The Sultan of Brunei is the head of state and absolute monarch of Brunei. He is also head of government in his capacity as Prime Minister.[1] Since independence from the British in 1984, only one Sultan has reigned, though the royal institution dates back to the 14th century.[2]

The Sultan of Brunei can be thought of as synonymous with the ruling House of Bolkiah, with generations being traced from the first sultan, temporarily interrupted by the 13th Sultan, Abdul Hakkul Mubin who in turn was deposed by a member of the House of Bolkiah. It is not clear when the house became known as the "House of Bolkiah", and whether it was named after the current sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, or the fifth sultan Bolkiah.[citation needed] The Sultan's full title is: His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.[1]


Sultans of Brunei since 1368[2]
No. Name Reign start Reign end Notes
1 Muhammad Shah / Awang Alak Betatar 1368[3] 1402 Established the Sultanate.[3]
2 Ahmad / Awang Pateh Berbai 1408 1425
3 Sharif Ali / Sultan Barkat (Blessed Sultan) 1425 1432 No direct genealogical relation to predecessor, but was selected as he was the son-in-law of the previous sultan (Ahmad) and was well versed in Islam.
4 Sulaiman 1432 1485 Son of the previous sultan, Sharif Ali. Abdicated to allow his son Bolkiah to become sultan.
5 Bolkiah / Nakhoda Ragam (The Singing Captain) 1485 1524 Son of the previous sultan, Sulaiman.
6 Abdul Kahar 1524 1530 Son of the previous sultan, Bolkiah
7 Saiful Rijal 1533 1581 Nephew and adopted-son of the previous sultan, Abdul Kahar. Castile War broke out between Brunei and Spain.
8 Shah Berunai 1581 1582 Eldest son of Sultan Saiful Rijal
9 Muhammad Hassan 1582 1598 Younger brother of Shah Berunai. Hukum Kanun Brunei or Law of Brunei was introduced. Continued the expansion of Bruneian Empire.
10 Abdul Jalilul Akbar 1598 1659 Eldest son of Muhammad Hassan. Olivier Van Noort visited Brunei.
11 Abdul Jalilul Jabbar 1659 1660 Second son of Abdul Jalilul Akbar.
12 Muhammad Ali 1660 1661 Strangled by his successor Abdul Hakkul Mubin, sparking the Brunei Civil War.
13 Abdul Hakkul Mubin 1660 1673 Started the Brunei Civil War by killing his predecessor Muhammad Ali and was in turn killed by Muhyiddin who succeeded him as Sultan.
14 Muhyiddin 1673 1690 Son of Abdul Jalilul Akbar who avenged the death of his father-in-law Muhammad Ali by killing Abdul Hakkul Mubin, thus ending the Brunei Civil War.
15 Nasruddin 1690 1710 The first sultan to introduce gold coinage. Dato Godam visited Brunei.
16 Hussin Kamaluddin 1710 1730 He ruled for the second time between 1737 to 1740. After his demise, he was known as Marhum Di Luba.
17 Muhammad Alauddin 1730 1737 Instructed Datu Imam Yaakub to write the Silsilah Raja-Raja Berunai or the Genealogy of the Sultans of Brunei.
18 Omar Ali Saifuddin I 1740 1795 The first sultan to be buried at Kubah Makam Di Raja in Bandar Seri Begawan.
19 Muhammad Tajuddin 1795 1807 Became the Sultan of Brunei twice, the first from 1795 to 1804 and the second from 1804 to 1807.
20 Muhammad Jamalul Alam I 1804 1804 The sultan who ruled less than a year.
21 Muhammad Kanzul Alam 1807 1826 Appointed Pengiran Indera Mahkota Mohammad Salleh as Governor of Sarawak.
22 Muhammad Alam / Raja Api 1826 1828
23 Omar Ali Saifuddin II 1828 1852 Brunei ceded Sarawak to James Brooke. Brunei ceded Labuan to the British.
24 Abdul Momin 1852 30 May 1885 Brunei ceded northwestern part of Borneo to the British.
25 Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin 30 May 1885 10 May 1906 United Kingdom established protectorate over Brunei in 1888.
26 Muhammad Jamalul Alam II 10 May 1906 11 September 1924 The Sultan's reign was a short one. An outbreak of malaria claimed his life as well as three members of his family.
27 Ahmad Tajuddin 11 September 1924 4 June 1950 Japanese occupation of Brunei took place.
28 Omar Ali Saifuddien III 4 June 1950 5 October 1967 Signed the Brunei Constitution of 1959. Abdicated voluntarily in favor of his eldest son, Hassanal Bolkiah. Became Brunei's first Minister of Defence after 1984 independence.
29 Hassanal Bolkiah 5 October 1967 Incumbent Brunei regained independence from the United Kingdom in 1984.


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 also


  1. ^ a b "Prime Minister". The Prime Minister's Office of Brunei Darussalam. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Sultan-Sultan Brunei" (in Malay). Government of Brunei. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Elisseeff, Vadime (January 2000). "Chapter 8: A Brunei Sultan of the Early Fourteenth Century – A Study of an Arabic Gravestone". The Silk Roads: Highways of Culture and Commerce. Berghahn Books. pp. 145–157. ISBN 978-1-57181-222-3. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Brunei". 4dw.net. Retrieved 18 January 2015.