Sabah History

In its early history, Sabah was ruled by a variety of tribal chieftains. During the 15th century, Sabah had trading relations with Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish merchants. During the 15th century, Sabah was obligated to the Sultan of Brunei. In 1704, the Sultan ceded part of the region and in the early 1880s an American trader obtained a lease over Sabah from Brunei. The lease eventually passed to an Englishman, Alfred Dent. In 1881, he signed a treaty with Brunei and Sulu, converting the lease into a cession.

From this arrangement, British North Borneo was created and was administered by the Chartered Company of British North Borneo until the Japanese occupation during WW11. When the Japanese surrendered, Sabah was placed under British military administration.

In 1946, the Chartered Company surrendered its rights to the British Government and British North Borneo became a British Crown Colony. In 1963, upon gaining independence from Britain, the state became known as Sabah and joined Malaysia.