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Sabah(sä`bä), state (1991 pop. 1,736,902), 28,417 sq mi (73,600 sq km), Malaysia, N Borneo, on the South China and Sulu seas. It is bordered on the south by Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). The capital is Kota KinabaluKota Kinabalu
, formerly Jesselton,
town (1991 pop. 160,122), capital of Sabah, Malaysia, in N Borneo and on a small inlet of the South China Sea. It is the chief port and the financial and industrial center of the state .
..... Click the link for more information. ; other significant towns are SandakanSandakan
, city (1991 pop. 157,180), Sabah, Malaysia, on N Borneo, on Sandakan Harbor, an inlet of the Sulu Sea. It is the trade hub for an agricultural and lumbering region.
..... Click the link for more information. and Victoria. The terrain is densely forested and mountainous; Mt. Kinabalu, Malaysia's highest peak, is 13,455 ft (4,101 m) high. Forest products, petroleum, rubber, and copra are exported. A majority of the indigenous tribes are Roman Catholic.
Formerly called North Borneo or British North Borneo, the region was ruled by Brunei but was ceded to the Sultanate of Sulu (see Sulu ArchipelagoSulu Archipelago
, island group, 1,086 sq mi (2,813 sq km), the Philippines, SW of Mindanao. Lying between the Celebes and Sulu seas, it includes over 900 volcanic islands and coral islets extending almost to Borneo. Basilan is the largest island, Jolo the most important.
..... Click the link for more information. ) in the mid-17th cent. Leased by the British North Borneo Company in 1878, the area became a British protectorate in 1882. In 1963 it joined the Federation of Malaysia and assumed its present name. The Philippines have also claimed Sabah, based on Sulu's objection (as a breach of the lease) to the transfer of the territory to Malaysia. Filipino supporters of one of the sultan of Sulu claimants occupied locations in E Sabah beginning in Feb., 2013, leading to fighting with Malaysian security forces.
a state in Malaysia, in the northern part of the island of Kalimantan; borders on Indonesia. Area, 76,100 sq km. Population, 655,300 (1970). The capital is Kota Kinabalu (population, 42,000), and the chief port is Sandakan.
Most of Sabah is mountainous; Mount Kinabalu, with an elevation of 4,101 m, is the highest point on Kalimantan. Moist subequatorial forests are the dominant vegetation. The population is concentrated in the coastal regions and river valleys.
Agriculture is the primary economic activity. Large capitalist plantations, chiefly British, and small farms, chiefly Chinese, exist side by side with a patriarchal-communal form of agriculture; slash-and-burn farming still persists. Basic crops occupy 3.4 percent of Sabah’s total area. Rubber-bearing plants cover 106,000 hectares, including 33,000 ha on plantations, and coconut palms cover 53,000 ha. Oil palms, cacao, coffee, and abaca are also raised. The main food crop is rice (43,000 ha). Fishing produces an annual yield of 35,000 tons. Since the 1960’s, logging, carried on by Japanese and other foreign companies, has acquired considerable importance. Sabah also has sawmills and enterprises for the primary processing of agricultural products.
Sabah has 154 km of railroads (1969) and 2,737 km of vehicular roads, including 496 km of paved roads. Sandakan, Tawao, Kota Kinabalu, and Labuan are seaports. Sabah exports rubber, timber, coconut oil, palm oil, and fish. It also has tourism.
F. A. TRINICH
Until the mid-19th century, the territory of Sabah belonged to the sultans of Brunei and Sulu. In 1877 and 1878, it was “acquired” by Overbeck, the Austro-Hungarian consul in Hong Kong, and by the British trader Dent. All rights to the territory of Sabah—called North Borneo—subsequently passed to a British trade syndicate, which in 1881 was chartered as the British North Borneo (Chartered) Company and proceeded to govern the territory. In 1888, North Borneo became a British protectorate; in 1946, it became a colony.
In 1963, North Borneo was included in the Federation of Malaysia as the state of Sabah. In 1961 the Philippines advanced claims to part of Sabah.