Rajah of Ambong & Marudu, Kimanis

Thursday, June 26, 2008
Author kaawai Category

Written by Arimi Sidek

Ellena was the first American territory in Borneo. It was situated in the Kimanis riverbank around sixty miles north of Labuan. Joseph W. Torrey was appointed "Supreme Ruler and Governor".

Ellena - US Colony in Borneo

The Sultan of Brunei had given him the title of Rajah of Ambong and Marudu.

Ellena - US Colony in Borneo


Elena of Kimanis Borneo 2, 1865 – 1881

The first treaty between the United States of America and Brunei was signed in 1850. It was materialized through negotiations between Capt. Joseph Balestier of the United State Navy, and the Sultan of Brunei of the time.

Among others, the treaty was to ensure freedom of trade between the two countries, the right for citizens of the United States to acquire property in Brunei, and a fair treatment of the citizens of the United States in Brunei.

From this year on, there was an ongoing plan back in the American business community in Hong Kong to establish a settlement (a colony, a trading post) in Borneo. The American consul, Claude Lee Moses, managed to secure concession right for the period of 10 years from the Sultan of Brunei.

Due to some reasons, Moses was seems to be in hurry to transfer his right to two American merchants in Hong Kong, Joseph W. Torrey and Thomas B. Harris, and two Chinese, Lee Assing and Pong Ampong. The settlement plan was implemented in November 1865 by the four, when the batch of pioneer settlers sailed off to Borneo.

Torrey was appointed "Supreme Ruler and Governor" of the ceded territory. Beside the grandeur title, the Sultan of Brunei had given him the title of Rajah of Ambong and Marudu.

The territory was situated somewhere in the Kimanis riverbank around sixty miles north of Labuan.

Torrey named the settlement as 'Ellena'. By the end of December, 1986, the population of Ellena numbered at around 60 people, consists of Chinese and Americans.

But as a new settlement, Ellena requires more capital in order to survive. Torrey understood this, as they only had $7,500.00 as a start-up capital. Therefore, it was necessary for him to go back to Hong Kong in order to get enough financial support from business community there.

Before he left, he had appointed his assistant, Joseph Wellright as the acting ruler of Ellena while, one George Elcock to serves as Wellright's assistant.

Source:

American Activity in North Borneo, 1865-1881 by K. G. Tregonning. The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 23, No. 4. (Nov., 1954), pp. 357-372.

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