The written notes from the archive and museum, suggests Sabah or North Borneo has a relatively short history. The earliest of history began during the 16th century, recognised that North Borneo belongs to the Brunei Sultanate.
In 1658 the Sultan of Brunei ceded the north-east portion of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu for the latter’s part in helping to settle a civil war in the Brunei.
In 1761 the British East India Company got the right from the Sultan of Sulu to set up trading post in the northern region of North Borneo. A settlement and military station was built around Pulau Balambangan north of Kudat, but the exercise proved to be a failure.
In 1865 a 10-year lease over the West coast of North Borneo was obtained by the American Consul of Brunei, Claude Lee Moses. The ownership was then passed to an American trading company owned by J.W. Torry, T.B Harris and some Chinese merchants. A base and settlement was set up in Kimanis, because of financial reasons this too was a failure. Harris’ grave can still be located in the region.
Later the rights was sold to Baron Von Overbeck, then the Austrian Consul in Hong Kong, and he obtained another 10-year lease from the Sultanate of Brunei.
Next the rights of the trading company was pass to Alfred Dent whom in 1881 formed the British North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd.
In 1882, the British North Borneo Company was formed and Kudat was made its capital.
In 1883 through the contact of the Basel Church from southern China, a large number of Hakkas came to Kudat. Clearing forests for coconut plantations and small vegetable farms was the main undertaking of the Hakkas.
In 1884 The North Borneo Company eventually moved its capital to Sandakan on the east coast of Sabah, because of constant pirate raids and a very severe drought at Kudat.
In 1888 North Borneo became a protectorate of Great Britain. Despite being a protectorate of Great Britain, the administration and control over North Borneo remained in the hands of the North Borneo Company.
From 1894 to 1900, the Suluk-Bajau leader Mat Salleh staged a rebellion against the North Borneo Company. Mat Salleh was eventually killed in Tambunan, so the rebellion ended.
1900 – 1963
In 1915 there was another rather short up rising against the North Borneo Company, the Rundum resistance was led by the Murut poeple.
In 1942 the ruled under the North Borneo Company come to an end, when the Japanese forces invaded North Borneo. During the Second World War the Japanese forces ruled North Borneo with an iron fist from 1942 to 1945.
After the Second World War ended, North Borneo was administered by the British Military Administration and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony. Sandakan was completed destroy during the Second World War, so a new capital, Jesselton, was chosen. The Crown continued to rule North Borneo until 1963.
On September 16, 1963, North Borneo together with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore formed the Federation of Malaysia. North Borneo was renamed Sabah, and gained it’s independent from the British Crown. A 20-point agreement was entered between the federal and the state government to safeguard the interest of Sabah.