Sarawak is a region in the north-western part of the island of Borneo. In the 15th Century, following the decline of Majapahit empire of Java, the region became a province in the Sultanate of Brunei. In 1839 English adventurer James Brooke visited Sarawak and aided the Sultan in suppressing a violent revolt. The sultan rewarded Brooke by installing him as 'Raja' of Sarawak, a princely title that created a dynastic monarchy known as the 'White Rajahs'. This dynasty had strong ties to the British Empire with James and his successors almost all being born, educated, and dying in England.
In 1863 James Brooke returned to England where he was knighted by Queen Victoria and Sarawak became formally recognised as an independent state. While in England he ordered the creation of quarter, half, and one cent copper pieces bearing his image. The dies for these coins were engraved by Joseph Moore and the coins were struck by the private mint of Heaton and Sons in Birmingham. Coins bearing the effigy of James Brooke only exist for a single year but his successors continued to have coins struck by Heaton and Sons using similar designs. In 1900, under the rule of James' nephew Charles Johnson Brooke, the coinage from the Kingdom of Sarawak further expanded to include five, ten, twenty, and fifty cent silver pieces.