The Fall of Brunei Empire

Book_BRUNEI EMPIRE_FALLKeruntuhan Empayar Brunei KM 19: Satu Kajian dari Sudut Ekonomi (The Fall of Brunei Empire in 19th Century: A Study from Economic Aspect). Author: Awang Haji Abdul Karim bin Haji Abdul Rahman. Publisher: Brunei History Centre, 2008.Pages: xviii+198

The book discusses the fall of Brunei Empire from historic and economic aspects. It’s consisted of five chapters which is commenced from the rise of Brunei as a political power in Borneo and the establishment of Brunei as an Empire that controlled all of the shores of Borneo island to the southern Philippines and its economy and commerce as well. Furthermore, Brunei faced challenges over its commerce and empire and the fall of Brunei Empire till it became a British protectorate in the early 20th century.

The author started his study with the principles of the creation of Brunei Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries based on the control of menpower which were consisted of Borneo’s Malay and Dayak people. The expansion of Brunei Empire was in line with the development of Brunei foreign trade , especially to fulfill the requests of Chinese and European merchants over the forest products.

The study also found that that the fall of Brunei Empire in the middle of 19th century was caused by two things, namely Brooke’s colonialisation and British North Borneo Company (SIBU) over Brunei areas and the stance of Sultan and his families over their feudal territories which causing many problems of administration.

The basis of colonialisation which was stirred by the two British powers had given more contribution for the falling of Brunei Empire which had beeing upheaval before their arrival in Borneo.

The massive territorial expansion of Brooke and SIBU threatened the safety of the Brunei Sultanate, specifically if Brooke’s dream to include Brunei territory, including Brunei River, to Sarawak area be realised.

However, the existence of Brunei was successfully saved when Brunei signed the 1995/1906 Additional Treaty with British and henceforth became a British protectorate in 1906. — Darul Aqsha


3 thoughts on “The Fall of Brunei Empire

  1. Assalamo alaikom and congratulations for a job well done . How can I have a copy of the fascinating book Keruntuhan Empayar Brunei KM 19: Satu Kajian dari Sudut Ekonomi (The Fall of Brunei Empire in 19th Century: A Study from Economic Aspect) which was authored by His Eminence Awang Haji Abdul Karim bin Haji Abdul Rahman in english version ? A 7th generational descendant of Sharif Osman of Kota Marudu in the Philippines following the migration of Sharif Osman’s grand- daughter Sharifa Imraaton [ Dayang Dayang Tata with her Maranao husband ] and an on-going researcher and aspiring publisher about North Borneo with the end in view of rebutting the accusation and defamation of British and other irresponsible writers against legitimate Kota Marudu Rajah Sharif Osman as well as his distant relatives and friends in Brunei like Pengiran Yusufh and other Brunei pengirans, I badly need your book . That requested book may reach me at Pagayawan , Balindong , Lanao Del Sur , Philippines . I do appreciate it if you can relay this email to His Eminence .Thank you for your generosity .

    • Of all authors about Sharif Osman who ruled Kota Marudu [ Brunei 2 — the areas Northeast of Kimanis ] , only Basset who was right that Sherif Osman is a Brunei pengiran . In reality , Sharif Osman [ Pengiran in Brunei Salsila and our family salsila ] Osman is a son of Pengiran Mohammad Saleh , son of Pengiran Mohammad Daud [ Sultan Momin’s brother] both sons of Pengiran Abdul Wahhab son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifoddeen I and Pengiran Babu Lauyah daughter of Pengiran Solaiman , a great grand son of Sultan Abdul Hakkul Mobin . His mother is Pengiran Taibah son of Pengiran Mohammas Salled son of Pengiran Nasr . He , therefor , cannot be an usurper or pirate as wrongly branded by James Brooke . German lady author Bianca Berlich clearly pointed out in her book ‘ Marudu in 1945 [2009 ] ‘ that Sharif Osman is never a pirate .As Allah eliminated Muslim monarchs in other parts of the world to drive Muslims out from their homes for the islamization of other countries , Allah eliminated Sharif Osman in order to cause the migration of Sjarif Ssman’s grand daughter and his Maranao husband but of Brunei , Maguindao and Tausug descent as well as their 40 male and female escorts in Lanao Del Sur whose heirs played a crucial role in spreading and defending Islam in the Philippines and in some parts of the world . In fact , one of Osman’s heirs came for tabligh in Brubei , Sabah and Sarawak to mention some last1994 and 2004 .Tarimakasi.

      • 1830 -1845 Sultan Sharif Osman of North Borneo / the 2nd Division of the Brunei empire , going deeper ,inherited his post from his father Brunei Pengiran Sultan Sharif Muhammad Salleh , a successor of his father Sultan Sharif Pg Anak Muhammad Daud who succeeded his father Duli Yang Sri Paduka Sultan / Yang Di Pertuan Maulana Abdul Wahab of the Brunei Empire’s 2nd Division [ North Borneo , now State of Sabah Darul Afiyah , Malaysia ] and former Baitul Qareeb Shabandar of Brunei empire who inherited the off-shoot North Borneo sultanate from his father Duli Yang Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin [SOAS] I of the undivided Brunei empire from 1740 to 1795 .SOAS I succeeded his father–in-law Sultan Husain Kamaluddin who replaced SOAS I’s father Sultan Alauddin who succeeded his grand father Sultan Mohyuddin son of Sultan Abdul Jalilul Akbar son of Sultan Muhammad Hassan son of Sultan Saifurrijal who succeeded his uncle Sultan Abdul Kahar son of Sultan Bolkiah son of Sultan Solaiman son of Sharif Ali son of Sharif Ajlan from the House of the amirs of Makkah , Hijaz .

