At the height of the Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (who reigned from 1485 to 1528) controlled the majority of Borneo, including the modern states of Sarawak and Sabah, the Sulu Archipelago northeast of Borneo, Seludong (modern Manila), and the islands in Borneo’s northwest corner. The Spanish Magellan Expedition visited the coastal kingdom in 1521, and it battled Spain in the Castile War of 1578.
The Bruneian Empire started to deteriorate in the nineteenth century. The sultanate granted James Brooke Sarawak (Kuching) and established him as a white Raja, while Sabah was granted to the Northern British Chatting Company of Borneo. Brunei became a British protectorate in 1888, and in 1906, a British resident was appointed colonial director. In 1959, after the Japanese occupation during World War II, a new constitution was drafted. In 1962, with the assistance of the British, a tiny revolt army against the monarchy was put down.
On 1 January 1984, Brunei achieved independence from the United Kingdom. Brunei became an industrialized nation throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with a GDP rise of 56 percent between 1999 and 2008. He has amassed huge oil and natural gas reserves. Brunei ranks second on Southeast Asia’s human development index, after Singapore, and is classed as a “developed country.” Brunei ranks sixth in the world in terms of gross domestic product per capita in purchasing power parity, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Brunei was one of two nations (the other being Libya) in 2011 with a public debt equal to 0% of GDP. Brunei is also the sixth wealthiest country in 182 by Forbes, owing to its oil and gas reserves.