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National Day of Brunei Darussalam – February 23, 2023

The National Day of Brunei Darussalam is celebrated annually on February 23. This marks the day that Brunei became officially independent from British control on February 23, 1984. Though the Proclamation of Independence was made before that on January 1, 1984, Britain’s control over Brunei ceased on February 23, making it the official date of the country’s independence. On December 31, 1983, the country’s citizens geared up for the big day during mass gatherings in various mosques all over the country. Then, as the clock struck midnight on January 1, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah read the proclamation that declared Brunei’s independence.

History of National Day of Brunei Darussalam

At midnight on January 1, 1984, Sultan and Prime Minister of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, read out the historic Proclamation of Independence that freed Brunei as a protectorate of Britain. However, complete independence from Britain didn’t come until February 23, 1981.

British interference with Brunei can be traced to 1839 when James Brooke, a British adventurer, arrived in the territory to assist the Sultan in ending a rebellion in Sarawak. After he was rewarded with the position of governor and White Rajah of Sarawak, he attempted to claim the whole of Brunei, but this move was discouraged by the British. In 1846, Brunei Town was captured by the British, and in 1847, the Sultan signed a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with British powers. The country officially became a British protectorate in 1888.

The slow walk towards independence began on November 23, 1971, when a new agreement was signed. The agreement granted internal self-government to Brunei, as well as a shared responsibility with the British for defense and security. In 1979, another treaty was signed, allowing Brunei the freedom to take over its international affairs.

In May 1983, the British government finally declared a date for Brunei’s independence — January 1, 1984. On December 31, 1983, mass gatherings were held in mosques all over the country as people prepared for the much-anticipated event. Then, at midnight of January 1, 1984, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah read the historic proclamation, and Brunei became independent from the British.

National Day of Brunei Darussalam timeline

James Brooke

British adventurer, James Brooke, arrives in Brunei.

The Treaty of Friendship and Commerce

Sultan Saifuddin II signs the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce.

British Protectorate

Brunei becomes a British protectorate.


Brunei gains independence from Britain.

National Day of Brunei Darussalam FAQs

What language is spoken in Brunei?

Malay is the official language of Brunei, though English is also spoken.

What is the population of Brunei?

About 443,000 people are living in Brunei.

Who was the first Sultan of Brunei?

Muhammad Shah was the first Sultan of Brunei between 1363 and 1402.

How to Observe National Day of Brunei Darussalam

  1. Learn more about Brunei

    The world is now a global village and we can learn about new things at the click of a button. Expand your knowledge by doing online research about Brunei. You might be surprised about what you learn.

  2. Share the Bruneian flag

    Get in a celebratory spirit and download a picture of the Bruneian flag. Take one step further by sharing the photo and a nice caption with all your friends and family. Let everyone know that people on the other side of the world have a cause for celebration.

  3. Use the hashtag

    Let your posts reach a wider audience. Use the hashtag #bruneinationalday on all your social media platforms.

5 Important Facts About Brunei

  1. Brunei practices Islam

    Brunei is the most Islamic-observant nation in the whole of Southeast Asia.

  2. Citizens get freebies

    Citizens of Brunei are recipients of free education and medical services.

  3. Alcohol is illegal

    In Brunei, selling and publicly consuming alcohol is illegal.

  4. The Sultan wears many hats

    The Sultan of Brunei serves as the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Finance Minister of Brunei

  5. Brunei has a high literacy rate

    97.2% of the people in Brunei can read and write.

Why National Day of Brunei Darussalam is Important

  1. Independence and autonomy

    Who doesn’t love to be free? All humans have an innate desire for self-rule and independence. National Day of Brunei Darussalam is a special day that commemorates a nation’s freedom from foreign interference and control.

  2. Independence didn’t lead to war

    We love the peace that accompanied Brunei’s independence. Thankfully, independence didn’t have to be accompanied by war and strife. Rather, the transition came with ease and peace.

  3. The day fosters national unity and pride

    Almost every national day comes with a sense of pride and unity among the citizens of a nation. Though things may not be perfect, we’re reminded of all the reasons we love our country on a national holiday. This is the same for Bruneians.

National Day of Brunei Darussalam dates

2023February 23Thursday
2024February 23Friday
2025February 23Sunday
2026February 23Monday
2027February 23Tuesday

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