Bianca M. Gerlich
I discovered the existence of the historical Sandokan. Until then, it was assumed that Sandokan was a fictional hero of Emilio Salgari. But in Sabah (Malaysia), many oral and also some written sources point to the existence of Sandokan in the 19th century. His name is passed down in different variations. See under "Research" (Sandokan).
I did not only deal with Italian literary studies, but also studied Austronesian Studies (Southeast Asian Studies) in order to get to know better the country, the culture, the languages and the history of the country from which Sandokan originated. So far I have traveled to Southeast Asia a total of twelve times and have even been able to interview the descendants of the historic Sandokan. During my research I came across Syarif Osman von Marudu, who fought against the British in 1845 and lost. Sandokan had been his friend and comrade in arms. The tiger flag waved over Marudu.
My theory is that Sandokan, the tiger flag and the island of Mompracem are symbols of the freedom struggle that Sandokan was waging against the European invaders and their native allies. So I try to find something out about Mompracem, the island that does not exist on current map material. Indeed, also Mompracem existed, but it was already called by a different name in the 19th century, namely Keraman / Kuraman. Syarif Osman, however, raised claims on the island of Labuan, in whose neighbourhood the island lies and to which it belongs today. So it could be that the tiger flag once waved on this island too. Unfortunately, very few written indigenous sources are available, and - unfortunately, it is also not known where Emilio Salgari obtained his knowledge from, a knowledge which was not published at the time of Salgari's first novel on Sandokan.
I wrote a doctoral thesis on Syarif Osman von Marudu, my book is sold out now. So unfortunately I can no longer offer it for sale here. In addition, I have written several scientific articles on Sandokan, Mompracem and Syarif Osman, some of which are available on the Internet or can be ordered online. I have also given lectures in the field of literary studies (Salgari, Sandokan) as well as in Southeast Asian studies (History of Sabah, Syarif Osman, Sandokan).
Since December 1999, this homepage has been pursuing the goal of providing information on the subject of "Sandokan" and making my findings available to a broader readership