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In the face of these invasions by European Christian powers, the Ottoman Caliphate aided the beleaguered Southeast Asian Sultanates by making Aceh a protectorate and sending expeditions to reinforce, train and equip the local mujahideen.Spain declared war in 1578, planning to attack and capture Kota Batu, Brunei's capital at the time.According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP.
Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
Brunei briefly rose to prominence in Southeast Asia when the Portuguese occupied Malacca and thereby forced the wealthy and powerful but displaced Muslim refugees there to relocate to nearby Sultanates such as Aceh and Brunei.
However, European influence gradually brought an end to the regional power, as Brunei entered a period of decline compounded by internal strife over royal succession.
Nevertheless, by the 16th century, Islam was firmly rooted in Brunei, and the country had built one of its biggest mosques.
In 1578, Alonso Beltrán, a Spanish traveller, described it as being five stories tall and built on the water.
Brunei's dominance in the Philippines was also challenged by two Indianized kingdoms, the Rajahanates of Cebu and Butuan which were also coincidentally allied with Kutai and were also at war with Brunei's dependencies; Sulu and Manila as well as their mutual ally, the Sultanate of Maguindanao.