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Obverse of 1977 Brunei £10 Silver Proof Crown
Obverse of 1977 Brunei £10 Silver Proof Crown

Reverse of 1977 Brunei £10 Silver Proof Crown
Reverse of 1977 Brunei £10 Silver Proof Crown

A Brief History of Brunei

Pre-Colonial History
Having converted to Islam in the 15th Century due to the influence of Malaccan Merchants, Brunei was once an Empire in its own right, with territories on mainland Malaysia and in the Phillipines. However, the Empire went into decline from the 16th Century onwards as technologically superior European Empires arrived on the scene. The Spanish ejected the Brunei from Manila in the Phillipines in 1571. The Spanish even captured Brunei itself in 1578 before withdrawing 72 days later due to crippling losses through disease. Despite this, The Bruneian Empire continued to decline as Bruneiís traditional trading network was supplanted by rival European Empires. Internal strife also played a part in Bruneiís malaise, which continued until 1888, when the Sultan of Brunei consented to allowing the Sultanate to become a British protectorate.

20th Century History
The beginnings of Bruneiís vast oil wealth occurred in 1929 when oil was discovered in Padang Beraw. Brunei was occupied by the Japanese from December 1941 to September 1945, and its oil resources exploited to fuel the oil-starved Japanese Empire. Following the Japanese surrender in September 1945, the British reoccupied Brunei. As many of Britainís other colonies and protectorates moved towards independence in the late 1950s, it was suggested that Brunei should join the new Federation of Malaysia along with Malaysia and Singapore. However, in 1962, a revolt by the militant left-wing Bruneiís People Party broke out, which was sponsored by neighbouring Indonesia. Although the revolt was eventually crushed by 1966 with the help of the UK, Singapore and Malaysia, Brunei subsequently decided not to join with the Malaysian Federation, opting instead to remain a British protectorate until 1984.

Upon becoming a fully sovereign nation state in 1984, Britain maintained a garrison composed largely of Ghurkhas at the request of the Sultan in order to ensure internal stability and to deter future Indonesian aggression. Due to Bruneiís vast oil wealth, Bruneiís citizens generally enjoy a high standard of living with access to free education and healthcare along with other benefits. However, its economy is largely petroleum based, and is therefore sensitive to changes in oil prices.

Bruneian Coins
Cowrie shells were the earliest form of currency known to circulate in Brunei. As a merchant trading Empire, currencies of surrounding nations often circulated as currency in Brunei, including Chinese and Indian coins. Small tin coins, known as pitis were also used in local trade.
The extensive use of Spanish Dollars in the area led to the eventual adoption of a dollar system of currency in Brunei. The Straits Dollar, introduced in 1904, was used throughout the Straights Settlements (including Brunei) until 1939, when it was replaced by the Malyan Dollar or Ringett. From 1953 until 1967, the Malya and British Borneo Dollar was used until it too was replaced by Bruneiís current unit of currency, the Brunei Dollar.
All coin denominations of the Brunei Dollar are in sens (cents) and consist of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen. In the current (4) series, issued since 1993, the 1 sen coin is issued in copper-plated zinc, whilst the other denominations are struck in cupro-nickel.

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Bruneian Coins

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