Sunday, December 7, 2008

The First White Ruler of Sarawak

I bought the above copper coin minted in 1863 yesterday at the Satok Sunday market.( Price, undisclosed)
I wanted to blog on Kuching history for quite a while. But yesterday was the final cue. Sarawak's history is colourful and by that nature deserves to be written and rewritten in as many angles as possible. Be it cultural, political, socio-economic , anthropological or perhaps in today's concern-environmental. Therefore this morning ( 8th Dec) I created a blog entitled Kuching History

The coin shows James Brooke who was the first White Ruler or 'Rajah' of Sarawak, after the Sultan of Brunei appointed him to become the Governor in 1841. James Brooke was a Victorian hero, a naval adventurer who succeded in bringing political tranquility to Sarawak around 1839-1841 on behalf of the local representative of the Brunei Sultanate. For his peacemaking efforts he was promised rulership by the local Kuching representative. The Sultan of Brunei later endorsed him and in return requested him for a yearly sum of $2,500 as payment for control and administration of that small northern part of Sarawak around the present town of Kuching. Once his governorship was inked, it was very much left to the gallantry and stamina of James Brooke to advance the white man's rule over the bigger areas of Sarawak, a process he and his dynasty took about 105 years to accomplish. In 1946 the Brookes handed over the administration of Sarawak to the British Crown thus paving the way for another wrench of colonial rule over Sarawak that lasted till 1963, a short 23 years of imperial control when compared to other colonised areas in the South East Asian region.

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