Description of Brunei in 1600 and 1700

I wrote about a description of Brunei in the 1700 the other day (which you can link here from a book  written by Rev Dr Francis Valentyn who was with the Dutch Reformed Church and was a missionary to the Indies in the late 1600s and early 1700s. He collected a lot of material and published in eight volumes entitled Oud en Niew Oust Indien (The Old and New East Indies) sometimes between 1724 and 1726.

Let me continue what else he wrote about Brunei in the past:

"The general opinion is that the people of the village of Borneo are the richest of the whole island, not only because of the presence of large quantities of gold, but also because of the quality of the gold is higher, being of a purer and better alloy then found anywhere else. They also have the best camphor in the whole of Indies and other sought after precious riches, which are profitably traded, either for money or cloth. The people of Borneo also have extremely beautiful strong perahus some of them 8 to 10 feet in width and 40 to 50 feet long with a large tent built in the middle and manned by 30 to 40 seamen. Inland they have huge forests with good trees and there is no labour problem, so this area is heavily populated."

In the second chapter of the book, Valentyn wrote about the visit of the first Dutchman who came to Brunei in 1600:

"The first Dutchman arriving at the island was Olivier van Noord. He arrived on Dec 26, in they ear 1600, with a ship called the Mauritius and anchored in the large bay of the village of Borneo. In front of the bay he found some islands inhabited by fishemen and about 2 to 3 miles in size. The sea here is rich in fish. The king keeps a flat of armed prahus in these waters to protect the fishermen, to keep the river free of pirates and to keep him informed of happenings, as the village of Borneo is about 2 to 3 miles up the river."

There were more description about the trade between van Noord and the Bruneians. I will post these in the future.


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