Brooke, James (1803-1868)

Brooke, Sir James, Rajah of Sarawak, was born at Benares, 29th April 1803, and educated at Norwich. He entered the East India army (1819), was seriously wounded in the Burmese war, and, quitting the service in 1830, conceived the idea of putting down piracy in the Eastern Archipelago. Having at his father's death (1835) inherited £30,000, he sailed in 1838 in a schooner-yacht from London for Sarawak, a province on the north-west coast of Borneo. When he arrived there (1839), for assistance given to the uncle of the sultan of Borneo against rebel tribes, he was by the sultan made Rajah of Sarawak (1841). Brooke instituted free trade, framed a new code of laws, declared the Dyak custom of head-hunting a capital crime, and vigorously set about the extirpation of piracy. Revisiting England in 1847, he was created K.C.B. ; and made governor of the island of Labuan, near Sarawak, which had been purchased by the British government. In 1857 Brooke, superseded in the governorship of Labuan, but still acting as Rajah of Sarawak, sustained successfully, with his native forces, a series of attacks by a large body of Chinese, who were irritated at his efforts to prevent opium-smuggling. The country prospered greatly under his regime. Brooke died at Burrator, in Devonshire, 11th June 1868, and was succeeded as Rajah by his nephew, Sir Charles Johnson Brooke (1829-1917). See Brooke's own Letters (1853), and Lives by Jacob (1876) and St John (1879).

References
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 136.

Are you looking for BROOKE ancestors? If so, we suggest posting a query to our Community Message Board to get assistance from other researchers.

<< Biographical Sketches Online

<< Life Stories Project

What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo