Brunei, formerly Brunei Darussalam, is a Southeast Asian republic situated on the north coast of the island of Borneo. Apart from the South China Sea, it is entirely bordered by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is divided into two pieces by the Limbang district of Sarawak. Brunei is the sole sovereign state on Borneo; the rest of the island is shared with Malaysia and Indonesia. Its population was 460,345 as of 2020, with around 100,000 living in the capital and main city, Bandar Seri Begawan. The government is an absolute monarchy headed by its Sultan, known as the Yang di-Pertuan, and follows a mix of English common law, Sharia law, and typical Islamic norms.
Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is said to have ruled over much of Borneo during the height of the Bruneian Empire, encompassing modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu Archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. They also claimed dominion over Seludong (or the Kingdom of Maynila, where the modern-day Philippine capital Manila presently lies), however, Southeast Asian experts think this relates to the Indonesian town Mount Selurong. Brunei was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in the Castilian War in 1578.
The Bruneian Empire started to crumble in the nineteenth century. The Sultanate gave Sarawak (Kuching) to James Brooke, who became the White Rajah, and Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. Brunei became a British protectorate in 1888, and in 1906, a British resident was appointed as colonial manager. Following the Japanese occupation during World War II, a new constitution was drafted in 1959. With British assistance, a brief armed insurrection against the monarchy was put down in 1962.
Brunei has been ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967 and obtained independence as a British protectorate on January 1, 1984. The nation is governed by an authoritarian absolute monarchy. Brunei became an industrialized nation as a result of economic development in the 1990s and 2000s, with GDP expanding 56 percent from 1999 to 2008. It has amassed riches as a result of its large petroleum and natural gas resources. Brunei is regarded as a developed country and has the second-highest Human Development Index among Southeast Asian countries, behind Singapore. Brunei is rated fifth in the world in terms of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2011, the IMF assessed that Brunei was one of two nations (the other being Libya) with a public debt equal to 0% of national GDP.