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Information about person: James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak

From29 April 1803
To11 June 1868

Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, KCB, was a British adventurer whose exploits in the Malay Archipelago made him the first White Rajah of Sarawak.

Born in India and briefly educated in England, he served in the Bengal Army, was wounded, and resigned his commission. He bought a ship and sailed out to the Malay Archipelago, where by helping to crush a rebellion, he became governor of Sarawak. He then vigorously suppressed piracy in the region, and in the ensuing turmoil, restored the Sultan of Brunei to his throne, for which the Sultan made Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak. He ruled until his death.

Brooke was criticised and officially investigated for his anti-piracy measures. He was, however, honoured in London for his work. Among his achievements was to attract the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace to the Archipelago, leading to Wallace's eight-year expedition there, and ultimately to his book The Malay Archipelago.

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James Brooke, Rajah Sarawak 18 August 1842 11 June 1868