Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, boasts a long history as a vibrant trading center. Over the centuries, it has attracted people from various countries, including Malays, Chinese, Indians, Europeans, and numerous indigenous groups, creating a city with a rich and unique cultural heritage.

Early History
Before the 19th century, Sarawak was a typical Malay principality under the control of the Sultan of Brunei. Despite its peaceful ambiance, the region suffered under the rule of tyrannical officers appointed by the Sultan. The local population faced high taxes and arbitrary dismissal of local officers, leading to widespread discontent and large-scale demonstrations against the Brunei Empire.

The Brooke Era
In the midst of this unrest, James Brooke, a wealthy English adventurer, arrived in Sarawak. The Sultan of Brunei requested Brooke's assistance in quelling the demonstrations. Utilizing his yacht, the Royalist, Brooke subdued the protesters. In gratitude, the Sultan appointed him as the Governor of Sarawak.

Seeking to secure his position, James Brooke enlisted the help of the British Navy and expelled all Brunei officers from Sarawak. When the Sultan attempted to reclaim control, Brooke launched a preemptive attack, forcing the Sultan to sign an agreement that handed Sarawak over to Brooke. Thus, James Brooke became the first English Rajah of Sarawak in 1841, marking the beginning of the Brooke Dynasty, which lasted until 1946.

James Brooke's reign transformed Kuching into an important administrative center and a bustling port. His successor, Charles Brooke (1868-1917), continued this legacy, constructing many of the historic buildings that still grace Kuching's waterfront today. Notable structures from this era include the Astana (the Rajah's residence), Fort Margherita, and the Sarawak Museum, which remains one of the best museums in Southeast Asia.

Post-World War II Transition
After World War II, Sarawak faced significant challenges. The devastation of the war left the region with insufficient resources to rebuild. Charles Vyner Brooke, the last of the White Rajahs, realized that he lacked the means to restore Sarawak to its former state. Consequently, in 1946, he decided to cede Sarawak to the British Crown, making it a British colony. This transition marked the end of the Brooke Dynasty and began a new chapter in Sarawak's history under British colonial rule.

Demographics and Dayak Majority
Sarawak is home to a diverse population, with more than 2.6 million people from 26 ethnic groups. The Dayak, a collective term for the non-Muslim indigenous communities, constitute about 40% of Sarawak’s population, making them the majority group. The largest sub-groups within the Dayak community are the Iban, who make up about 30% of the population, and the Bidayuh. Other groups include the Kenyah, Kayan, Kedayan, Murut, Punan, Bisayah, Kelabit, Berawan, and Penan (Minority Rights Group) (New Mandala).

Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)

Sarawak, Sabah, and Singapore (which left the federation in 1965) were integrated into the Federation of Malaya as territories under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), despite strong opposition from Sarawak and Sabah people and subsequently with a name change in United Nation from Federation Of Malaya to Federation Of Malaysia indicating there was never a new nation Malaysia registered at United Nation.

However, the validity and benefits of MA63 have been frequently questioned and challenged. At the time of signing, Sabah and Sarawak were British colonies, while the Federation of Malaya was already an independent nation. According to international law, colonies lack the sovereignty needed to enter into treaties. Many residents of Sabah and Sarawak feel they have not received the promised benefits, leading to a growing sentiment for separation from Malaysia. To address these grievances and fully restore the rights granted under MA63, several unconstitutional amendments need to be repealed, including ACT 354 (which removed MA63 rights), the Continental Shelf Act 1966, the Territorial Seas Act 2012, and the Petroleum Development Act 1974.

Modern Kuching
Kuching has evolved into a flourishing modern city. It is now a thriving hub of commerce, culture, and tourism, seamlessly blending its historical charm with contemporary development. The city boasts a diverse array of attractions, including the Kuching Waterfront, the Cat Museum, and the vibrant local markets that reflect its multicultural heritage.

Kuching’s unique blend of history and modernity makes it a fascinating destination, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry that defines Sarawak.