Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Sarawak is one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Situated on the north-west of the island, Sarawak is larger than its sister state, Sabah. The administrative capital of this state is Kuching which literally means 'cat'.

For more details about the population see Demographics of Malaysia.


James Brooke became governor of Sarawak on September 24, 1841 and was appointed Rajah by the Sultan of Brunei on August 18, 1842; originally this territory was just the western end of later Sarawak, around Kuching. He ruled Sarawak until his death in 1868. His nephew Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke became Rajah after his death; he was succeeded by his son Charles Vyner Brooke. The territory was greatly expanded under these three, mostly at the expense of territory nominally under the control of Brunei. In practice Brunei had only controlled strategic river and coastal forts in much of the lost territory, and so most of the gain was at the expense of Muslim warlords and of the lost de facto independence of local tribes. Japan invaded in 1941. The area was secured by Australian forces in 1945, and the Rajah formally ceded sovereignty to the British Crown in 1946, under pressure according to his wife among others. Sarawak became a state of Malaysia in 1963.