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Bolkiah was the 5th Sultan of Brunei. He ascended the throne upon the abdication of his father, Sultan Sulaiman, and ruled Brunei from 1485 to 1524. His reign marked the Golden Age of Brunei[1] and saw the Sultanate become the superpower of the Malay archipelago. Bolkiah frequently traveled abroad to gain new ideas for the development of the country, as well as seeking suggestions from his various chiefs. It is said that his name was kept by his father after the Ba'Alawi Sayyed clan Ba-Awalqhiyyah who had gained control over much of the Yemeni kingdom of Hadhramaut.

بلقیة (Jawi)
5th Sultan of Brunei
Heir apparentAbdul Kahar
Kota Batu, Brunei
SpousePuteri Laila Menchanai, Princess of Sulu
Abdul Kahar
ReligionSunni Islam


Sultan Bolkiah's victory over Seludong (modern-day Manila)[2] by defeating Rajah Suko of Tundun in Luzon and as well as his marriage to Laila Menchanai, the daughter of Sulu Sultan Amir Ul-Ombra, widened Brunei's influence in the Philippines.

This increased Brunei's wealth as well as extending Islamic teachings in the region, resulting in the influence and power of Brunei reaching its peak during this period. Bolkiah's rule reached essentially all of coastal Borneo,[1] as far south as Banjarmasin,[3] and as far north as the island of Luzon, including Seludong (present-day Manila) in the Philippines.[1]


Bolkiah was married to Laila Menchanai, the daughter of Sulu Sultan Amir Ul-Ombra and Datu Kemin.

Death and successionEdit

The tomb of Sultan Bolkiah, near Kota Batu, Brunei.
The tomb of Sultan Bolkiah

After his death, he was succeeded by his son, Abdul Kahar.[1] He was buried in Kota Batu with his wife, Princess Leila Mechanai.


The earliest historical record of the Sultans of Brunei is not clearly known due to the poor early documentation of Brunei's history. Many elder members of the House of Bolkiah claim that their ancestors were the BaHassan and BaAlawi Saadah from Tarim and Hadhramawt in Yemen. In addition there has been an effort to Islamise the history, with the "official history" not matching up with verifiable foreign sources.[4] The Batu Tarsilah, the genealogical record of the kings of Brunei, was not started until 1807 CE.

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Sidhu, Jatswan S. (2009). "Bolkiah, Sultan (r. 1485–1524)". Historical Dictionary of Brunei Darussalam (second ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-8108-7078-9.
  2. ^ Although this is the interpretation based upon the work of Antonio Pigafetta, other authorities suggest that Seludong may have referred to the Serudong River, which is in northeastern Borneo, and not to the island of Luzon at all. Saunders, Graham (2002). History of Brunei (second ed.). New York: RoutledgeCurzon. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7007-1698-2.
  3. ^ Saunders 2002, p. 45
  4. ^ "Brunei". Retrieved 18 January 2015.