Collecting localities



Biographical data


Brooke, Sir James


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)


Born: 1803, Benares on the Ganges (after Jacob, Encyclop. N.I., and Backer) or Coombe Grove near Bath (after Low and Beccari). Died: 1868, Burator, Devonshire, England.



Was sent to England when 12 years old; he joined the Bengal army and made several voyages. In Nov. 1838 he sailed in the yacht ‘Royalist’ as owner and commander to Singapore and subsequently to Sarawak, for the establishment of a commercial enterprise and of English authority. He assisted in suppressing a revolt (1840) against the sultan of Brunei who declared him Rajah and Governor of Sarawak on Sept. 24, 1841, though at first the sultan seemed reluctant to keep his promise. In July 1847 he went on furlough to England and was appointed Governor of Labuan and Consul General of Borneo in the same year.

He founded an orderly and drastic government; in 1863 he returned to England for good.

Brookea Benth. and Nepenthes rajah Hook. were named after him.


Collecting localities:1















In Nov. 1838 in the ‘Royalist’ via Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope and Anjer (W. Java), arriving at Singapore in the last week of May or on June 1 (the data don’t agree), 1839; July 27 sailing for the NW. coast of Borneo, which was reached on the 30th; isl. Talang Talang (Aug. 6); Sarawak, exploration of the rivers (Aug. 12-Sept. 8), e.g. between the River Lundu and Santubong (Aug. 15); Sadong River; return voyage to Singapore (Oct. 3).-Nov. 20 sailing in the ‘Royalist’ to SW. Celebes: Bantimurung Falls, environs of Bonthain, Senua, Lengang (Dec. 20) and Loka(r) (21), ascent of the Lompobatang (= G. Bonthain) (summit reached on the 22nd), Bonthain, Boela Komba (= Boeloekoemba) (26), Tandjong Berak (28) and along the coast of the Gulf of Boni (= Bone) : isl. Balunrueh (= Baloenroe) (31), to So(e)ngi(e) (Jan. 1, 1840), Meru, Tonjong Palette, bay of Penekè (25), Chinrana (= Tjenrana) River, excursion in Wajo, Lake Tempé and Lake Taparkerajah, Boni (March 27), Latonro River, hill of Mampo (Apr. 3), Luwu (Palopo) (12-15), Minkoka country (SE. Celebes); May 4 off Salaya, Bonthain (May 5, road), via Semarang to Singapore (27).-In Aug. 1840 2nd visit to Sarawak: arriving on the 29th; visits to the interior, e.g. excursion up the Sadong River.-1841. In April to Sarawak again.-1842. E.g. Mt Toebang (cave) (Apr.); visit to Borneo proper, Brunei (July 14-Aug. 5); excursions up the river, Mt Sarambo.-1843. Via the Anambas Islands (Febr.) to Singapore; making the acquaintance of Capt. Keppel who offered to bring the ‘Dido’ to the coast of Borneo for the extirpation of piracy; in May back in Sarawak again; Mt Sarambo (May), Sereboes River.-1844. Early in Jan. leaving Sarawak on account of ill health; Singapore, where he volunteered accompanying an expedition to Acheen (= Atjeh), N. Sumatra, in the brig ‘Wanderer’; in May back in Sarawak again.-1845. Sinjawang (Jan. 31), Toendoeng and Rahat (Febr. 1), Nawang Valley (2), Rahat (3), Sarawak (4); Febr. 21 setting out for Brunei (28); Labuan (March); Singapore; Brunei (May); Marudu Bay (Aug. 17-20); Balambangan (23-24) and via Brunei, back to Sarawak (beginning of Sept.); visiting various Dyak tribes and returning the 19th.-1846. In June leaving for Brunei.-1848. Embarking at Spithead (Jan. 24); Singapore (May 22); Aug. 29 via Sarawak (Kuching, Sept. 3-24), to Labuan (Sept. 29); visit to Br. N. Borneo (end of Nov.); at the end of Dec. sailing for the Philippines, the So(e)lo(e) Islands, e.g. visiting Basilan (Samboangan = Mindanao).-1849. Jan. 14 leaving the So(e)lo(e) Islands; back at Labuan (28); Sarawak (end of May), leaving (July 24) and arriving off Batang Lupar, e.g. ascent of the Serebas River and the Paku branch, up the Rejang etc.; quitting the Rejang River (Aug. 22) and back at Sarawak (24).-1850. Singapore (June 15); Sarawak (Oct. 28); Kuching (Nov. 6), Leda Tannah (9), Bow, Tudong, Leda Tannah; Labuan (Dec.).-1851. Departure from Sarawak (Jan. 18) to Europe via Singapore (Febr. 8) and Penang (9).-1853. Back to Sarawak, arriving at Singapore on May 14.



Herb. Kew [K]: from Sarawak (acq. 1853-55). It is not known whether he made bota­nical collections in Celebes.



(1) H. Keppel: ‘The expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido for suppression ofpiracy. With extracts from the Journal of J. Brooke of Sarawak’ (London 1846, 2nd ed., 2 vols). Dutch transl., Amsterdam 1846.

R. Mundy: ‘Narrative of events in Borneo and Celebes, down to occupation of Labuan from the journals of James Brooke, with a narrative of the operations of H.M.S. Iris’ (London 1848, 2nd ed., 2 vols, w. pl. & maps).

H. Keppel: ‘A visit to the Indian Archipelago in H.M.S. Maeander, with portions of the private journal of Sir James Brooke, K.C.B. (London 1853, 2 vols).


biographical data:

In H. Low: ‘Sarawak etc.’ (London 1848), Introduction; ‘The private letters of Sir J. Brooke ed. by J.C. Templer (London 1853); Steyn Parvé: ‘De handelingen van Sir J. Brooke op Borneo’ (Haarlem 1859); G.L. Jacob: ‘The Raja of Sarawak. Account of Sir J. Brooke through letters and journals’ (London 1876, 2 vols, w. portr.); Sp. St John: ‘The life of Sir J. Brooke’ (Edinburgh and London 1879); Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936.