The state of Brunei Darussalam, the Abode of Peace is an independent Sultanate situated in the South China Sea on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo. It is wedged in between the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. It is small in size, comparable to the size of the state of Delaware but very rich in natural resources particularly, oil and liquefied natural gas boasting one of the highest per capita GDPs in Asia. Brunei is considered as a developed country.
Brunei is led by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah under a constitutional sultanate but leans more on an absolute monarchy platform. For over six centuries, Brunei has been ruled by the same family.
The country has a rich history with references dating back in the 12th century having regular trades with Chinese traders. Influences from Hindus entered the nation during the 13th century. Islam became widespread and Brunei became an independent sultanate during the 16th century. Brunei had been occupied by the British and Japanese at separate times. They became truly independent only in 1984.
The government has steadily provided for all medical and educational services with rice and housing subsidies for its people. The country is accessible by all means of transport. At present, the population of Brunei is around 388,000 with a population growth rate of 1.79%. The population consists of various ethnic groups with Malay being dominant at 67%, Chinese at 15% and other groups at 12%. There are about only 6% of the population that are indigenous. Many of the people practice Islam strictly but, other religions like Buddhism and Christianity are free to practice.
Malay is the official language and is the primary language of teaching. But recent years have seen the inclusion of English and Chinese. The Brunei Dollar is the official currency of the state.