HISTORY.TO.THE.MAX

Recounting the Memories of the Past

Tag Archives: Sarawak

Terusan – in Sarawak or Sabah?

Terusan or also known as Trusan are apparently not only located in Sarawak (which of course is a district and now part of Limbang Division) but also apparently found in Sabah which is a town with an approximate population of 818 in 2004 according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terusan).

Historically, Terusan in Sarawak  was ceded to Charles Brooke in 1884 by Sultan Abdul Momin and then Pengiran Temenggong Pengiran Anak Hashim in consideration of annual money payments  before the Amanat was introduced in 1885 with an perfect excuse of disturbances which they took advantage of and that the people of Terusan hugely support Brooke government for they would impose minimal taxation and would be better off under their control rather than Brunei.

Sarawak is divided into 22 major basins

Where is exactly Tanjung Puan?

Tanjung or point means a tapering piece of land projecting into a body of water, less prominent than a cape. This Tanjung Puan according to the textbook was part of the concession belonged to Charles Brooke in 1884. But it seems that this Tanjung Puan is located in Temburong and quite far from Terusan. Brunei Forestry Department also has a working station at Tanjung Puan to protect wildlife in that surrounding vicinity. So it could be true that Tanjung Puan belongs to Brunei and perhaps the textbook got mixed up and used Tanjung Puan as the boundary to where the British claimed Terusan district.

Tanjung Puan - Part of Brunei or Sarawak?

 

Mukah was a major sago producing area

Mukah was well-known for its sago production. It used to send its sago production to Brunei before it became part of Sarawak in 1861 when Sultan Abdul Momin ceded to James Brooke.  Since then sago production became one of the most important trading exports of Sarawak particularly during the Brooke government. Nowadays, oil palm plantation has replaced sago palm cultivation as Mukah’s main agricultural crop.

Traditionally, sago has been the staple food for Melanau people in Sarawak. They make a variety of dishes and delicacies out of sago such as sago pearls, sago crackers and not to mention the nutritious sago worms.

The 20 metre tall chimney from the first sago factory. Taken from sixthseal.com

Sago comes in a paste form which can be used for cooking various dishes. Taken from sixthseal.com

Sago pearls. Taken from sixthseal.com

The yummy sago worms. Taken from sixthseal.com

Any comments or insights on Mukah are always welcomed.

James Brooke envisaged a vibrant trading port of Kuching

When James Brooke strengthened his position as the Rajah of Sarawak and acquired Tanjung Datu to Samarahan river through a treaty signed in 1846 between Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien and the British, he knew that it was just the beginning to his relentless pursuit of territorial expansion and majestic rule in Sarawak.

From 1853 until his death in 1868, he remarkably acquired territories stretching from Tanjung Datu to Tanjung Kedurong from Sultan Abdul Momin in exchange of annual payment which later were passed down to his successor Charles Brooke.

James Brooke knew that by capturing these territories he could make Kuching the busiest trading port in Borneo. Apart from minerals such as gold and antimony, sago and other jungle products were exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore that would help to generate income for Brooke government. As a result, much of the trade has diverted to Kuching and Brunei suffered trading losses in the long run.

Map of Sarawak 1866. Taken from sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com

 

James Brooke's signature

Fort Alice

During the reign of Sultan Abdul Momin he gave up Batang Lupar to James Brooke 1853 simply because it was difficult to control the hostile tribes particularly the Iban population. In return the Sultan had annual payment and considered it as a good bargain.

Considering the problems James Brooke had to face in this territories (piracy, headhunters and resistance to his administration) and to encourage trade and development in Sarawak, he built a Fort on lowland named Fort James. However it was soon decided to dismantle and rebuild at a more strategic and more defensive site in Simanggang District. Thus Fort Alice was built.

Fort James at Skrang

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Alice was named after the wife of Charles Brooke, Ranee Margaret Alice Lili and built on a hill at Simanggang in 1864. It served as the Simanggang administration center and also a prison. Though the fort is still remains in tact, it is an extremely dilapidated and run down condition according to wikipedia.

Inside the Fort Alice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The run-down Fort Alice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranee Margaret Brooke in 1871 aged 22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always comments are welcomed.

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.

 

 

The Royalist Schooner

James Brooke ship royalist 1839 (Taken from anthonyfward.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royalist (is not to be confused with many Royal Navy ships of the same name) was a 142-ton topsail schooner. She was probably built in Cowes in 1834 as a gentleman’s yacht for Rev F.T.Lane, but purchased by James Brooke in 1836 with money he had inherited from his father. He intended to use it for an expedition to the East Indies in the course of a circumnavigation of the globe, in preparation for which he cruised in the Mediterranean in 1837. As a vessel of the Royal Yacht Squadron  it was permitted to fly the White Ensign and be accorded the same rights as ships of the Royal Navy.

When armed, with ’6 six-pounders, a number of swivels, and small arms in abundance’, it was effectively a private warship and was instrumental in Brooke establishing his foothold in Sarawak from his first visit in 1839 until becoming the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. Without this Schooner it would hardly be possible for James Brooke to force Pengiran Muda Hashim to fulfil his promise of giving him  the administration of Sarawak after he had successfully defeat the rebels.

The Royalist is last heard of in Brunei in September 1843, and is said to have been sold early in 1844.

Lidah Tanah – one of the past capitals of Sarawak.

According to wikipedia, prior to the founding of Kuching (originally Sarawak more than 150 years ago so essentially Sarawak was Kuching it’s like saying the capital of Singapore is Singapore) the two past capitals of Sarawak were Santubong, founded by Sultan Pengiran Tengah in 1599 and Lidah Tanah founded by Datu Patinggi Ali in the early 1820s (as you may know  in the textbook it stated in 1824, Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Muhammad Salleh was appointed as the governor in Sarawak which he had to face rebellion against Datu Patinggi Ali’s huge supporters for his abusive power and exploitaion on Antimony for personal gains).

Even though Lidah Tanah now has been downgraded its status as merely a kampung, its name and historystill remains a significant part in the history book of Brunei, for it was the first place (and many more in years’ after – act as a catalyst) where James Brooke got his hands on the lands used to be controlled by Sultan of Brunei.