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British Borneo Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo   By: (1849-1919)

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Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo.


W. H. TREACHER, C.M.G., M.A. OXON., Secretary to the Government of Perak, Formerly Administrator of Labuan and H.B.M. Acting Consul General in Borneo, First Governor of British North Borneo.

Reprinted from the Journal of the Straits Settlements Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Singapore: Printed at the Government Printing Department. 1891.



THE Hudson's Bay Company's Charter, 1670. British North Borneo Company's Charter, November 1881, as a territorial power. The example followed by Germany. Borneo the second largest island in the world. Visited by Friar Odoric, 1322, by Berthema, 1503; but not generally known until, in 1518 Portuguese, and in 1521 Spanish, expeditions touched there. Report of Pigafetta, the companion of Magellan, who found there a Chinese trading community. Origin of the name Borneo; sometimes known as Kalamantan. Spanish attack on Brunai, 1573. First Dutch connection, 1600; first British connection, 1609. Diamonds. Factory established by East India Company at Banjermassin, 1702, expelled by natives. British capture of Manila, 1762, and acquisition of Balambangan, followed by cession of Northern Borneo and part of Palawan. Spanish claims to Borneo abandoned by Protocol, 1885. Factory established at Balambangan, 1771, expelled by Sulus, 1775; re opened 1803 and abandoned the following year. Temporary factory at Brunai. Pepper trade. Settlement of Singapore, 1819. Attracted trade of Borneo, Celebes, &c. Pirates. Brooke acquired Sarawak 1840, the first permanent British possession. Labuan a British Colony, 1846. The Dutch protest. Their possessions in Borneo. Spanish claims. Concessions of territory acquired by Mr. Dent, 1877 78. The monopolies of the first Europeans ruined trade: better prospect now opening. United States connection with Borneo. Population. Malays, their Mongolian origin. Traces of a Caucasic race, termed Indonesians. Buludupih legend. Names of aboriginal tribes. Pagans and Mahomedans.


Description of Brunai, the capital, and its river. Not a typical Malayan river. Spanish Catholic Mission. British Consulate. Inche Mahomed. Moses and a former American Consulate. Pigafetta's estimate of population in 1521, 150,000. Present estimate, 12,000. Decay of Brunai since British connection. Life of a Brunai noble; of the children; of the women. Modes of acquiring slaves: 'forced trade.' Condition of slaves. Character and customs of Brunai Malays. Their religion, gambling, cock fighting: amoks , marriage. Sultan and ministers and officers of the state. How paid. Feudal rights Ka rájahan, Kouripan, Pusaka. Ownership of land. Modes of taxation. Laws. Hajis. Punishments. Executions. A naval officer's mistake. No army, navy, or police, but the people universally armed. Cannon foundries. Brass guns as currency. Dollars and copper coinage. Taxation. Revenue; tribute from Sarawak and North Borneo; coal resources.


Pigafetta's description of Brunai in 1521. Elephants. Reception by the King. Use of spirituous liquors. Population. Floating Market. Spoons. Ladies appearing in public. Obeisance. Modes of addressing nobles. The use of yellow confined to the Royal Family. Umbrellas closed when passing the Palace. Nobles only can sit in the stern of a boat. Ceremonies at a Royal reception; bees wax candles.

Mr. Dalrymple's description of Brunai in 1884. Quakers' meeting. Way to a Malay's heart lies through his pocket. Market place and hideous women. Beauties of the Harems. Present population... Continue reading book >>

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