        Sharif Osman also descended directly from the warring Sultan Abdul Hakkul Mubin and Sultan Muhammad Ali. His name was patterned from Pg Temonggong Osman , the brother of Sultan Muhammad Hasan and from Sambas Sultan Osman , a relative of his great grandmother Pg Babu Lauyah .He also descended from famous saints King Sayyid Sunan Giri of Gresik and Sunan Sayyid Ampel [ 2 of 9 wali songo of Indonesia ] and Sayyid Jamaluddin Husain Akbar of Sulawisi from India and Hadhramaut , Rajah Datu Harun of Minangkabau and celebrated saint Ghauthul A’zam Sayyid Mohoddin Abdul Qadeer Jilani of Baghdad . .

        According to reliable local sources , the down fall of Marudu fort or North Borneo Sultanate’s National Police / Armed Forces General Headquarters – not the North Borneo Sultanate as it continued up to 1886 – was engineered by a non-entity adventurer James Brookes who pro-actively courted the British representatives , navy officers and finally the British Monarch to designate him as an agent of the Monarch and then applied his gun-boat diplomacy , deceptive and coercive tactics to justify and achieve his end . This meant to say that British Queen Victoria was not fully blamed for the destruction of said fort , unjustified killings of hundred uniformed and non-uniformed volunteers of the sovereign North Borneo as she was not fully aware of the lies , misrepresentations and deceptions of James Brookes . Had Brookes been straight forward and up-right agent , the aggression made by the British navy which did not comply with the rules of engagement / law on war on August 19 , 1945 would have been aborted , thus perpetuating the peaceful climate , prosperity , and political stability obtaining in North Borneo .

        Brookes’s hidden ultimate end was to actually seize the Brunei Sultanate at all costs had he been given a chance . This is evidenced by the fact that only after the elimination of Sharif Osman with stronger armed forces than SOAS II of the Sultanate of Brunei [ otherwise known as the sacrificial lamb for the survival of the Sultanate of Brunei ] and his great grand father[ 1795 North Borneo Founding Sultan Maulana Abdul Wahab’s half brother Bandahara Pg Yusuf that he dared attack Brunei to kill Brunei Sultan SOAS II and seize the power of Sultan of Brunei . After he was informed by his intelligence men and his puppet Pg Muda Hashim [ Osman’s first cousin- grandfather whose wife is a sister of Osman’s grandfather Sultan Md Daud ] that Sharif Osman will kill him in turn if he kills the Brunei Sultan or besieges Brunei Darussalam on account of the close blood and symbiotic relations of Sultan Sharif Osman and his 2nd cousin uncle the Brunei Sultan SOAS II son of Sultan Jamalul Alam I , he managed to conclude a Treaty with Brunei Sultanate , part of it was suppression of piracy , to use it as an inescapable mechanism to destroy Sultan Sharif Osman . Brookes intentionally defamed Sultan Sharif Osman , though without an iota of basis , as that is the only means whereby a sovereign monarch can be dealt with . Brookes then drafted a letter to be signed by Brunei Sultan SOAS II , authorizing the British naval forces in February 1845 to attack Marudu . It was ,however , a failure on the part of Brookes as he did not get the support of British naval fleets for the purpose of intimidating and coercing the Brunei Sultan into signing Brookes ‘s draft letter .In the following month of March , Brookes was lucky enough to have made available the coercing naval forces of British near the Reception Hall of the Sultan with their cannons and guns ready to fire if the Brunei Sultan would not sign the letter . By gun – boat diplomacy , Brookes made the Sultan of Brunei sign a letter authorizing the attack on Marudu by a big fleet with about six hundred naval forces , thus giving rise to the unjustified killing of the civilians and defenders of the Marudu fort who offered a truce but to no avail due to the terroristic proclivity of the power greedy and ancient terrorist James Brookes who employed a formidable force against a weak and innocent group of people , who never intended war or were not ready on war for the night before the war was spent in night vigil in celebration for Nisfu Sha’ban .

        This Brookes – authored terrorism against people with no crime whatsoever against humanity and who were less-armed with no intention to fight as they worshipped Allah almost the whole night in celebration for the Nisfu Sha’ban night before the August 19 , 1845 war and were preparing for their haj/ pilgrimage journey to the land of Hijaz , Arabia .

