Brunei was an early hub of trade in Southeast
Asia. In the 15th century, Brunei became an independent
sultanate who, during the 16th century, ruled over
surrounding areas. Thereafter, a decline occurred. The
Sultanate became a British protectorate in 1888.
Brunei was in ancient times an important trading
place on the road between China and Borneo. In the 15th
century, Brunei liberated itself from the Javanese
kingdom of Majapahit. During the 16th century, the
Sultanate of Brunei ruled large parts of Borneo and the
Philippine island world. It exported, among other
things, hardwood and edible swallow nests to China in
exchange for silk, metals and porcelain.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Brunei, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
During the following two centuries, Brunei gradually
lost in strength. In the 19th century, the Sultanate was
trapped between various British invaders who took care
of its territory - the "White Rajahs" of Sarawak and the
Borneo Company in Sabah (see Malaysia: Ancient History).
In 1888, the Sultan found it too good to stand under the
protection of the British Crown and Brunei became a
British protectorate. However, the Sultan remained
religious at all.
A period during World War II, 1941-1945, Brunei was
occupied by Japan.