Brunei is a sovereign state, with just less than half a million people, on the north coast of Borneo. Two-thirds of the population are Malay, and the country is surrounded by Malaysia (bar the coast). After centuries of religious conflict with Spain, the larger island of Borneo had driven out the Spanish but was rife with internal Civil War over who should rule. In 1888, Britain made a treaty with a Sultan taking control of its foreign affairs. It 'could not cede or lease any territory to foreign powers without British consent'. Providing muscle to the ruler. Oil was discovered in 1929 becoming the basis of a century of development. The whole of Borneo was occupied by Japan during WWII. The British had anticipated this, but the war in Europe meant they didn't have resources to do anything about it. The Japanese surrendered in 1945. Brunei gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. Brunei is an absolute Hereditary Monarchy (one of six left). It has a parliament, but the last elections were held in 1962 and the Sultan has full executive authority.
Sultan of Brunei