Introduction The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control 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, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in Asia.

The Sultanate of Brunei was very powerful from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. Its realm covered the whole island of Borneo and the southwestern Philippines. European influence gradually brought an end to this regional power. Later, there was a brief war with Spain, in which Brunei was victorious. The decline of the Bruneian Empire culminated in the nineteenth century when Brunei lost much of its territory to the White Rajahs of Sarawak, resulting in its current small landmass and separation into two parts. Brunei was a British protectorate from 1888 to 1984.

There was a small rebellion against the monarchy during the 1960s, which was suppressed by the United Kingdom. This event became known as the Brunei Revolt and was partly responsible for the failure to create the North Borneo Federation. The rebellion also affected Brunei's decision to opt out of the Malaysian Federation and was the first stage of the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation.

Geography Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia
Geographic coordinates: 4 30 N, 114 40 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 5,770 sq km
land: 5,270 sq km
water: 500 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries: total: 381 km
border countries: Malaysia 381 km
Coastline: 161 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or to median line
Climate: tropical; hot, humid, rainy
Terrain: flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Bukit Pagon 1,850 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, timber
Land use: arable land: 2.08%
permanent crops: 0.87%
other: 97.05% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 8.5 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.09
per capita: 243 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards: typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare
Environment - current issues: seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia

The Sultanate of Brunei was founded when Sharif Ali of Hejadz married the local Brunei princess. He brought Islam and founded many mosques in Brunei. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, whose title has passed within the same dynasty since the fifteenth century, is the head of state and head of government in Brunei. The Sultan is advised by several councils and a cabinet of ministers although he is effectively the supreme ruler. The media is extremely pro-government and the Royal family retains a venerated status within the country. Brunei is an absolute monarchy and the king has the absolute power . There is no elected legislative body. In September 2004, the Sultan convened an appointed Parliament which had not met since independence in 1984, although it lacks any capacity beyond advising the monarch.

The country has been under an Internal Security Act since a rebellion in the early 1960s was put down by British troops from Singapore. Arrests under the internal security act are still commonplace.
International organisations and Brunei

Brunei is a member of the British Commonwealth.
Press freedom

Brunei has been given "Not Free" status by Freedom House; press criticism of the government and monarchy is rare.[2]
Territorial disputes

Brunei claims territory in Sarawak, such as Limbang, and it is one of many nations to lay claim to the disputed Spratly Islands. Several small islands situated between Brunei and Labuan, including Kuraman island, are contested between Brunei and Malaysia. However, they are internationally recognised as part of the latter.

People Population: 374,577 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.8% (male 53,512/female 50,529)
15-64 years: 69% (male 130,134/female 128,488)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 5,688/female 6,226) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 27.2 years
male: 27.3 years
female: 27.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.81% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 18.56 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 3.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.79 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.059 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.013 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.914 male(s)/female
total population: 1.022 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.12 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.72 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.3 years
male: 73.12 years
female: 77.59 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.97 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 200 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Bruneian(s)
adjective: Bruneian
Ethnic groups: Malay 67%, Chinese 15%, indigenous 6%, other 12%
Religions: Muslim (official) 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, other (includes indigenous beliefs) 10%
Languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.7%
male: 95.2%
female: 90.2% (2001 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Brunei Darussalam
conventional short form: Brunei
local long form: Negara Brunei Darussalam
local short form: Brunei
Government type: constitutional sultanate
Capital: name: Bandar Seri Begawan
geographic coordinates: 4 53 N, 114 56 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 4 districts (daerah-daerah, singular - daerah); Belait, Brunei and Muara, Temburong, Tutong
Independence: 1 January 1984 (from UK)
National holiday: National Day, 23 February (1984); note - 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection
Constitution: 29 September 1959 (some provisions suspended under a State of Emergency since December 1962, others since independence on 1 January 1984)
Legal system: based on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic Shari'a law supersedes civil law in a number of areas; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age for village elections; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)
cabinet: Council of Cabinet Ministers appointed and presided over by the monarch; deals with executive matters; note - there is also a Religious Council (members appointed by the monarch) that advises on religious matters, a Privy Council (members appointed by the monarch) that deals with constitutional matters, and the Council of Succession (members appointed by the monarch) that determines the succession to the throne if the need arises
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary
Legislative branch: Legislative Council met on 25 September 2004 for first time in 20 years with 21 members appointed by the Sultan; passed constitutional amendments calling for a 45-seat council with 15 elected members; Sultan dissolved council on 1 September 2005 and appointed a new council with 29 members as of 2 September 2005; council met in March 2006 and in March 2007
elections: last held in March 1962 (date of next election NA)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court - chief justice and judges are sworn in by monarch for three-year terms; Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London is final court of appeal for civil cases; Shariah courts deal with Islamic laws (2006)
Political parties and leaders: National Development Party or NDP [YASSIN Affendi]
note: Brunei National Solidarity Party or PPKB [Abdul LATIF bin Chuchu] and People's Awareness Party or PAKAR [Awang Haji MAIDIN bin Haji Ahmad] were deregistered; parties are small and have limited activity
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, C, EAS, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Pengiran Anak Dato PUTEH
chancery: 3520 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 237-1838
FAX: [1] (202) 885-0560
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Emil SKODON
embassy: Third Floor, Teck Guan Plaza, Jalan Sultan, Bandar Seri Begawan, BS8811
mailing address: PSC 470 (BSB), FPO AP 96507; P.O. Box 2991, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8675, Negara Brunei Darussalam
telephone: [673] 222-0384
FAX: [673] 222-5293
Flag description: yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; the emblem includes a swallow-tailed flag on top of a winged column within an upturned crescent above a scroll and flanked by two upraised hands

