Brunei Darussalam is located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. As of July 2007, it had an estimated 374,577 citizens.
The country's official religion is Islam, with about one-third of its citzens belonging to other faiths. Sixty-seven percent of the people are of Malay descent. The official language is Malay; English and Chinese are also spoken.
Once a British protectorate, Brunei became independent in 1984. It is an absolute monarchy and has been ruled since 1967 by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
The country's oil reserves have made the sultan of Brunei one of the world's wealthiest royals, with an estimated $22 billion in 2007 according to Forbes Magazine.
The sultan was born on July 15, 1946. He has married three times and has 12 children.
The heir to the throne is the sultan's eldest son, Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah. He is married, and his first child, a son, was born in 2007.
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Sultan Hassanl Bolkiah of Brunei (left) and his wife, Queen Saleha Mohamed Alam
with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on October 9 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Image source: U.S. Department of State on Flickr
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Royal barge in front of the Istana Nurul Iman palace in Brunei
Photo © CT Snow. License
Photo source: ctsnow's photostream
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History of Brunei by Graham Saunders. A full-length study of the Brunei sultanate from the earliest times to the present.
Brunei and Malaysia: Why Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Refused to Join the Federation by Isa Bin Ibrahim. In 1963 Brunei declined to join the federation of states which became Malaysia. This book's author, a key player in the sultan of Brunei's delegation, explains why.
Historical Dictionary of Brunei Darussalam by D. S. Ranjit Singh and Jatswan S. Sidhu. Cover's Brunei's historical, political, economic, cultural, and social background. Appendixes list the genealogy of the sultans of Brunei, and present key information on the political heads of the country. Includes a glossary, chronology, and 10 maps.
Monarchy in South East Asia: The Faces of Tradition in Transition by Roger Kershaw. The history and contemporary role of South East Asian monarchy, including Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Laos.
Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah by Intl Business Pubns USA. Biography.
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren. The author says she spent 18 months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei.
By God's Will: A Portrait of the Sultan of Brunei by Lord Chalfont. Published in 1989. Out of print, but available at Alibris.com.