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Theme 2

Brunei : Ancient Brunei to 16th Century

Early names of Ancient Brunei

By traders of other countries

By the Chinese traders
Buruneng, Borrei,
By the Arab traders
Burneau, Borney,
P’o-li, Bu-ni, Fo-ni, Borneo, Bruneo, Burne,
Po-ni, Po-lo, Bruni, Bornui, Bruni, Bhurni,
Wen-lai, Bun-lai,  WrittenSribuza, Dzabaja,
in the Chinese records Karpuradvipa (camphor
Pu-lo-chung, Ye-po-  Randj
Recorded in the 6th century land),
ti,  Located in the north-west coast of Borneo
Vijayapura (victory),
Fo-shih-pu-lo Varunai (seaborn)
 Written in the Chinese and Arab records
 Recorded in the 7th century
Vijayapura  Founded by members of the Funan royal family
 The royal family changed the name P’o-li to Vijayapura
 The Chinese referred Vijayapura as Fo-shih-pu-lo
 The Arabs called it as Sribuza
 It was a trading empire
 The people traded in champor (main export) and other
forest produces
 With trade, the empire began to extend

Funan was located in present-day Cambodia
The royal family of Funan fled from their kingdom when it was
attacked and captured by the people of Chenla
They landed on the northwest coast of Borneo with their followers

Po-ni  Written in the Chinese reports

 Recorded in 977 (10th century)
 The Chinese used the name Po-ni to refer to the Brunei

Written records on Ancient Brunei

1225 (by Chua Ju-Kua)
Located on Brunei Bay
Had 100 warships

The religions were Hinduism

and Buddhism The king was carried in a
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A trading empire which

exported camphor There was a lot of gold

Controlled large parts of 1365

Borneo islands (Sabah
Became a vassal state of
and Sarawak)

Controlled Sulu reports on PO- Paid a tribute of 40 katis
NI of camphor

Controlled Northwest coast

of Borneo (the

Attacked by the Sulus
A poor country

Its gold and treasures were

taken awayTotally controlled by

Majapahit came to drive the

Sulus awayThere was no mention of gold
and wealth

Po-ni became much weaker

after the attack

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The founding of Brunei

Awang Alak Betatar with his 13 brothers lived in Garang,

Among the brothers, Awang Alak Betatar was the leader
because of his intelligence
One day, the brothers had a meeting on finding a new place
to live
The search for a new place was led by Pateh Berbai, one of
Awang Alak Betatar’s brothers
They found Butir which was on the Brunei River
The brothers agreed that Butir was the perfect place as there
was an ample supply of food and water
When they went back to Garang, they told Awang Alak
Betatar about Butir.
The 14 brothers then began to clean the area and to make a
new home which later became known as Brunei
Each one of the brothers set up his own house. Later, more
and more people came to live there
Awang Alak Betatar became the first ruler of Brunei
Awang Alak Betatar then became known as the first ruler of

The first ruler of Brunei was Awang Alak

Under his rule. Brunei became well-known
The start of the Brunei Sultanate

among its neighbours. This included Johore

At that time, the kingdom of Johore was ruled
by Sultan Bakhei
One day, Sultan Bakhei sent his messengers to
invite Awang Alak Betatar to Johore
Awang Alak Betatar accepted the invitation
and set to sail to Johore with Pateh Berbai
Upon arrival in Johore, the two brothers were
warmly welcomed
As Sultan Bakhei was a Muslim, he shared his
knowledge about Islam with the two
Awang Alak Betatar and Pateh Berbai were
interested in the new religion and so they
also decided to become Muslims
On becoming Muslims, Awang Alak Betatar
chose the name Muhammad Shah while
Pateh Berbai was named Ahmad
Muhammad Shah also married the daughter of
Sultan Bakhei
This strengthened the ties between Brunei and
Muhammad Shah was then known as Sultan
Muhammad Shah
In the Chinese records, he was known as Ma-
With the Sultan a Muslim, Brunei also became
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Brunei as a centre of learning and teaching of Islam

a Muslim country
Sultan Sharif Ali Sultan Bolkiah Sultan Muhammad

Period of rule 1425 – 1432 1485 – 1524 1582 – 1598

(3rd Sultan) (5th Sultan) (9th Sultan)

