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

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British Borneo Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo by W. H. Treacher is a meticulously crafted anthology of captivating accounts, offering readers a glimpse into the enthralling landscapes and diverse cultures of Borneo. Treacher's extensive knowledge and personal experiences effortlessly shine through in these vivid sketches.

One remarkable aspect of this book is Treacher's ability to paint a vivid picture of British-controlled Borneo during the late 19th century. Through his exquisite descriptions, readers are transported to the tropical rainforests, bustling towns, and serene coastlines of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo. The author's keen eye for detail and evocative language ensure that every scene comes alive in the reader's mind.

Complementing the vibrant landscapes, Treacher delves into the rich tapestry of cultures found in Borneo with great respect and curiosity. He explores the indigenous tribes, their customs, and the daily lives of the local population. These sketches not only narrate their unique stories but also shed light on the British administration's efforts to bring progress and infrastructure to these regions.

Moreover, readers will appreciate how Treacher weaves historical facts seamlessly into his narratives. His deep understanding of Borneo's political and economic dynamics of the era, including the exploits of Brooke Rajahs in Sarawak, offers a well-rounded perspective. However, it is worth noting that certain accounts may reflect the colonial lens prevalent during that time, and readers should approach them with a critical mindset.

The collection also includes delightful anecdotes and encounters with the numerous indigenous flora and fauna. Treacher's enthusiasm for Borneo's remarkable biodiversity is evident throughout the sketches, making it a refreshing and educational read for nature enthusiasts. Additionally, his encounters with notable historical figures and explorers add a layer of intrigue to the book, enhancing its appeal.

Despite the overall strength of British Borneo Sketches, there are a few instances where the narrative feels disjointed, as some sketches lack a clear thematic connection. Nevertheless, the book's coherent structure and accessible language make it an engaging read for both history buffs and general readers who seek to explore Borneo's past.

In conclusion, W. H. Treacher's British Borneo Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo is a captivating and informative tribute to this enchanting island. With its vivid depictions of landscapes, cultures, and historical events, the book transports readers back in time and leaves them with a deeper understanding of Borneo's rich heritage.

First Page:

Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See


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... Continue reading book >>

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