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Brunei Darussalam History Timeline

500 - 1660s

  • (500 - 600) Brunei was major trading nation for spices and woods with India, China and others
  • (1400 - 1600) During Brunei's golden age, control extended over entire island of Borneo and north into Philippines
  • (1473 - 1521) Sultan Bokiah ruled, was known for sea exploits, briefly captured Manila
  • (1526) Portuguese set up trading post to use for trade with Spice Islands
  • (1578) Spain declared war on Brunei, captured capital. Brunei lost number of territories to Spain, including Luzon Island
  • (1578) Spanish forced to withdraw from Brunei due to cholera epidemic
  • (1579) Spanish attacked Brunei again - were defeated
  • (1605 - 1619) Sultan Hassan developed elaborate Royal Court structure
  • (1660s) Civil war erupted due to feuding between princes
1800 - 1900s
  • (1841) British Army officer, James Brooke, given control of Sarawak by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II for helping quell civil war
  • (1846) Island of Labuan ceded to Britain
  • (1849 - 1854) British fought and destroyed Malay pirates operating between Singapore and Borneo
  • (1888) Brunei became British protectorate
  • (1906) Brunei administered by British, sultan had nominal authority
  • (1929) Oil was discovered and first well drilled
  • (1941 - 1945) Japanese occupied Brunei
  • (1942) Oilfield fell to Japanese
  • (1945) Administration of Brunei handed over to Civil Administration. Brunei State Council was revived
  • (1946) First political party formed - the Barisan Pemuda
  • (1950) Omar Ali Saifuddin III became sultan
  • (1953) First National Development plan introduced, new gas plant constructed, developments made in education, new roads built and reconstruction work at Berakas Airport
  • (1959) New Constitution written, declared Brunei a self-governing state, Islam became state religion, Britain remained in charge of defense and foreign affairs
  • (1962) Election results annulled after leftist Brunei People's Party won all ten elected seats. Sultan declared state of emergency, ruled by decree
  • (1962) The Brunei Revolt, a rebellion against the monarchy, resulted in failure to create North Borneo Federation
  • (1962) Second National Development plan launched
  • (1963) Major oil and gas field discovered
  • (1963) Brunei decided to remain British dependency rather than join Federation of Malaysia
  • (1967) Sultan Omar abdicated throne, son Hassanai Bolkiah, became Sultan
  • (1970) National capital, Brunei Town, renamed Bandar Seri Begawan after Sultan
  • (1984) Brunei became sixth member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  • (1984) Brunei joined United Nations
  • (1985) Brunei National Democratic Party (BNDP) legalized
  • (1986) Brunei National Solidarity Party (BNSP) legalized
  • (1986) Former Sultan Omar died
  • (1988) Both BNDP and BNSP banned
  • (1995) Government allowed BNSP to operate, following harassment, it became inactive
  • (1998) Prince Jefri Bolkiah, Chief of Brunei Investment Agency, removed from post by his brother, Sultan Bolkiah, due to concerns about stewardship of agency. Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, Sultan's son, took over
2000s
  • (2000) Brunei government filed civil suit against Prince Jefri Bolkiah for alleged misuse of state funds, froze assets. Out of court settlement reached with Prince agreeing to pay money back. Documents showed he spent $2.7 billion on luxury goods over 10 years
  • (2000) Brunei announced it would retrain up to 25% of work force in order to diversify economy away from oil and develop alternative industrie
  • (2001) Auction of more than 10,000 items belonging to Prince Jefri was held
  • (2004) Parliament reopened 20 years after it was disbanded
  • (2004) Two retired senior army and police intelligence officers, businessman, jailed without trial for leaking government secrets, some of which were posted on internet
  • (2005) Reshuffling of cabinet brought in younger members and ministers with private sector experience
  • (2005) National Development Party registered as political party
  • (2005) Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore formed Trans-Pacific Partnership to intergrate economies of Asia-Pacific region
  • (2007) Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia signed "Rainforest Declaration" pledging to conserve area of Borneo home to rare species
  • (2007) Amnesty International criticized Brunei's corporal punishment laws.
  • (2007) Prince Jefri lost appeal at Brunei's highest court, ordered to transfer ownership of two U.S. hotels, residences in Los Angeles, Paris and London, plus trust fund
  • (2008) Warrant issued for arrest of Prince Jefri after failure to attend court hearing about violation of court order
  • (2010) Brunei included on France's "blacklist" of tax havens
  • (2010) Brunei added to U.S.' human trafficing watch list as destination for forced labor and prostitution
  • (2010) Brunei and Malaysia agreed to develop two oil areas off Brunei
  • (2012) 12 military personnel were killed in helicopter crash flying home from jungle training
  • (2013) China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei all staked competing claims over 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the South China Seas
  • (2014) Bodyguard to Sultan's ex-wife cleared of accusations of stealing jewelry and replacing with replicas
  • (2014) Sultan of Brunei announced the imposition of the Shariah penal code, with punishments including amputation of limbs for theft, stoning for adultery, and flogging for alcohol consumption, abortion and homosexuality

Brunei Darussalam Photographs

Photos used are from public domain sources and from Allposters.com and en.wikipedia.org

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.