The culture of Brunei is predominantly Malay, with heavy influences from Hinduism and Islam, but is seen as more conservative than Malaysia.[3]

The culture is also influenced by the demographics of the country: two-thirds of the population are Malay, and the remainder consists of Chinese, Indians and indigenous Malays such as Dayaks, Dusuns and Kedazans.

Brunei also has a large number of foreign workers, including Indonesian and Filipino domestic workers, labourers from Thailand, Indonesia and the Indian subcontinent (particularly India and Bangladesh), and Western professionals working in industry and education.
Prohibition of alcohol

The sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned. Foreigners and non-Muslims are allowed to bring in 12 cans of beer and two litres of other alcohol (e.g., wine or spirits; no distinction is made for alcohol content). This limit used to apply to every entry; in 2007, however, this was changed to one limit every 48 hours. After the introduction of prohibition in the early 1990s, all pubs and nightclubs were forced to close; however, several types of restaurants allegedly still offer illicit alcohol sometimes served in teapots.
Brunei in popular culture
Anthony Burgess's novel Devil of a State is set in Brunei. The construction of Bandar Seri Begawan's Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a major theme in the book.

Dale Brown's novel Armageddon is set mostly in Brunei. It details a fictional attack on the country by Islamic fundamentalists with fringe assistance from Malaysian forces, namely a stealth boat.
Brunei is the birthplace of current Chicago Blackhawks left winger Craig Adams.
A common joke is that the people of Brunei are known as "brunettes".

Economy Economy - overview: Brunei has a small well-to-do economy that encompasses a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for just over half of GDP and more than 90% of exports. Per capita GDP is among the highest in Asia, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and free education through the university level and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $9.557 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $12.52 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.4% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $33,600 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 71.6%
services: 27.5% (2005 est.)
Labor force: 180,400 (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 61.1%
services: 36% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4% (2006)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.1% (2005)
Budget: revenues: $3.765 billion
expenditures: $4.815 billion (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, vegetables, fruits; chickens, water buffalo, cattle, goats, eggs
Industries: petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction
Industrial production growth rate: 1.8% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production: 2.735 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 2.625 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 219,300 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - consumption: 14,900 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 205,600 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - imports: 660.1 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 1.35 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 11.03 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2.254 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 8.776 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 374.8 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $6.767 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, natural gas, refined products, clothing
Exports - partners: Japan 30.5%, Indonesia 19.9%, South Korea 14.9%, Australia 11.5%, US 7.7% (2006)
Imports: $2 billion c.i.f. (2006)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals
Imports - partners: Singapore 31.4%, Malaysia 18.9%, UK 8%, Japan 5.5%, China 5.4%, Thailand 4.5% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $770,000 (2004)
Debt - external: $0 (2005)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Bruneian dollar (BND)
Currency code: BND
Exchange rates: Bruneian dollars per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.5886 (2006), 1.6644 (2005), 1.6902 (2004), 1.7422 (2003)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 80,200 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 254,000 (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: service throughout the country is excellent; international service is good to Southeast Asia, Middle East, Western Europe, and the US
domestic: every service available
international: country code - 673; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable network, scheduled for completion by late 2008, will provide new links to Asia and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2 (transmitting on 18 different frequencies), shortwave 0 (British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) station transmits two FM signals with English and Nepali service) (2006)
Radios: 329,000 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (includes 2 UHF stations broadcasting a subscription service) (2006)
Televisions: 201,900 (1998)
Internet country code: .bn
Internet hosts: 15,347 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 165,600 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Heliports: 3 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 672 km; oil 463 km (2007)
Roadways: total: 3,650 km
paved: 2,819 km
unpaved: 831 km (2005)
Waterways: 209 km (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 465,937 GRT/413,393 DWT
by type: liquefied gas 8
foreign-owned: 8 (UK 8) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Lumut, Muara, Seria
Military Military branches: Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF): Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Brunei Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 103,885
females age 18-49: 93,024 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 85,045
females age 18-49: 77,436 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 3,478
females age 18-49: 3,342 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.5% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Brunei and Malaysia are still considering international adjudication over their disputed offshore and deepwater seabeds, where hydrocarbon exploration was terminated in 2003 international legal adjudication; Malaysia's land boundary with Brunei around Limbang is in dispute; Brunei established an exclusive economic fishing zone encompassing Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands in 1984, but makes no public territorial claim to the offshore reefs; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions in the Spratly Islands but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants
Illicit drugs: drug trafficking and illegally importing controlled substances are serious offenses in Brunei and carry a mandatory death penalty