Feb 4, 2008
Mosque in Brunei
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).
Land and Resources
The terrain of Brunei consists of a narrow coastal plain and a hilly interior. There are extensive swamps, especially in the west and northeast. Most streams flow north to the coast, including the Belait River, the longest in the country. Brunei has a humid, tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of about 27°C (about 80°F). The annual rainfall is heavy and is concentrated in the monsoon season of November to March, but there is no dry season.
Dense tropical rain forests cover much of the interior, occupying 53 percent of the country’s total area. Brunei is rich in wildlife, including monkeys and diverse birds and reptiles. Petroleum and natural gas are the primary mineral resources. Some species are threatened, but considerable revenue from oil sales has kept the pressure off of Brunei’s forests. Nearly 20 percent (1996) of the land area is now protected, and the country has ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Map of Brunei