        Journey from very far area to another in a twinkle of an eye was attributed to him , like his 4th grandfather saint [waliyollah] Sheikh Allamah Abdul Rahman Fatani Makki Madani who used to go to Haramain , Saudi Arabia and learn from Sufi scholars there in the morning and come back to Fatani , now Thailand , in the afternoon as reported by his famous students Sheikh Allamah Daud Abdullah Al Fatani , Sheikh Allamah Arsyad of Banjarmasin , and Sheikh Allamah Abdul Samad Palimbani. Sheikh Abdul Rahman’s grand father Sheikh Muhammad Jailani Brunei Fatani was also reported to have landed in Borneo island via carpet when he preached Islam to local people .He implemented Sharia Hadd law [ execution of adulterers and criminals] and excised reasonable tax in the whole of North Borneo including Bangi, Mangsi, Palawan , Balabac , and Tawi – Tawi that caused peace within Marudu kingdom and made it a welfare-state .

        Like other sufis , he was the leader in his time who was endowed with the best of ideals , character and attitude .He was an embodiment of the Holy Prophet [SAW] in his quality as a [Mercy to all creatures ] Rahmatul lil’alameen who served all his subjects regardless of tribal affiliations and religious denominations with pleasure .

        He ,as quoted in some books , envisioned and constructed a passable road in Kinabatangan , harbour and trading facilities for Cochin Chinese and Bugis for effective and efficient commercial / trading purposes. He had one of the best postal systems in the world . He and his wife pursued an agrarian reform project that was very much liked by the masses and they themselves farmed with masses to demonstrate participative management .In a nutshell , ha had that so called CAPI [ coalesced authority , power , and influence ] that became push and full factors for his praiseworthy performances as a responsible , visionary and caring Sultan .

        In “Thus Has Marudu Ceased to Exist:The Rise and Fall of a North Bornean Kerajaan” written by German Doctor Bianca M. Gerlich , it thus partly said : “Syarif Osman was said to be generally in the possession of supernatural properties and invulnerable: “as he[Syarif Osman], being one of those whom they deem invulnerable, exposed himself to every fire, and fought to the last” (S. St. John 1862: II, 207).

        Malaysian authors considered Syarif Osman as a hero who was brought down by the British: “Matilah seorang pahlawan keturunan darah Raja akibat pengkhianatan dan hasutan Inggeris”(Buyong 1981: 15).

        In the book Commemorative History of Sabah 1881–1981, edited by Anwar Sullivan and Cecilia Leong, which was published by the Sabah State Government on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Sabah, Marudu was described as an independent chiefdom whose interference in the politics of Brunei led to Vice Admiral Cochrane declaring Marudu as a pirate stronghold and destroying it. Nevertheless, Nineteenth Century [19th] colonial officials were already in doubt as to the representation of Osman as a pirate. Thus Bulwer wrote: “Yet it is very doubtful if he [Osman] was guilty of the charge brought against him as a pirate ”

        Even Captain Belcher, who sailed with Brooke to Brunei in 1844 and who in his letters to the Admiralty supported Brooke’s defamation of Syarif Osman, came to a different assessment in his book after having learnt in Manila of the real behavior and motivation of Syarif Osman: “At Maludu Bay, in particular, the destruction of Seriff Housman has deprived the people of that region, of the only energetic ruler who could have afforded protection to European traders” (Belcher 1848: II, 124). Before Syarif Osman was defamed by Brooke he was recognized as ‘Rajah of Maloodoo’ by Governor Butterworth of Singapore (Belcher 1848: I, 170), and even Pascoe, who took part in the Battle of Marudu as an officer, described him as Rajah (Pascoe 1886:

        He was recognized by European government officials such as Spanish General Claveria of Manila and British Governor Butterworth of Singapore, as well as by local neighbors. Syarif Osman cultivated very good relations with the two directly neighboring sultanates of Brunei Darussalam [ First Division of the Brunei Empire] and Sulu. He was married to a pious lady Dayang Sahaya who was reportedly crossing rivers at the surface , a daughter of the Sulu Sultan Shakirullah [ who personally governed Sandakan for 19 years before becoming a Sultan [1822 -23] and a Rajah Muda [1808-1822] , Warren] of Sulu and was a friend of her brother, the heir to the throne Rajah Muda Muhammad Buyong . Sulu had not only acknowledged Marudu to Sulu, but found it a reliable partner in troubled times. Syarif Osman was also accepted at the court of Brunei. He was a friend of Pengiran Usop, who exercised effective control in Brunei in his position as bendahara , the Crown Prince Pengiran Anak Hashim and other Brunei nobles .

        According to Wright(1979–1980: 213), Syarif Osman would have been connected through kinship to the Iranun leaders and he received tribute from them. Pascoe (1886: 49, 51) mentioned a relative of Syarif Osman called Sheriff Mahomed who served as parlementaire ( intermediary) and who fought bravely but was killed: “a fine intelligent young man about twenty four years of age, an Illanun native (as I understood), from Mindanao in rich attire, and head adorned with feathers”. Even in the British reports of 1844/1852 it is pointed out that Syarif Osman had been recognized by the relatively population of Tempasuk and Pindusan.

        The destruction of the region’s ‘only energetic ruler’ … produced a descent into the near complete anarchy Pretyman discovered in 1878” (Black 1968: 178).

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