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Brooke the Adventurer
James Brooke was convinced that his destiny was bound up with the islands of the Far East. He set himself reading as many books as he could find on navigation and the islands of the East Indies.
At last he made up his mind. He wanted to go to Malludu Bay which was on the northeastern tip of Borneo. It could be today’s Marudu Bay. He would then attempt a journey into the interior to the mysterious Lake Kini Ballu where the great rivers of Borneo were thought to have their source. It could be the present day Mount Kinabalu.
He hoped to meet the indigenous people of Borneo, known as the Dyaks and compare them to the inhabitants of the more well-known islands of Bali and Lombok.
The Royalist set sail from Devonport, England on 16 December 1838. Using the route of going round Cape Town, Brooke arrived in Singapore in May 1839.
In Singapore, he heard of Pangiran Raja Muda Hashim of Sarawak who had recently shown kind treatment to some English shipwrecked sailors. He gave them clothes and gifts, and sent them back to Singapore in safety.
Brooke was commissioned by the Governor of Singapore and the Singapore Chamber of Commerce to convey letters of thanks and presents to Hashim in acknowledgment of his kindness. Brooke also found out that the antimony ore being unloaded at the Singapore port came from Sarawak. He learned, too, that Hashim was fighting some rebels in the interior. Now he was on fire to enter Sarawak and meet him.
The journey to Malludu Bay was thus abandoned. If there had been no shipwreck, if there had been no fighting in the interior, and if he had not seen a Chinese ship loaded with antimony ore at the Singapore port, Brooke might have gone on to Malludu Bay and created another history. It was because of these incidents that Brooke, the adventurer journeyed to Sarawak and created our present history.