Brunei: From the Age of Commerce to the 21st Century

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By Marie-Sybille de Vienne

Now an energy-rich sultanate, for centuries a important trading port in the South China Sea, Brunei has taken a different direction than its Persian Gulf peers. Immigration is restricted, and Brunei's hydrocarbon wealth is invested conservatively, mostly outside the country.

Today home to some 393,000 inhabitants and comprising 5,765 square kilometers in area, Brunei first appears in the historical record at the end of the 10th century. After the Spanish attack of 1578, Brunei struggled to regain and expand its control on coastal West Borneo and to remain within the trading networks of the South China Sea. It later fell under British sway, and a residency was established in 1906, but it took the discovery of oil in Seria in 1929 before the colonial power began to establish the bases of a modern state.

Governed by an absolute monarchy, Bruneians today nonetheless enjoy a high level of social protection and rule of law. Ranking second (after Singapore) in Southeast Asia in terms of standards of living, the sultanate is implementing an Islamic penal code for the first time of its history. Focusing on Brunei's political economy, history and geography, this book aims to understand the forces behind Brunei's to-and-fro of tradition and modernisation.

"...Vienne’s work provides a tremendous service in covering Brunei’s history from very early in the historical record to its emergence as a modern sultanate." - S. Maxim, University of California, Berkeley

"...will likely become the standard reference work for the study of post-independence Brunei and provide a clear analytical framework for future studies on this period." - Stephen C. Druce, University Brunei Darussalam

"...this book provides a valuable perspective on its complicated story." - Drew McDaniel, Ohio University

"...will become a standard reference work for the study of the Sultanate. It contains a wealth of information and some perspective, detailed and bold analysis of economic, social, cultural and political issues." - Victor T. King, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Marie-Sybille de Vienne is a Professor at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations, INALCO, Paris, Faculty of Southeast Asian Studies.


IRASEC Series on Contemporary Asia
Publication Year: 2015
368 pages, 229mm x 152mm
Paperback
ISBN: 978-9971-69-818-8

NUS Press