Brunei is a small Islamic Sultanate on the northwest coast of the
Island of Borneo. It has the South China Sea to the north and on all the other
sides by Malaysian State of Sarawak. Its capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, is the
only major city.
The influence of the Sultanate of Brunei peaked between the 15th and 17th
centuries when its jurisdiction extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo
and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline
brought on by internal strife over royal succession, the colonial expansion of
European powers and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate and
independence was achieved in 1984.
The same family dynasty has ruled Brunei for over six centuries.
Brunei has a tropical climate, generally hot, humid and rainy. The terrain
consists of flat costal plains rising up to mountains in the east and hilly
lowlands in the west. Natural resources that include petroleum, natural gas and
timber benefiting from its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the
source of one of the highest per capita GDP in the developing world. Typhoons,
earthquakes and severe flooding are rare.