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Brunei, in full Kingdom of Brunei, Abode of Peace (Malay, Negara Brunei Darussalam), Islamic sultanate located on the northern coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. It is bounded on the north by the South China Sea, and on all other sides by Malaysia. Brunei’s petroleum reserves have made the small nation very wealthy. It was the only state in the region that chose to remain a British dependency in the early 1960s, finally becoming an independent nation in 1984.

Brunei consists of two lobes of territory, a larger western one and a smaller eastern one. Each part has a seafront but is otherwise enclosed by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The total area of Brunei is 5,765 sq km (2,226 sq mi).


Brunei is a sultanate governed under a constitution promulgated in 1959, and amended in 1984 when Brunei achieved independence. Under the constitution, executive authority is held by the sultan of Brunei, a hereditary position. Advised by a Council of Ministers, the sultan has ruled by decree since 1962. The constitution calls for a Legislative Council to review legislation, but Brunei went without this body from 1984 until 2004. Brunei is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


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