The Pre-Islamic Kings of Brunei

I was reading the latest 'Pusaka' a publication from the History Centre. A lot of my materials actually came from the History Centre publications, Pusaka is an easy read. Another is Jurnal Darussalam.

One of the articles in Pusaka is about the Kings of Brunei prior to the coming of Islam. Our history tended to begin from the conversion of Sultan Muhammad, the first Brunei Sultan into Islam around 1376. We tended to forget the earlier kings of Brunei. I remembered when I was in Nanjing, the exhibits had Brunei kings or their envoys visit China much much earlier.

This particular article writting by Dato Muhammad and Haji Zainuddin outlined several kings in the pre-Islamic era:-

The Liang Dynasty (502-566) recorded the king named as Pinka and his family was known as Kaundinya. He was a Hindu-Buddha. He was said to rule over 136 districts and his throne made out of gold and his footrest silver. His crown had diamonds and was as high as 1 feet. He sent an envoy to China in 518 among other things giving the Emperor a gold carpet. In 523, he sent another envoy to give other things.

The Sui Dynasty (581-617), the Brunei king was named Hu-lu-na-po and his family was known as Chiari-ya-ka. In 616, he also sent many tributes to the Emperor.

The Tang Dynasty (618-906) stated that the king was very rich. In 669, he sent more tributes to china.

The Sung Dynasty (960-1279) records stated that king was called Raja Hiang-ta. He owned as many as 100 ships and his soldiers wre armour made out of copper. During the reign of T'ai Tsung in 977, Raja Hiang-Ta sent an envoy to China headed by Abu Ali, syeikh Noh and Kadhi Kasim. During the reign of Yuan Fong, the king sent an envoy to China in February 1082, the King sent many tributes to China. According to legends, that king was known as Seri Maharaja. After him was said to be Raja Makatunaw and Sang Aji (grandfather to Sultan Muhammad Shah).


Dr Nick said…
THe pre-islamic era of Brunei is much neglected in the official curriculum.

Perhaps there is concern that this part of Brunei history could undermine MIB? For over a millenium, a non-muslim Brunei existed. Also, many Bruneians have ancestry from other regions of the world be it Arabic, Hindu or Chinese.
Justin said…
Thank you Rozan for this post. I'm a Sabahan and an enthusiast on the history of North Borneo. On my researches, I relied heavily on Bruneian's resources. Thank god for you guys. Otherwise, our rich cultural history will be forever gone to the Sabahans.

This Raja Makatunaw, is he the same person as Raja Kinabatangan?

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