Brunei’s early history dates as far back as the 5th and 7th century by Chinese historians. Used to be one of the most ancient sovereign states in Southeast Asia, Brunei has a rich Islamic heritage since its introduction by the first ruler of Brunei, also known as Awang Alak Betatar, who took on the name Sultan Muhammad Shah when he embraced Islam. Its practices are regularly observed by the people today as the country’s official religion.
Brunei is predominantly made up of Malays (65.8%), Chinese (10.2%), and indigenous tribes (23.9%). The Malay population is also divided into 7 ethnic groups: Melayu Brunei, Kedayan, Dusun, Tutong, Belait, Murut and Bisaya. Each ethnicity is characterised by distinct aspects of its culture and lifestyle, and possesses its own native language, customs and traditions.