Recounting the Memories of the Past

Category Archives: Famous Europeans

Why Charles Brooke succeeded James Brooke?

Sarawak Raja Charles Brooke 1896 - A quarter copper coin. Taken from whycollect.blogspot.com

When James Brooke had controlled territories in Sarawak from Tanjong Datu to Tanjong Kedurong in 1861, he named his nephew John Brooke-Johnson Brooke as his successor. Two years later, while John was in England, James deposed and banished John from Sarawak because John had criticised him for the action his uncle attempt on which was to sell the territories he controlled in Sarawak to Belgium or France (though it did not actually happen).

In 1865 James Brooke named his other nephew, Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke as his successor. When James Brooke died in 1868 due to stroke, Charles Brooke became the second Raja of Sarawak.

It is worth taking note that the opportunity presented to him as the Raja of Sarawak was not simply luck, in fact, it was the direct result of his early active experience in the navy ( as a midshipman to Royal Navy), his exposure to the remote places of Sarawak (as Resident of Lundu) as well as open relations with the tribal peoples made him the best candidate as the Raja of Sarawak. In short, he was always someone whom it was more natural to respect (or even fear) than to love and that was one of the many reasons why he was chosen as the Raja of Sarawak.




Rodney Mundy’s action in the ceding of Labuan

Captain Rodney Mundy or later known as Admiral Sir George Rodney Mundy was a friend of James Brooke. Both of them support each other if they faced troubles. Captain Rodney Mundy sailed to Sarawak in 1842 he took over HMS Iris and was deployed to Borneo to conduct operations against pirates.

On 1846, James Brooke with Captain Rodney Mundy and Admiral Cochrane sailed to Brunei Town. They attacked the Town on the excuse that the Sultan had done wrong by killing Pg Muda Hashim and his family.

In November 1846 Rodney Mundy was given permission to take over Labuan. He managed to force the Sultan to make up his mind and signed the Treaty of Labuan. He informed the Sultan that British warships was anchoring nearby and that the Sultan would suffer a loss if his palace was burnt down.

24th December 1846 Captain Rodney Mundy hoisted the Union Jack on Labuan Island.



Dramatic Monologue

A few weeks ago i asked my history students to write a persona poem or also known as dramatic monologue. It’s a poem which the students have to write a historical character (in this case James Brooke) and they have to mask his identity and character in relation to what they have learned.They only have to write the poem and not required to utter it to the whole class.

It’s not a surprise that only a few have chose the TIER 3 free verse dramatic monologue. Mostly preferred to do the standard and basic tier with writing frame given. Anyway, here are some products of their terrific work:

Comments are welcomed.

The Man behind the Attack of Brunei 1846

Over a short period of years particularly from 1846 to 1847, Sultan of Brunei was continually threatened and intimidated by the British to cede more of its territories and privileges (though in return the Sultan received annual payment) that ended with the unavoidable signing of treaties hugely favoured on the British side.

No doubt that James Brooke’s scheme and his personal motive was the main factor behind this successful feat of the British to take place but really would he be able to do it alone? Surely he needed help from someone else (a naval commander perhaps?) to make things run smoothly according to plan. So who was he? Who was this man that made such threats and attack so unbearable that the Sultan could not simply say NO? The answer to that is of course: SIR THOMAS JOHN COCHRANE.

He was responsible for the attack of Brunei in 1846 at the same time destroying the forts and also the cession of Labuan (though he just instructed Captain Rodney Mundy to take charge under his command). On top of that, he heavily involved in anti-piracy operations in Borneo.

For more information click this link:


The other Thomas Cochrane - same name but different person

Was Sir James Brooke a married person?

Hoping no student will ask me that quite ‘sensitive’ question but soon they noticed that he was that kind-of-a-person (if you know what i mean *smile*). I have difficulty to defend that he was not that kind-of-a-person (for moral sake) and apparently i found out that he was ‘believed to be’ married to the grand daughter of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien II. Click this link below to read more about his personal life.


However, it could be true that he was officially “unmarried and without issue” passed down the title Raja to the son of his sister.

Sir James Brooke

Alexander Dalrymple

According to wikipedia Dalrymple (refer to textbook page 45) was born at New Hailes near Edinburgh (scotland) the seventh of sixteenth children (wowzer! a huge family indeed) of Sir James Dalrymple and his wife the daughter of the Earl of Haddington (seems very influential). He went to London in 1752 and was appointed a writer in the British East India Company, being first posted to Madras (India). While with the EIC he became interested in the possibilities of trade with the East Indies (India, the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines) and China and subsequently negotiated a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu and visited Canton at the age of only 22 (young and daring i would say).

The last sentence is consistent to the textbook whereby near the end of the 18th century, a British trader named Alexander Dalrymple made an agreement with the Sultan of Sulu to allow the British to use part of the coast of North Borneo and some nearby islands for their trade. In other words, the British wanted to gain full advantage of trade (spices, jungle products and exotic ones such as tortoise shells) by having a base (or station to dock their ships for loading goods and maintenance) close enough to the SPICE ISLANDS, BORNEO and THE PHILIPPINES. Apparently, they also made clear signal to other Europeans such as the Dutch and Spanish of their trading motives and gradual influence in Asia.  The only problem that British have to face was disturbances from the PIRATES!

Below is a potrait of Alexander Dalrymple