Historical Background

Blessed with bountiful reserves of petroleum and natural gas, Brunei despite having a small population has always enjoyed high standards of living. In the 6th century Brunei, used to trade with and pay tribute to China, before it came under the influence of the Majapahit empire, based in Java. Towards the end of the 16th century, the country was torn by internal strife. As a result by the 19th century, Brunei’s power declined considerably by ceding major chunks of its land to other countries. Some of the ceded lands were Sabah, Labuan (to the UK) and Sarawak.

Similar to other countries in the South Asia, Brunei was also subject to British rule, but in a different form. The country was a British protectorate, whereby the sultan had to accept the decisions British resident who was vested with the powers of the administration. Between 1941 & 45, during the Second World War, Brunei was occupied by the Japanese. This was followed by their struggle to gain independence, by first removing the British resident and establishing a high commissioner. But the British still remained responsible for the defence and foreign policies of the land.

Brunei then adopted the form of a representative government, with a written constitution, which was interrupted by revolts from the general public. With British help this was subdued. In 1979 Brunei signed a treaty with the United Kingdom which granted it its independence by 1984. And when in 1984 Brunei gained its independence an Islamic state was proclaimed.

To know more about the history of Brunei, refer to the following link:


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