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Some Problems of Brunei Chronology

  • Robert Nicholl

Abstract

Owing to the absence of dates in historical manuscripts and on monuments, Brunei chronology has been based upon traditional dates of uncertain origin. The object of this article is to take such events in Brunei as can be chronicled in external sources and to compare these foreign dates with those traditionally accepted.

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1 Professor Brown, Donald, Brunei: The Structure and History of a Bornean Malay Sultanate (Brunei, 1970), pp. 134–40. Hereinafter referred to as “Brown, Brunei”.

2 MacBryan, G.T.M., “Two Brunei Charms”, ed. Tom Harrisson, Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) 20, Pt. 2 (1947): 4849; Malaysian Historical Sources, ed. Tregonning, K.G. (Singapore, 1962), p. 106.

3 Hereinafter referred to as “Low”.

4 Ibid., pp. 1–8.

5 Ibid., p. 11 (1).

6 Ibid., p. 54 (5).

7 Ibid., p. 12 (3).

8 Ibid., p. 13 (5).

9 Ibid., p. 57 (10 & 11).

10 Ibid., p. 64 (23).

11 Ibid., p. 71 (33).

12 MS.A., p. 12 (3); MS.B., p. 51(1) Note 2.

13 MS.A., p. 11 (1); MS.B., p. 51 (1).

14 Ibid., p. 82 (54).

15 Sharifuddin, Dato P.M. and Hj. Abd. Latif Hj. Ibrahim, B.M.J. 3, No. 2 (1974): 253–64.

16 Low, pp. 32–35.

17 MS.A., pp. 11–12 (1–4).

18 The contents of her version are summarized by Brown, Donald E. in “Brunei through the Sha'er and the Silsilah”, Solidarity 99 (1984): 1015.

19 Brown, Brunei, pp. 134–36, also his Hyranyagarbha — The Hindu Cosmic Egg and the Brunei Royal Line”, Brunei Museum Journal (B.M.J.) 4, No. 4 (1980): 3037.

20 Personal communication from Dr. Martin Baier.

21 For a summary of his achievements see MS.A., p. 49 (71–72); MS.B., pp. 54–55 (7–8); Mow, pp. 9–10; Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Di-Raja Doctor Haji Muhammad Jamil Al-Sufri, The Story of Bendahara Sakam”, B.M.J. 3, No. 3 (1975): 109115.

22 Blair, H.M. and Robertson, J.A., “Accounts of Expeditions”, The Philippine Islands, 1493–1803, Vol. 4 (Cleveland, Ohio, 1893 and Quezon City, 1973), p. 166.

23 Carroll, J.S., “Francisco de Sande's Invasion of Brunei in 1578; An Anonymous Account”, B.M.J. 6, No. 2 (1986): 62.

24 Ibid., p. 63.

25 Ibid., p. 62, note 95.

26 Ibid., p. 66.

27 Ibid., p. 66.

28 Rev. Jacobs, H., Documenta Malucensia, Vol. 2 (Roma, 1980), p. 33, note 12.

29 H.E.I.C.MS. Borneo Factory Records, p. 495.

30 Where spelling in the Family Tree differs from that of Dr. Sweeney, the former is followed here.

31 MS.B., p. 51 (1).

32 Ibid., p. 70 (32).

33 MS.A., p. 11 (1).

34 E.g. Bisayah: B. Sandin, “The Bisayahs of Limbang”, Sarawak Museum Journal (S.M.J.) 19, Nos. 38–39 (July-December 1971): 406; Melanau: Lawrence, A.E., “First Brunei Conquests on the Sarawak Coast”, S.M.J. 1, No. 1 (1911): 120–24.

35 Negarakertagama, in Pigeaud, T.G. Th., Java in the Fourteenth Century (The Hague, 1960), Vol. 3, p. 16 & Vol. 4, p. 31.

36 Brown, Mrs Carrie, “An Early Account of Brunei by Sung Lien”, B.M.J. 2, No. 4 (1972): 220; Groenveldt, W.P., Historical Notes on Indonesia and Malaya Compiled from Chinese Sources (Jakarta, 1960), pp. 110–11. Hereinafter referred to as “Groenveldt, Notes”.

