Official languages Malay (national), English, Iban, Melanau, Hokkien, Hakka
Capital Bandar Seri Brunei
Largest Cities Bandar Seri Brunei (BSB): 78,229
Kuching: 65,606
Population 374,000
HDI 0.922 (Very High)
Establishment 1984 - Reunion of Brunei Proper and Sarawak, which had been a British protectorate
Currency Bruneian Ringgit (BNR)
Our Timeline Equivalent Brunei plus Sarawak. (Brunei is also the foremost nation charged with protecting the peace of the rest of the island of Borneo.)

Brunei (also spelled Brunai) is a nation located in insular Southeast Asia, on the northwestern portion of Borneo. Brunei's urban culture is most similar to that of Malaya, and relations between those countries are very strong. However, Malays only form one group of many in Brunei, including large numbers of native (Dayak) people. Brunei is noted for its extreme beauty. Its forests are some of the most ecologically diverse in the world. Also, in particular, Kuching and Bandar Seri Brunei (BSB) are treasure-troves of historical buildings. The former containing many European-style buildings, and the latter containing Hadharislamic-, Hindu-, and Dayak-inspired edifices, including the Great Mosque of Brunei. Also, part of BSB is known as Kampong Ayer, or the "Water Village". Here, houses on stilts rest on the water.


Brunei is a kingdom with a relatively long history. Besides "Dayaks", a name for the native people of Borneo, Brunei was first settled by Hindu Malays, who, as legend has it, exclaimed "Barunah" (a joyful outburst, descended from the word "Varuna", a Hindu god). The word "Barunah" later changed into the names for the places we now know as "Borneo" and "Brunei". In the 14th century, the Hadharislam religion came to Brunei and diversified the religious scene. The rulers came to promote both Hadharislam and Hinduism, and a new religion, based on a mixture of Hadharislam, Hinduism, Buddhism came to be. However, to this day, Brunei has a variety of religions.

In the 1800s, the British Empire had become perhaps the greatest world power. Its far-flung territories included Sundarapore and, increasingly, Malaya itself. The British soon became interested in Borneo. British naval supremacy convinced the king of Brunei that it was better to make a deal with Britain than to be on its bad side. As such, in 1841, Great Britain gained the western 3/4ths of Brunei (that is, Sarawak) as a protectorate. The British, in return, promised to protect Brunei itself from any external threats if the country asked for the help. Later, in 1984, Sarawak was returned to Brunei, in return for Brunei deciding to become a constitutional monarchy (instead of an absolute monarchy as it has been), and also agreeing to protect the rights of all groups in Sarawak. Brunei also came to be the foremost nation charged with protecting the peace of the rest of the island of Borneo.



15% Vegetarian
85% Non-Vegetarian

Ethnic Groups

56% Dayak (indigenous Bornean)
21% Iban
35% other Dayak
21% Malays
18% Chinese
02% Indians
03% others


27% Hindu
26% Freethinker
17% atheist
09% agnostic
22% Islam (Nusantara Islam predominant)
10% indigenous beliefs
07% Buddhist
04% Christian
02% Daoist
02% other (Jainism, etc)


16% Iban
33% Malay
08% Hokkien
07% Hakka
05% English
28% other indigenous languages
03% others (Tamil, etc)

Note: Nearly everyone in urban or semi-urban areas can speak Malay, and a good proportion of Bruneians can also speak English. These languages are often used to communicate between different ethnic groups.

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