Some of them are skilled workers of brass, and the Brunei women make very beautiful cloth, interwoven and embroidered with gold thread.
It has been suggested, but with very scant measure of probability, that the existence of elephants in Borneo, whose confinement to a single district is remarkable and unexplained, is due to importation; and the fact is on record that when Magellan's ships visited Brunei in 1522 tame elephants were in use at the court of the sultan of Brunei.
After Magellan's death, his comrades sailed from the Moluccas across the Celebes into the Sulu Sea, and were the first white men who are known to have visited Brunei on the north-west coast of Borneo, where they arrived in 1522.
A railway of indifferent construction runs along the west coast from Jesselton to Weston on Brunei Bay, with a branch along the banks of the Padas to Tenom above the rapids.
Thereafter the Spaniards maintained a fitful intercourse with Brunei, varied by not infrequent hostilities, and in 1645 a punitive expedition on a larger scale than heretofore was sent to chastise Brunei for persistent acts of piracy.
The golden age of Brunei was nevertheless at an end, and there is little more of importance to record.
Nowadays the political consequence of Brunei largely arises from the existence there of valuable seams of coal, leased to the Sarawak government.
The Molucca Islands being, at that time, the principal objective of European traders, and the route followed by - Magellan's ships being frequently used, Borneo was often touched at during the remainder of the 16th century, and trade relations with Brunei were successfully established by the Portuguese.
By 1841 he had obtained from the sultan of Brunei the grant of supreme authority over Sarawak, in which state, on the sultan's behalf, he had waged a successful war, and before many years had elapsed he had, with the aid of the British government, succeeded in suppressing piracy (see Brooke, Sir James; and Sarawak).
In March 1898 arrangements were made whereby the sultan of Brunei ceded to the company all his sovereign and territorial rights to the districts situated to the north of the Padas river which up to that time had been retained by him.