The constitutional sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, which has been ruled over by the same family for six centuries, is located in southeast Asia along the South China Sea. After a period of regional influence between the 15th and 17th centuries, the country's status in the area declined in response to infighting, European imperialism, and piracy. Between 1888 and 1984, Brunei was a British protectorate. After achieving independence, Brunei continued to amass wealth from petroleum and natural gas deposits and from extensive overseas interests. By 2009, per capita income reached an estimated $50,100, making Brunei the ninth richest country in the world. Brunei ranks 30th among the United Nation's Development Programme's list of countries with very high human development.

Today, three-fourths of Bruneians live in urban areas. ...

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