37 Le Höja et le Sayyid Husain de l'Histoire des Mings, Tung Pao, Vol. 38, Pts. 2–3 (1948), p. 268 note 347.

38 ”Sometimes even good Homer nods.”

39 The P'o character in proper names, such as Buddha, can express the sound bu, so that P'o-ni would be a Chinese phonetic expression of Bu[r]ni, cf. Julien, S., Méthode pour déchifrer et transcrire les noms snascrits dans les livres chinois, No. 1415 (Paris, 1861), p. 172.

40 Hirth, F. and Rockhill, W.W., Chau ju-kua: His Work on Chinese and Arab Trade in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries Entitled: Chu-fan-chi (St. Petersburg, 1911 & Taipeh, 1967), pp. 155–58 & 193.

41 Groenveldt, Notes, p. 108.

42 de Sá, A.B., Documentaçāo para a História das Missōes de Padroado Portuguêse do Oriente (Lisboa, 1954), Vol. 1, p. 68; Cartas de Afonso de Albuquerque (Lisboa, 1884), Vol. 3, p. 91; Brown, D., “Four Brief Notes on Brunei History”, B.M.J. 2, No. 3 (1971): 174–75; Nicholl, R., European Sources for the History of the Sultanate of Brunei in the Sixteenth Century (Brunei, 1975), p. 4. The latter hereinafter referred to as “Nicholl, Sources”.

43 Trs. A. Cortesāo (London, 1944), Vol. 1, p. 132.

44 The names of the royal party are given on the memorial stele at the tomb of Maharaja Kama; they are given by Brown, Mrs Carrie, “Two Ming Texts Concerning King Ma-na-je-chia-na of P'o-ni”, B.M.J. 3, No. 2, (1974): 224. They are all easily reconstituted into Sanskrit titles still used in Brunei, and given in Brown, Brunei, pp. 185–225.

45 Groenveldt, Notes, p. 112.

46 Coloured photographs of the statuary at the tomb are in B.M.J. 5, No. 4 (1984): 3545.

47 Professor Mazahéri, Ali, La Route de la Soie (Paris, 1983), pp. 4044.

48 The Introduction of Islam into Campa”, JMBRAS 58, Pt. 1 (1985): 128.

49 Ibid., p. 7.

50 E.g. Groenveldt, Notes, p. 109.

51 MS.A., p. 31 (37).

52 Awg. Matassam Hj. Jibah, Notes on Tombstones Recently Found in Brunei”, B.M.J. 5, No. 2 (1982): 19.

53 MS.A., p. 11 (2).

54 MS.B., p. 53 (5).

55 Ibid., p. 54 (5).

56 Low, p. 24.

57 MS.B., pp. 52–53 (2–5); Low, p. 6. This is the Italian spelling of Kinabatangan and Kinabalu, cf. Nicholl, R., “The Sixteenth Century Cartography of Borneo”, B.M.J. 3, No. 4 (1976): 114–15. It is unnecessary to labour the point. Ki-na is a Kadazan prefix for a toponym, and has nothing to do with China, cf. Evans, I., Among Primitive People in Borneo (London, 1922), pp. 277–79.

58 Groenveldt, Notes, pp. 114–15.

59 E.g. Carroll, J.S., “Berunai in the Boxer Codex”, JMBRAS 55, Pt. 2 (1982): 4.

60 Groenveldt, Notes, p. 102.

61 For cessation of tribute-bearing missions to the Imperial Court from Sulu in 1424, cf. Groenveldt, Notes, pp. 103–105. This would mark the end of independence for Sulu.

62 Skelton, R.A., Magellan's Voyage (London, 1973), p. 108. This is a translation of the Beineke-Yale Codex.

63 Ibid., p. 107.

64 Low, pp. 24–25.

65 MS.A., p. 11 (1).

66 MS.B., p. 54(5).

67 Supra note 28.

68 For an examination of Sulu folklore on the subject, cf. Professor Majul, César Adib, Muslims in the Philippines (Quezon City, 1973), Ch. 1 passim.