Descendant Prophet Muhammad Sultan Sharif Ali Sultan Saiful Rijal

(he came from Taif, Arabia) (his grandfather) (his father)

Married Sultan Ahmad’s Sultan Abdul Kahar

daughter (his son who was Acting
(2nd Sultan of Brunei) Sultan during Antonio
Pigafetta’s visit to Brunei in
His rule was comparable
Known as Sultan Berkat
to Sultan Bolkiah and
(he did so much to spread Nakhoda Ragam
Sultan Iskandar Muda of

 encouraged Islam in  spread Islam  introduced the first

Brunei written code of law
: spread Islam to the (Hukum Kanun Brunei)
: built the first mosque places he controlled
(in Kota Batu) : the law was based
Contributio : made Brunei as a centre on the teachings of
ns : became the Imam and of teaching and Prophet Muhammad
read the khutbah spreading Islam
especially after the fall : Islam continued to
: the mosque was also of Malacca to the spread with the
used as a place to Portuguese in 1511 introduction of the
study Al-Quran and law
teach Islamic law

: included Islam in  expanded Brunei empire  reunited Brunei’s

Brunei’s everyday life (the ‘Golden Age’ of territories
: turned Brunei into a : reunited the lands
centre for the teaching : captured all kingdoms that Brunei lost
of Islam and places he visited during the Spanish
attack on Brunei
: added the name : the places were : (the Castille War)
‘Darussalam’ Pandasan, Tempasuk,
Mukah, Sambas,
: created the ‘Panji-Panji’ Bulungan, islands in the
or the Royal Emblem (a Philippines, Cebu, Sulu
symbol of Islamic Archipelago, Mindanao,
power) Palawan and Saludang
 expanded Brunei empire

: spread Islam along the

coast of Borneo

: controlled lands along

the coast of Borneo and
in the nearby islands

Death 1432 1524 1598

(buried at Kota Batu)

How Brunei was governed and organised

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The System of Brunei’s government



Pengiran Bendahara
Pengiran Temenggong
Pengiran Di-Gadong
Pengiran Pemancha



Pegawai, Imam, Khatib, Bilal

The Sultan

 He was the ruler of Brunei

 He was the Head of Islam in the country
 Special ceremonies were held to make a new Sultan the YANG DI-PERTUAN

The Officials

 The Wazirs
: the most important officials
: they were members of the royal family

 The Cheteria
: they were the nobles
: example = the Shahbandar was in charge of the port and looked after the foreign

 The Manteri
: example = Manteri Pendalaman

 The Hulubalang
: the low-ranking officials
: examples = the Pegawai, the mosque officials (Imam, Khatib, Bilal)
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Brunei’s traditional land right systems

kerajaan kuripan tulin

 The lands were  The lands were  The lands

controlled by the given to the belonged to the
Sultan officials who were noble families
still in their
 The Sultan’s positions  Money from these
officials took care lands belonged to
the of the lands  If the official the head of the
was no longer in family
 Money from that position, the
these lands land was given to  The owner of this
belonged to the the new official land may pass it
Sultan to his son
(as taxes)  Money from
these lands  The owner of this
became the land could sell his
salary of the land if he wished

Brunei’s trade

Importance of trade Trading Partners

1. To get money China, India, Arabia,

Cambodia, Siam, Pahang, Java,
2. To exchange goods Sumatra, Moluccas (Spice
Islands), Mindanao (in the
3. To have trade contacts Philippines)
Brunei’s Trade
with other countries

Brunei’s export Brunei’s import

Black wood, camphor, rattan, Luxury items such as ceramics

sandalwood, gums, birds’ from China and Siam, cloth
nests, feathers, hornbills, and brassware
brassware and cloth

Exported to Imported from

Malacca, China and China and Siam
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