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James Brooke (1803-1868) was awarded the title of Rajah of Sarawak after he successfully ended a rebellion in the region on behalf of the sultan of Brunei. This European dynasty was to rule Sarawak for a hundred years. When Brooke died in 1868 he had brought prosperity to the area and greatly reduced piracy and headhunting. The second Rajah, Charles Johnson (1829-1936) was the nephew of James Booke and later adopted the Brooke family name, ruling the territory until 1917.
Charles married Margaret de Windt in 1869, and she remained with him in Sarawak until 1882 when ill health forced her to return to London. Under the rule of the second Rajah and his wife, the economy and administrative structure were improved, slavery was abolished, agricultural output was increased and Kuching largely rebuilt. Sarawak became a British Protectorate in 1888 and oil was discovered in the early years of the 20th century. Charles Vyner Brooke (1874-1963) succeeded his father in 1917, but following the Second World War, could not afford the cost of rebuilding after the Japanese invasion and finally ceded Sarawak to Great Britain on July 1, 1946.