69 Hikayat Hang Tuah, ed. Ahmad, Kassim (Kuala Lumpur, 1968), p. 378.

70 Combés-Retana, , História de las islas de Mindanao, Jolo, y sus Adyacentes (Madrid, 1887), column 44; Blair and Robertson, The Natives of the Southern Islands, Vol. 40, p. 130.

71 Blair and Robertson, Relation of 1627–1628, Vol. 22, pp. 207–210.

72 Photograph in Majul, op. cit., opposite p. 180.

73 Nicholl, Sources, pp. 22–23.

74 Ibid., p. 21.

75 MS.A., p. 12 (2).

76 MS.B., p. 54(6).

77 Infra note 95.

78 Low, p. 3 note (6), and p. 24 note.

79 Ibid., p. 24.

80 MS.A., p. 12 (2).

81 MS.B., p. 54(6).

82 Hunt, J., “Particulars Relating to Sulu”, in Moor, J.M., Notices of the Indian Archipelago (London, 1837 & 1968), Appendix p. 32.

83 Low, p. 34.

84 Wada, Sei, The Philippine Islands as known to the Chinese before the Ming Period, Memoir of the Research Department of the Tōyō Bunko, No. 4 (Tokyo, 1929), p. 150.

85 Carroll, J.S., “Aganduru Móriz Account of the Magellan Expedition at Brunei”, B.M.J. 6, No. 1 (1985): 59.

86 Skelton, op. cit., p. 107.

87 Groenveldt, Notes, p. 105.

88 Supra note 69.

89 Nicholl, R., “The Letter of Brás Baiāo, B.M.J. 5, No. 3 (1983): 54.

90 Dalrymple, A., Journal of the Indian Archipelago, No. 3 (1849): 564.

91 Blair and Robertson, Vol. 4, p. 197; Nicholl, Sources, p. 55.

92 Ibid., pp. 55 & 197.

93 Blair and Robertson, Vol. 4, p. 152; Nicholl, Sources, p. 37.

94 Carroll, J.S., “Berunai in the Boxer Codex”, JMBRAS 55, Pt. 2 (1982): 1.

95 Ibid., p. 16.

96 As in note 94, p. 5; MS.A., p. 12 (2); MS.B., p. 56 (8); Low, pp. 11 & 26.

97 Low, p. 26.

98 MS.A., p. 12 (2); MS.B., p. 56 (8).

99 Nicholl, Sources, pp. 82–87.

100 Blair and Robertson, Morga's Sucesos, Vol. 15, pp. 193–96; Stanley, J.E.J., The Philippine Islands at the Close of the Sixteenth Century (London, 1868), pp. 140–49.

101 Nicholl, Sources, p. 84.

102 de Erédia, Emanuel Godhino, “Description of Malacca, Meridional India and Cathay”, trs. J.V. Mills, JMBRAS 8, Pt. 1 (1930): 245.

103 Linehan, W., “A History of Pahang”, JMBRAS 14, Pt. 2 (1936): 32 note 3.

104 MS.A., p. 20 (16); MS.B., p. 56 (9).

105 MS.A., p. 13 (4–5) & p. 20 (16).

106 Valentyn's Borneo”, trs. Mrs Dovey, B.M.J. 4, No. 2 (1978): 85; van Dijk, L.C., “Dutch Relations with Borneo in the Seventeenth Century”, B.M.J. 5, No. 3 (1983): 6467.

107 MS.A., p. 21 (18); MS.B., p. 56 (9).

108 Blair and Robertson, Vol. 4, p. 219.

109 Majul, op. cit., p. 16 note 10.

110 Blair and Robertson, Vol. 15, p. 132; Stanley, op. cit., p. 88.

111 van Dijk, L.C., “Relations of the Dutch East India Company with Borneo [Brunei], the Sulu Archipelago, Mindanao, etc.”, B.M.J. 5, No. 4 (1984): 10. Hereinafter referred to as “Van Dijk, Brunei”.

