Brunei: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
Brunei was trading with China during the 6th century, and, through allegiance to the Javanese Majapahit kingdom (13th to 15th century), it came under Hindu influence. In the early 15th century, with the decline of the Majapahit kingdom and widespread conversion to Islam, Brunei became an independent sultanate. It was a powerful state from the 16th to the 19th century, ruling over the northern part of Borneo and adjacent island chains.
In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate. Japan occupied Brunei during World War II; it was liberated by Australia in 1945. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. The sultan regained control over internal affairs in 1959, but Britain retained responsibility for the state's defense and foreign affairs until 1984, when the sultanate became fully independent.
The population was estimated at 408,786 in July 2012. It is 67% Malay, 11% Chinese, 3% indigenous and 19% other.
The official religion is Islamic. 67% of the population are Muslim, 13% Buddhist, and 10% Christian.
Malay is the official language; English and Chinese are also spoken.