Brunei :: History

1405 Bruneiís monarch Sultan Muhammad embraced Islam and founded a dynasty which continues today - making Bruneiís monarchy the oldest unbroken reigning dynasty in the world.
16thC Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei practically controlled the whole of Borneo (including Sabah and Sarawak) and the Sulu Archipelago
1521 Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian del Cano arrived in Brunei and laid the groundwork for trade with Europeans.
1841 Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II granted Sarawak to James Brooke (a British army officer) as a reward for aid in quelling a civil war. Brooke thus became Rajah Booke (rajah means king or prince).
1846 Brunei ceded the island of Labuan (in Brunei Bay) to Britain.
1849-54 British destroyed Brunei-supported pirates operating between Singapore and Borneo.

BRITISH RULE
1888 Brunei became a British protectorate
1890 Rajah Brooke started to expand his territory and annexed Limbang ... dividing Brunei in half.
1906 Brunei administered by a British resident advisor, with the sultan having nominal authority.
1929 Oil extraction began at Seria; commercial production three years later brought much wealth to Brunei.
1941-45 Brunei occupied by the Japanese during World War II.
1950 Omar Ali Saifuddin III inaugurated sultan.
1959 Brunei achieved self-government; Britain remained responsible for defense and foreign policy.

RULE BY DECREE
1962 Legislative Council election results annulled after leftist Brunei People's Party won all 10 elected seats in the 21-member council; sultan declared state of emergency and ruled by decree.
1963 Brunei invited to join the Malaysian Federation but chose to remain a British dependency.
1967 Sultan Omar abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Hassanal Bolkiah.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) established by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Thailand.

INDEPENDENCE
1984 Brunei became independent on January 1, and an Islamic sultanate was proclaimed. The legislative council was suspended and the sultan became prime minister.
1988 Brunei National Democratic Party (BNDP) and Brunei National Solidarity Party (BNSP) banned.
1990 Sultan Bolkiah introduced ideology of Malay Islamic Monarchy which would be administered according to the teachings of Islam.
1991 Brunei pumped its 1 billionth barrel of oil.

ROYAL SCANDAL
1998 Sultan Bolkiah removed his younger brother, Prince Jefri Bolkiah, as chief of Brunei Investment Agency over concerns about his stewardship of agency.

Sultan Bolkiah's eldest son, Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, became heir apparent.
2000 Brunei filed civil suit against Prince Jefri Bolkiah for alleged misuse of state funds. Case was settled out of court. Court documents revealed that he spent $2.7 billion on luxury goods over 10 years.

In August, Brunei said it would retrain up to 25% of the workforce to diversify the economy away from oil to alternative industries.
2001 Auction was held of more than 10,000 items belonging to Prince Jefri.

In November, Brunei hosted 7th ASEAN summit.
2004 Legislative council met in September for first time in 20 years with 21 members appointed by the Sultan.
2005 Major cabinet reshuffle in May ushered in younger faces and ministers with private sector experience.

Sultan dissolved legislative council on 1 September and appointed a new council with 29 members the next day.