Sunday, 10 February 2013

Brief History of Brunei

Brunei kampong Ayer in Past

About Brunei Darussalam Brief History, Barunai derived from the word Barunah! exclaimed by the settlers who reached the Brunei river (now located in the capital), Barunah means "Oh yeah!". It was the classical Malay expression meant excellence of the right settlement, security, access and richness of the surrounding. Barunai, of Sanskrit origin, comes from the word Varuna. 

In its Malay context, it referred to a nation of seafarers and traders. Brunei and Borneo were among early European references to the state and the island.

The second sultan, Sultan Ahmad, was the first to name 'Brunei' from the word 'Barunah'.
Darussalam, Arabic terms for Abode of Peace, was added in the 15th century by the third sultan, Sharif Ali, to emphasise Islam as state religion, and to enhance its spread.
Old Brunei was a nation of Malay Hindu-Buddhists, according to a Chinese account of Puli, believed to be an early Chinese reference to Brute Old Brunei was said to have Similar Malay-Hindu Buddhist traditions and customs as Funan or Kumlun, Chinese names for the first Malay state in Indochina during the early Christian era. Indians knew it as Sailendra, and Arab traders called it Kamrun.
Brunei Gurkha Band
Brunei Gurkha Band

The early king of Brunei was called Sang Aji, or Reverend Monarch, a title of Sanskrit origin. The Brunei ruling dynasty changed during the early 1360s when Awang Alak Betatar, a prince from a powerful kingdom in western Borneo, ascended the Brunei throne. He became the first Brunei ruler and the present ruler is his descendant.

Awang Alak Betatar was the first Brunei Raja to accept Islam, changing his title and name to Sultan Muhammad Shah (1363-1402) in honour of the Prophet.
With Islam, Brunei asserted and expanded its role as an independent and dominant trading power in the region. Its trade and territories grew with the spread of Islam to encompass existing Malay kingdoms in Borneo and the Philippines.

During the early spread of Islam in Brunei, many Arab Muslim missionaries married into Brunei royal family. The most notable was Sharif Ah from Taif, Arabia, who married a daughter of the second sultan, and later ascended the throne as the third Sultan in 1425.
Before Brunei became a Muslim Sultanate in the 14th century, Chinese accounts told of the dominance of Muslim traders in the 9th and 10th centuries.

In 977, for example, the Brunei Raja (then a Hindu-Buddhist) sent three Muslim traders as Brunei's envoys to the Sung court of China, mainly to represent Brunei in Brunei-China trade. It is believed that there was a community of influential Muslims in Brunei during this period.

The royal genealogy of Brunei's sultans dates back nearly 600 years when in 1365, Awang Alak Betatar embraced Islam, married a Johore princess, and assumed the title Sultan Muhammad, according to early chronicles.

A Persian missionary and direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, Sharif Ali, as Brunei's third sultan, further spread Islam, built mosques, and the first defence barriers at Kota Batu and across the Brunei river.

The sultanate's golden age dawned with the reign of the fifth sultan, Nakhoda Ragam or the singing captain, Sultan Bolkiah, who was famous for many conquests.

His voyages took him to Java, Malacca and the Philippines, where he seized Seludong (Manila). His rule extended over the Sultanates of Sambas, Pontianak, Banjarmasin, Pasi Kotei, Balongan, the Sulu Archipelago, and Islands of Balabac, Banggi, Balambangan and Palawan.

Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian chronicler during Ferdinand Magellan's world voyage, visited Brunei during Sultan Bolkiah's reign, and he wrote about the splendour of the sultan's court and a view of the state capital.

Legends have Brunei founded some 29 reigns ago by 14 brothers of heroic stature and semi-divine descent, according to a Monograph of the Brunei Museum Journal.

The exploits of the 14 founding heroes of Brunei are recounted in a very lengthy poem called the "Sha'er Awang Semaun."

In 1967, after 17 years of benevolent reign, Sultan Haji Sir Muda Omar Ah Saifuddien voluntarily abdicated it favour of his eldest son, His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who pledged to carry on his father's policies.
He descended from the throne with the title Seri Begawan Sultan Haji Omar Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien. In 1984, he became the Defence Minister of Negara Brunei Darussalam. He died in 1986.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan Brunei Darussalam ascended the throne on October 5, 1967 as the 29th Sultan. He further pushed Brunei Darussalam on the road to greater economic and social development.

Brunei gained full independence in 1984. 

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