Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak

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Charles Brooke
Rajah of Sarawak
Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak.jpg
Rajah of Sarawak
Reign 3 August 1868 – 17 May 1917
Predecessor James of Sarawak
Successor Vyner of Sarawak
Born (1829-07-03)3 July 1829
Died 17 May 1917(1917-05-17) (aged 87)
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England[1]
Burial St Leonard's Church, Sheepstor on Dartmoor
Spouse Margaret of Sarawak
Issue Vyner of Sarawak and others
Full name
Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke
House Brooke Dynasty
Father Rev. Francis Johnson
Mother Emma Johnson
Rajah Charles as depicted on a one cent coin

Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, GCMG (Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke; 3 June 1829 – 17 May 1917), born Charles Anthoni Johnson, ruled as the head of state of Sarawak from 3 August 1868 until his death. He succeeded his uncle, James Brooke,[2] as the second White Rajah of this small country on the coast of Borneo.


Charles was born in Berrow Vicarage, Burnham, Somerset, in England, to the Rev. Francis Charles and Emma Frances Johnson. Emma Frances Johnson, née Brooke, was the younger sister of James Brooke, the first Rajah of Sarawak; in addition to Charles, Francis and Emma had other children: Captain John Brooke Johnson (1823–1868) (later Brooke Brooke), Mary Anna Johnson (b. 1824), Harriet Helena Johnson (b. 1826), Charlotte Frances Johnson (b. 1828), Captain (William) Frederic Johnson (b. 1830), Emma Lucy Johnson (b. 1832), Margaret Henrietta Johnson (1834–1845), Georgianna Brooke Johnson (1836–1854), James Stuart Johnson (1839–1840), and Henry Stuart Johnson (b. 1841).

Charles was educated at Crewkerne Grammar School and entered the Royal Navy, he adopted his uncle James's name and entered his service in 1852 as Resident at the Lundu station. In 1865, James named Charles as his successor.

Charles married Margaret Alice Lili de Windt at Highworth, Wiltshire on 28 October 1869; she was raised to the title of Ranee of Sarawak with the style of Her Highness on the same day. They had six children, three of whom survived infancy:

  • Dayang Ghita Brooke (1870–1873)
  • James Harry Brooke (1872–1873)
  • Charles Clayton Brooke (1872–1873)
  • Vyner of Sarawak (1874–1963)
  • Bertram, Tuan Muda (1876–1965)
  • Henry Keppel Brooke, Tuan Bongsu (1879–1926)[2]

However, Charles also had another son, Esca Brooke (1867–1953), born before his children with Margaret de Windt, the result of a marriage with a Malay woman known as Dayang Mastiah. Esca was later adopted by Rev. William Daykin, moved to Canada, and adopted the name Brooke-Daykin.[3]

Charles resigned his commission in the Royal Navy in 1861[1] and continued the work his uncle had started, suppressing piracy, slavery, and head-hunting,[1] while encouraging trade and development and expanding his borders as the opportunity arose. In 1891 he established the Sarawak Museum, the first museum in Borneo. Brooke founded a boys' school in 1903, called the 'Government Lay School', where Malays could be taught in the Malay language, this was the forerunner of SMK Green Road.[4] By the time of his death, Britain had granted Sarawak protectorate status, it had a parliamentary government and a railway, and oil had been discovered.

All three White Rajahs are buried in St Leonard's Church in the village of Sheepstor on Dartmoor.


British Honours

At least one Bornean species was named in Brooke's honour:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Obituaries -- Sir Charles Brooke". The Sun. New York, NY. 18 May 1917. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Sir Charles Anthony Johnson-Brooke. The Peerage
  3. ^ 'The White Rajahs of Sarawak - Dynastic Intrigue and the Forgotten Canadian Heir' by historian Cassandra Pybus, 1996, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver/Toronto, ISBN 1-55054-603-1
  4. ^ "Unknown". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 70 (2). 

Further reading[edit]

Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak
Brooke family
Born: June 3 1829 Died: May 17 1917
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajah of Sarawak
Succeeded by