chinese and Arabic chronicles.
The kingdom saw a new ruler in the ninth century who was a Hindu ruler from Sumatra’s Srivijaya dynasty. There was a brief change in the leadership when the kingdom was taken over by the Majapahit Empire of Java. Soon afterwards the country of Brunei became independent.
The golden era
When we fast forward the rule to the era between 15th and 17th century, we see that the empire went through a golden period. Its rule extended to the northern Philippines and Borneo. Brunei became an extremely powerful empire under the reign of fifth Sultan, Sultan Bolkiah. The ninth ruler, Sultan Hassan, also made this country a powerful empire in the South East Asia.
However, after the death of Sultan Hassan, the empire saw a decline. The main reason for the decline was that there were internal conflicts in the royal family over the issue of succession. The royal family was not unified. The British took advantage of the situation and started controlling their ports. This control over the ports affected and influenced the trading structure of the people of Brunei.
The influential British
The British furthered their control over Brunei and eventually the country became a puppet in the hands of the British. Even though the nation was independent, the external affairs were looked after by English. In 1906, even the executive power was given to the British residents. In 1959, the complete control over the foreign, security and defense departments was taken over.
Brunei became an independent state on January 1, 1984. The Sultan took the office as a Prime Minister. He was also the in-charge of the Finance and Home departments. Later in 1986, the ministry expanded to 11 members. These departments were handed over to other ministers and only the defense department was taken over by the king.
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