House of Bolkiah
|Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan Negara of Brunei|
Hassanal Bolkiah in 2009
|Heir apparent||Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah|
|First monarch||Sultan Muhammad Shah|
|Formation||1363—Muhammad Shah of Brunei|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The House of Bolkiah is the ruling royal family of Brunei Darussalam. It is composed of the descendants of the 1st sultan Muhammad Shah of Brunei and his family. 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.
Since independence from the British in 1984, only one Sultan has reigned, though the royal institution dates back to the 14th century. The Sultan of Brunei can be thought of as synonymous with the ruling House of Bolkiah, with descendency being traced from the 1st sultan, temporarily interrupted by the 14th 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 5th sultan Bolkiah .
Hassanal Bolkiah's family
Almost every direct descendent of Hassanal Bolkiah had Bolkiah name as their last name.
Today, the surname Bolkiah is carried by any descendant of the House of Bolkiah. Members of the royal household hold high and influential positions in government.
Sons and grandsons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah are referred to in the style "His Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Pengiran Muda" in Malay, differing from the royals belonging to the cadet branches which are addressed as "The Lord" (HH) or "Pengiran Anak" in Malay.
List of Sultans
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. The Batu Tarsilah, the genealogical record of the kings of Brunei, was not started until 1807 CE. Therefore, much of the intepretation on history relied on earlier Chinese sources and legends. It seems that the early Sultanate of Brunei was dependent on Chinese support, and perhaps early Sultans were of Chinese origin. Furthermore the earliest Sultans may have been practising the Hindu or Buddhist religions, with early names indicating this origin.
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