Kota Kinabalu City was
previously known as Deasoka, Singgah Mata, Api-Api, and Jesselton before the current name
which was officially changed in 1967, four years after gaining independence through
the largest indigenous group comprising about a third of Sabah's total population,
followed by the Bajaus and the Muruts. Other indigenous groups include the Rungus,
Lotuds, Idahans, Bruneis, Bisayas, Kadayans, Tidongs, Paitans, Tambanuos, Dumpas, Orang
Sabah (formerly North
Borneo) was ruled by the Chartered Company Administration from 1881-1946 (including the
Japanese occupation). Before this, there was no formal government machinery in North
Borneo. Sabah's first encounter with Western-style system of administration began in
1881 when the British granted a Royal Charter to the Chartered Company.
Just as the name
"Dusun" was an exonym (name given to a community but not used by the group
itself), "Murut" was a name given by the Brunei Malays and foreigners to people
who lived in the interior between what is today, Keningau and the borders of Sarawak and
Kalimantan. Today, both the Dusun and Murut are collectively referred to as the
"KadazanDusunMurut" (KDM) community.
The Suluks, an indigenous
population in Sabah, were originally from the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines.
They have already resided in Sabah since the 17th or 18th century. The Sultan of
Sulu used to be the ruler of the northern parts of Sabah. Today, the Suluks are
found mainly in the districts of Sandakan, Semporna and Lahad Datu.
Idahan is the original name
for the Kadazandusun (or simply Dusun at the time) people but is now applied only to the
small Muslim community living in and around Lahad Datu and Tungku, some of whom are the
bird's nest collectors at the Madai Caves. The Idahans also regard themselves as the
same ethnic group sharing the same language as the Orang Sungais, another indigenous race
The Bajaus of Sabah were
mentioned in the Sulu genealogies to be an immigrant people from Johore in West
Malaysia. It was deduced that the emigration of these boat dwellers began in the
early 14th century, before Islam was introduced by the Arabs to Borneo.