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Charles of Sarawak
H.H. The Rajah of Sarawak
Sir Charles Anthoni Johnson-Brooke, by Leslie Ward, 1899.
Reign August 3, 1868 – May 17, 1917
Full name Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke
Born 3 July 1829(1829-07-03)
Birthplace Burnham-on-Sea
Died 5 May 1917 (aged 88)
Place of death Gloucestershire, England
Buried St Leonard's Church, Sheepstor on Dartmoor
Predecessor James of Sarawak
Successor Vyner of Sarawak
Consort Margaret Brooke, The Ranee of Sarawak
Offspring Vyner of Sarawak and others
Royal House White Rajahs
Father Rev. Francis Johnson
Mother Emma Johnson

Charles, The Rajah of Sarawak, GCMG (Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke), (June 3, 1829 – May 17, 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[1], 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, the younger sister of Rajah Sir James Brooke. 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 28 October 1869. 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)
  • Harry Keppel Brooke, Tuan Bongsu (1879-1926) [1]
  • Evidence also exists (see Reece cited in references below) that Charles Brooke had another son, Esca Brooke, born of a liaison with a native Malay woman which was unrecognized in English law. Esca was later adopted by Rev. William Daykin and moved to Canada.

Charles continued the work his uncle had started, suppressing piracy, slavery, and head-hunting, 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. 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.



  1. ^ a b The Peerage
  • Ranee Margaret of Sarawak (2001). My Life in Sarawak. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-582663-9. 
  • R.H.W. Reece (1982). The Name of Brooke, the End of White Rajah Rule in Sarawak. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195804740 9780195804744. 
Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak
Brooke family
Born: June 3 1829 Died: May 17 1917
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rajah of Sarawak
Succeeded by


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