January 26, 2013

"According to... Brunei's national epic poem, the present-day sultanate originated when Dewa Emas Kayangan descended to earth from heaven in an egg."

"He had children with a number of aboriginal maidens, and one of these children converted to Islam and became the first sultan. However, the state continued to be multicultural. The second sultan was either Chinese or married a Chinese woman. The third sultan was said to be part Arab, who are seen in South and Southeast Asia as the descendents of Muhammad.... The sultanate was a thalassocracy, a realm based on controlling trade rather than land. Situated in a strategic location between China and the trading networks of southeast Asia, the state served as an entrepôt and collected tolls on water traffic."

Brunei is today's "History of" country.

Today's vocabulary words are:  thalassocracy and entrepôt.

17 comments:

mccullough said...

I remember when the sultan of Brunei was the richest person in the world.

ironrailsironweights said...

Brunei is one of the last refuges of the endangered cream-colored giant squirrel.

Peter

Rob said...

As it happens, Barack Obama also descended to earth from heaven. Fortunately for America and the Free World, he landed in Hawaii, where the state issued his parents a Certificate of Descent.

edutcher said...

Brunei was the scene of the last invasion of WWII, rating a personal visit to the Sultan by Douglas MacArthur (whose 133rd birthday it is today).

Marc said...

I don't think that 'thalassocracy' means 'government by those who control trade rather than land': η θαλασσα, the sea, the sea... 'government by those who control the seas, the sea trade'.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Fortunately for us all, a photographer was there to record the creation of the sultanate.

ampersand said...

From Wiki:
The Sultan is the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Minister of Finance, Head of Islam, Head of Customs, Head of the Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Inspector General of the Royal Brunei Police Force.

ampersand said...

The Sultan is not even the richest royal in the world. The King of Thailand beats him by 10 billion.

Indigo Red said...

Nanu Nanu.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Sultan is not even the richest royal in the world. The King of Thailand beats him by 10 billion."

Interesting list. I'm surprised how unhealthy these people are. Queen Elizabeth, not even halfway to $1 billion.

Ambrose said...

You need to wash your hands well, with soap,after descending from Heaven in a raw egg.

Ann Althouse said...

I mean unwealthy.

I wouldn't have noticed that typo, but Meade was puzzling me by questioning about the various royals' health. I didn't know WTF he was talking about.

David R. Graham said...

"Brunei was the scene of the last invasion of WWII, rating a personal visit to the Sultan by Douglas MacArthur (whose 133rd birthday it is today)."

And as I recall, perhaps not with complete exactitude, the Sultan's daughter caused a scandal by falling in love with an American "professional wrestler." The scandal had to be smoothed for operations to proceed by plan and this may have been the reason for MacArthur's visit. I seem to recall that Whitney and others mention this incident. The Sultan was furious at his daughter and the USA and threatening operational difficulties.

David R. Graham said...

"and collected tolls on water traffic"

The customary name for this is piracy.

One man's law is another man's inhumanity.

Archilochus said...

"Queen Elizabeth, not even halfway to $1 billion."

How much of their wealth do they donate? Would the British public accept it if she was worth in excess of $1 billion? In an age of "austerity?"

karimul Islam said...

bigdaybliss.com BigDayBliss mobile and web application offers a new interactive platform for all Brides & Grooms seeking inspiration to plan their wedding day. Upload your Wedding business for free today.
wedding planning
wedding planning
wedding planning

veni vidi vici said...

Isn't the Sultan of Brunei the guy who has a massive harem going on with gals he pays well just to hang around?

If I'm correct, that would mean that present-day Brunei is a phallusocracy.