Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Tangjung Pura was the kingdom in the land of Bornei. Now it is called Borneo and divided into 3 territories namely by Indonesians, Bruneians and Malaysians. The so-called Philippines was once also had a territory in Borneo. However, Kota Kinabalo in Sabah was now a Malaysian territory. Tanjung Pura kingdom is a pre-Islamic kingdom united with the SriVisayans and the short lived Majahapits who defeated the Mongols under Kublai Khan.

image taken from

"Majapahit empire, the last Indianized kingdom in Indonesia; based in eastern Java, it existed between the 13th and 16th centuries. The founder of the empire was Vijaya, a prince of Singhasāri (q.v.), who escaped when Jayakatwang, the ruler of Kaḍiri, seized the palace. In 1292 Mongol troops came to Java to avenge an insult to the emperor of China, Kublai Khan, by Kertanagara, the king of Singhasāri, who had been replaced by Jayakatwang. Vijaya collaborated with Mongol troops in defeating Jayakatwang; Vijaya then turned against the Mongols and expelled them from Java.

Under his rule the new kingdom, Majapahit, successfully controlled Bali, Madura, Malayu, and Tanjungpura. The power of Majapahit reached its height in the mid-14th century under the leadership of King Hayam Wuruk and his prime minister, Gajah Mada. Some scholars have argued that the territories of Majapahit covered present-day Indonesia and part of Malaysia, but others maintain that its territory was confined to eastern Java and Bali. Nonetheless, Majapahit became a significant power in the region, maintaining regular relations with China, Champa, Cambodia, Annam, and Siam (Thailand). The golden era of Majapahit was short-lived; the empire began to decline after the death of Gajah Mada in 1364, and it was further weakened after the death of Hayam Wuruk in 1389." - extracted from

This is one episode in the documentary series "Bridging Giants." It tells the story of Chinese people in Brunei. To be specifically, how they are preserving Chinese culture in this small but wealthy country in southeast Asia.

"The settlement known as Vijayapura was a colony to the Buddhist Srivijaya empire and was thought to be located in Borneo's Northwest which flourished in the 7th Century. In the aftermath of the Indian Chola invasion of Srivijaya, Datu Puti lead some dissident datus from Sumatra and Borneo in a rebellion against Rajah Makatunao who was a Chola appointed local Rajah. The dissidents and their retinue tried to revive Srivijaya in a new country called Madja-as in the Visayas islands (an archipelago named after Srivijaya) in the Philippines. One of the earliest Chinese records of an independent kingdom in Borneo is the 977 AD letter to Chinese emperor from the ruler of Po-ni, which some scholars believe to refer to Borneo. In 1225, a Chinese official, Chau Ju-Kua (Zhao Rugua), reported that Po-ni had 100 warships to protect its trade, and that there was a lot of wealth in the kingdom.

In the 14th century, the Javanese manuscript Nagarakretagama, written by Prapanca in 1365, mentioned Barune as the constituent state of Hindu Majapahit, which had to make an annual tribute of 40 katis of camphor. In 1369, Sulu which was also formerly part of Majapahit, had successfully rebelled and then attacked Po-ni, looting it of treasure and gold. A fleet from Majapahit succeeded in driving away the Sulus, but Po-ni was left weaker after the attack.A Chinese report from 1371 described Po-ni as poor and totally controlled by Majapahit.

During the 15th century, Po-ni had seceded from Majapahit and then converted to Islam. Thus transforming into the independent Sultanate of Brunei. Brunei became a Hashemite state when she allowed the Arab Emir of Mecca, Sharif Ali, to become her third sultan. Scholars claim that the power of the Sultanate of Brunei was at its peak between the 15th and 17th centuries, with its power extending from northern Borneo to the southern Philippines (Sulu) and even in the northern Philippines (Manila) which Brunei incorporated via territorial acquisition accomplished through royal marriages. Sultan Bolkiah had extended Brunei's power to it's greatest extent when it conquered Manila and Sulu as he even attempted but failed to conquer the Visayas islands even though Sultan Bolkiah was half-Visayan himself being descended from a Visayan mother and he was famously known as Sultan Ragam "The Singing Captain", his powerful musical voice was a trait he inherited from his Visayan lineage since Visayans were culturally obsessed with singing, with the best Visayan singers often also being members of their warrior castes too. However, Islamic Brunei's power was not uncontested in Borneo since it had a Hindu rival in a state founded by Indians called Kutai in the south which they overpowered but didn't destroy. Brunei's dominance in the Philippines was also challenged by two Indianized kingdoms, the Rajahanates of Cebu and Butuan which were also coincidentally allied with Kutai and were also at war with Brunei's dependencies; Sulu and Manila as well as their mutual ally, the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The Kedatuans of Madja-as and Dapitan were also belligerent against Brunei due to them being the targets of constant Muslim attacks organized from Maguindanao and Ternate, a Papuan speaking state in the vicinity of Oceania that grew wealthy by monopolizing spice production. Nevertheless, by the 16th century, Islam was firmly rooted in Brunei, and the country had built one of its biggest mosques. In 1578, Alonso Beltrán, a Spanish traveller, described it as being five stories tall and built on the water." - Extracted from



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