112 Low, p. 8.

113 MS.A., p. 13 (5).

114 B.M.J. 5, No. 3 (1983): 64.

115 Ibid., p. 68.

116 MS.A., p. 20(16).

117 MS.A., p. 12 (3); MS.B., p. 56 (10).

118 Low, p. 27.

119 Low, p. 27; A. Dalrymple, Oriental Repertory Vol. 1 (London, 1791), p. 577.

120 Blair and Robertson, Conquest of Mindanao, Vol. 29, p. 300.

121 Van Dijk, Brunei, p. 28.

122 Low, p. 13 note 2.

123 The distressing circumstances of the murder are related in MS.B., p. 58 (12) and Low, pp. 12–13.

124 The 14 Rabiul Akhir fell on hari Isnein four times during the seventeenth century: A.H. 1014 (A.D. 1605); A.H. 1046 (A.D. 1636); A.H. 1078 (A.D. 1667); A.H. 1110 (A.D. 1698).

125 Van Dijk, Brunei, pp. 27–28.

126 MS.B., p. 60(15).

127 Low, p. 14.

128 MS.A., p. 12(3).

129 Dato P.M. Sharifuddin & Hj. Abd. Latif, op. cit., p. 254; Low, p. 34.

130 MS.A., p. 13 (5); p. 21 (18).

131 MS.A., p. 14 (7).

132 MS.B., p. 57 (10).

133 Ibid., cf. Dr. Sweeney's note 3 on this.

134 MS.B., p. 64 (23); Low, p. 17.

135 MS.B., p. 71 (33).

136 Van Dijk, Brunei, p. 30.

137 Ibid., p. 30.

138 MS.A., p. 50 (72); Low, p. 11.

139 Low, p. 17 note.

140 MS.B., pp. 67–68 (27–29); Low, pp. 20–21.

141 Van Dijk, Brunei, p. 31.

142 Nicholl, R., “Relations between Brunei and Manila”, B.M.J. 4, No. 1 (1977): 154–55. Hereinafter referred to as “Nicholl, Relations”.

143 Low, p. 29.

144 Nicholl, Relations, p. 133.

145 Ibid., p. 144, which reproduces a photograph of the actual passage.

146 Ibid., pp. 162 & 171.

147 Ibid., pp. 159–62 & 166–67.

148 BIair and Robertson, Augustinians in the Philippines, Vol. 42, p. 184; Nicholl, Relations, p. 171.

149 Nicholl, Relations, pp. 161–62.

150 Ibid., p. 156.

151 Ibid., p. 173.

152 The present writer, when editing these texts in 1976, suggested (p. 150) that the Sultan here described might be Sultan Muhyidden, but this now appears wholly inadmissable.

153 MS.A., p. 12 (3).

154 MS.B., p. 69 (30).

155 Dato P.M. Sharifuddin and Hj. Abd. Latif, op. cit., p. 255; Low, p. 35.

156 Low, p. 29.

157 Ibid.

158 The date on the tomb is no longer legible.

159 MS.A., p. 12(3).

160 As for note 155; Low, p. 35.

161 H.E.I.C. MS. Borneo Factory Records, p. 495.

162 Nicholl, Relations, p. 176.

163 Cf. note 59.

164 “Brunei Rediscovered”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 14, No. 1 (March 1983): 32–33.

165 Carroll, op. cit., p. 4.

166 Groenveldt, op. cit., p. 113.

167 Ibid., pp. 113–14.

168 Carroll, op. cit., p. 5.

169 Ibid., p. 2.

170 Ibid., p. 16.

171 Op. cit., p. 2.

172 Op. cit., p. 1 note 2.

173 Op. cit., p. 139.

174 Op. cit., p. 138.

175 “Early Portuguese and Spanish Contacts with Borneo”, International Association of Historians of Asia, Taipei Conference 1962, Transactions, pp. 485–526.

176 Op. cit., p. 138.

177 B.M.J. 4, No. 3 (1977): 31.

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Some Problems of Brunei Chronology

  • Robert Nicholl

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