Map of SarawakFlag of Sarawak (Crown Colony)


















Historians have scant knowledge about Borneo's early history, a certain fact though is the presence of modern man in Sarawak some 40.000 years ago (discovery of a Homo Sapiens skull at the Niah Caves), but most of today's indigenous populations belong to the same Austronesian groups, brought by maritime migratory waves in the last 5.000 or so years, who have settled along the Malayan peninsula, the Indonesian, Philippine, Micronesian and Polynesian archipelagos, and as far as Madagascar to the west and Easter Island to the east. Archeological finds and trade records from the Indian and Chinese empires prove that during the last millennium there was a thriving barter trade of manufactured goods and exotic jungle produce between these two empires and the island of Borneo.

By the 14th century, Islam, introduced by Muslim traders, had gained a foothold in the coastal areas of Borneo and by the 16th century the Malay sultanate of Brunei would control most of the island's coasts, but its power would wane slowly with the rise of other sultanates and the arrival of Dutch in the south and British adventurers in the north.


In 1839, Sarawak, then a dependency of the Brunei sultanate, was in rebellion against the central power, when arrived on the scene, looking for commercial ventures with his well armed schooner, a young British adventurer by the name of James Brooke who would soon find himself involved in the local disputes. The young Brooke assisted the Sultan's representative and brought peace to the area, for which he was rewarded in 1841 with the title of Rajah of Sarawak. So started the epic saga of the White Rajahs, paternalistic despots who reigned for a century over the destinies of Sarawak's peoples, introducing along the way profound and permanent changes to their lifestyles.


From 1841 to 1868, the 1st Rajah, James Brooke, organised his administration, trying to expand his territory, to pacify the many warring tribes and to stamp out the practices of head hunting and piracy. The 2nd Rajah, Charles Brooke (1868-1917), continued his predecessor's work and expanded Sarawak's territory to about its present size. The 3rd Rajah, Vyner Brooke (1917-1946), witnessed Sarawak's transition into the modern era and the wrenching changes caused by the Japanese occupation (1941-1945). Unable to face the cost of re-building after the occupation, the Brookes ceded Sarawak in 1946 to the British Crown, becoming a Crown Colony until 1963, when she joined the newly formed Federation of Malaysia.



Capital:                      Kuching

Government:              British crown colony

Area:                         124.450 km˛

Population:                 744.529 (June 1957)

Currency:                   Sarawak dollar (100 cents) until 1953; Malaya and British Borneo Dollar (100 cents)






Sarawak in Wikipedia.

Flag of Sarawak as Crown Colony in Flags of the World.




Stamp catalogue


UPU 75th anniversary

date:                  10 October 1949

designer:            -

printer:               Waterlow & Sons, London (1 and 4), Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., New Malden (2 and 3)

perforated:         13˝:14 (1 and 4), 11:11˝ (2 and 3)


1     8 CENTS       Hermes, globe, letter, airplane, boat, train, text "UNIVERSAL / POSTAL UNION / 1874 1949"


                          (cat. Michel 167/SG 167/Yvert 168)


Sarawak - stamp as described above


2     15 c             hemispheres, airplane, steamer, text "1874 / UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION / 1949"


                          (cat. Michel 168/SG 168/Yvert 169)


Sarawak - stamp as described above


3     25 c             Hermes scattering letters over globe, text "UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION / 1874 / 1949"


                          (cat. Michel 169/SG 169/Yvert 170)


Sarawak - stamp as described above


4     50 c             UPU monument, Berne, text "UNIVERSAL / POSTAL / UNION / 1874 / 1949" and "UNION

                          POSTALE UNIVERSELLE"


                          (cat. Michel 170/SG 170/Yvert 171)


Sarawak - stamp as described above



Freedom from Hunger Campaign

date:                  4 June 1963

designer:            Michael Goaman

printer:               Harrison & Sons, London

perforated:         14˝


5     12 cts          collection of 'protein foods', text "FREEDOM FROM HUNGER"


                          (cat. Michel 203/SG 203/Yvert 204)


Sarawak - stamp as described above









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last revised: 22 September 2008