1 Jul: The Last White Rajah

The British Empire gained a new colony on 1st July, 1946 – the kingdom of Sarawak. For over 100 years, it had been ruled as the personal fiefdom of a Devonshire family: the ‘White Rajahs’.

‘Adventurer’ James Brooke had taken the territory in 1838, and then established a male, hierarchical, absolute monarchy in the country. His (increasingly eccentric) descendants enlarged the size of the country, but often spent more time in the UK than in their own nation.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly recall the investigation of whether Brooke was excessively brutal towards the native people; consider whether he really was shot in his nethers, as has often been reported; and reveal the curious reason why his son refused to allow his children to eat jam… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The last of the White Rajahs: The extraordinary story of the Victorian adventurer who subjugated a vast swathe of Borneo’ (Mail Online, 2011): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1367066/The-White-Rajahs-The-extraordinary-story-Victorian-adventurer-subjugated-vast-swathe-Borneo.html

• ‘The Sultan who owes his throne to a gay Englishman – by erinambersmith’ (Medium, ): https://medium.com/@erinambersmith/the-sultan-who-owes-his-throne-to-a-gay-englishman-171c85cad059

• ‘Rajah Muda Anthony Brooke of Sarawak’ (interview, circa 2009):