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Sir James Brooke

Brooke, Sir James, 1803–68, rajah of Sarawak on Borneo, b. India, of English parents. After active service in Burma (1825–26), he retired (1830) from the army of the East India Company. He sailed (1838) for Borneo, and on the west coast there he assisted (1840) Muda Hassim, uncle of the reigning sultan, to suppress rebel Dyak tribes. For his services he was made (1841) rajah by the sultan of Brunei and proceeded to create a government and to put down head-hunting and piracy. He was given a baronetcy by the British government and entrusted with the governorship (1847–57) of Labuan. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sir Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke, 1829–1917. Sir Charles extended the authority of the government to all parts of the country and abolished slavery. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, 1874–1963. Sir Charles was forced out of Sarawak in 1942 by the Japanese invasion. He ceded Sarawak to the British government as a crown colony in 1946.

See Sir Steven Runciman, The White Rajahs (1960); R. Pringle, Rajahs and Rebels (1970); N. Tarling, Britain, the Brookes and Brunei (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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