Although the Spanish touched the region in the 16th cent., it was not until Alexander Dalrymple's expedition of 1759 that it was connected to the outside world. The East India Company opened several settlements and, in 1846, Labuan was occupied as a crown colony. In 1877 the British North Borneo Company began to establish a government. The Japanese invasion of 1941–2 eventually led to crown colony status in 1946. Representative government and membership of the Malaysian Federation followed in 1963.
Subjects: British History.