Borneo (/ˈbɔːrnioʊ/; Malay: Pulau Borneo, Indonesian: Kalimantan) is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia.[note 1] At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.
The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak make up about 26% of the island. Additionally, the Malaysian federal territory of Labuan is situated on a small island just off the coast of Borneo. The sovereign state of Brunei, located on the north coast, comprises about 1% of Borneo's land area. A little more than half of the island is in the Northern Hemisphere including Brunei and the Malaysian portion, while the Indonesian portion spans both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Topography of Borneo
|Archipelago||Greater Sunda Islands|
|Area||743,330 km2 (287,000 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||4,095 m (13,435 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Kinabalu|
Brunei and Muara
|Largest settlement||Bandar Seri Begawan (pop. ~50,000)|
|Largest settlement||Samarinda (pop. 842,691)|
|States and FT||Sabah|
|Largest settlement||Kuching (pop. 617,886)|
|Pop. density||28.59 /km2 (74.05 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Malay: (Bajau, Banjar, Belait, Bruneian, Sarawak) |
Dayak: (Bidayuh, Iban, Kadazan-Dusun, Kayan, Kedayan, Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh, Melanau, Murut, Penan, Rungus)
Chinese: (Bruneian, Malaysian, Indonesian) etc.
The island is known by many names. Internationally it is known as Borneo, after Brunei, derived from European contact with the kingdom in the 16th century during the Age of Exploration. The name Brunei possibly derives from the Sanskrit word váruṇa (वरुण), meaning either "water" or Varuna, the Vedic god of rain. Indonesian natives called it Kalimantan, which was derived from the Sanskrit word Kalamanthana, meaning "burning weather island" (to describe its hot and humid tropical weather).
In earlier times, the island was known by other names. In 977, Chinese records began to use the term Bo-ni to refer to Borneo. In 1225, it was also mentioned by the Chinese official Chau Ju-Kua (趙汝适). The Javanese manuscript Nagarakretagama, written by Majapahit court poet Mpu Prapanca in 1365, mentioned the island as Nusa Tanjungnagara, which means the island of the Tanjungpura Kingdom.
Borneo is surrounded by the South China Sea to the north and northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea and the Makassar Strait to the east, and the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the south. To the west of Borneo are the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. To the south and east are islands of Indonesia: Java and Sulawesi, respectively. To the northeast are the Philippine Islands. With an area of 743,330 square kilometres (287,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest island in the world, and is the largest island of Asia (the largest continent). Its highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095 m (13,435 ft). Before sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age, Borneo was part of the mainland of Asia, forming, with Java and Sumatra, the upland regions of a peninsula that extended east from present day Indochina. The South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand now submerge the former low-lying areas of the peninsula. Deeper waters separating Borneo from neighbouring Sulawesi prevented a land connection to that island, creating the divide known as Wallace's Line between Asian and Australia-New Guinea biological regions.
The largest river system is the Kapuas in West Kalimantan, with a length of 1,000 km (620 mi). Other major rivers include the Mahakam in East Kalimantan (920 km long (570 mi)), the Barito in South Kalimantan (900 km long (560 mi)), Rajang in Sarawak (565 km long (351 mi)) and Kinabatangan in Sabah (560 km long (350 mi)). Borneo has significant cave systems. In Sarawak, the Clearwater Cave has one of the world's longest underground rivers while Deer Cave is home to over three million bats, with guano accumulated to over 100 metres (330 ft) deep. The Gomantong Caves in Sabah has been dubbed as the "Cockroach Cave" due to the presence of millions of cockroaches inside the cave. The Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak and Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst in East Kalimantan which particularly a karst areas contains thousands of smaller caves.
The Borneo rainforest is estimated to be around 140 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world. It is the centre of the evolution and distribution of many endemic species of plants and animals, and the rainforest is one of the few remaining natural habitats for the endangered Bornean orangutan. It is an important refuge for many endemic forest species, including the Borneo elephant, the eastern Sumatran rhinoceros, the Bornean clouded leopard, the hose's palm civet and the dayak fruit bat.
Peat swamp forests occupy the entire coastline of Borneo. The soil of the peat swamp are comparatively infertile, while it is known to be the home of various bird species such as the hook-billed bulbul, helmeted hornbill and rhinoceros hornbill. There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees (267 species are dipterocarps), 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds in Borneo. There are about 440 freshwater fish species in Borneo (about the same as Sumatra and Java combined). The Borneo river shark is known only from the Kinabatangan River. In 2010, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) stated that 123 species have been discovered in Borneo since the "Heart of Borneo" agreement was signed in 2007.
The island historically had extensive rainforest cover, but the area was reduced due to heavy logging by the Indonesian and Malaysian wood industry, especially with the large demands of raw materials from industrial countries along with the conversion of forest lands for large-scale agricultural purposes. Half of the annual global tropical timber acquisition comes from Borneo. Palm oil plantations have been widely developed and are rapidly encroaching on the last remnants of primary rainforest. Forest fires since 1997, started by the locals to clear the forests for plantations were exacerbated by an exceptionally dry El Niño season, worsening the annual shrinkage of the rainforest. During these fires, hotspots were visible on satellite images and the resulting haze frequently affected Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The haze could also reach southern Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines as evidenced on the 2015 Southeast Asian haze.
In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 (perhaps as old as 52,000) years old, of an unknown animal, in the cave of Lubang Jeriji Saléh on the island of Borneo.
According to ancient Chinese (977),:129 Indian and Japanese manuscripts, western coastal cities of Borneo had become trading ports by the first millennium AD. In Chinese manuscripts, gold, camphor, tortoise shells, hornbill ivory, rhinoceros horn, crane crest, beeswax, lakawood (a scented heartwood and root wood of a thick liana, Dalbergia parviflora), dragon's blood, rattan, edible bird's nests and various spices were described as among the most valuable items from Borneo. The Indians named Borneo Suvarnabhumi (the land of gold) and also Karpuradvipa (Camphor Island). The Javanese named Borneo Puradvipa, or Diamond Island. Archaeological findings in the Sarawak river delta reveal that the area was a thriving centre of trade between India and China from the 6th century until about 1300.
Stone pillars bearing inscriptions in the Pallava script, found in Kutai along the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan and dating to around the second half of the 4th century, constitute some of the oldest evidence of Hindu influence in Southeast Asia. By the 14th century, Borneo became a vassal state of Majapahit (in present-day Indonesia), later changing its allegiance to the Ming dynasty of China. The religion of Islam entered the island in the 10th century, following the arrival of Muslim traders who later converted many indigenous peoples in the coastal areas.
The Sultanate of Brunei declared independence from Majapahit following the death of Majapahit Emperor in mid-14th century. During its golden age under Bolkiah from the 15th century to the 17th century, the Bruneian Empire ruled almost the entire coastal area of Borneo (lending its name to the island due to its influence in the region) and several islands in the Philippines. During the 1450s, Shari'ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab born in Johor, arrived in Sulu from Malacca. In 1457, he founded the Sultanate of Sulu; he titled himself as "Paduka Maulana Mahasari Sharif Sultan Hashem Abu Bakr". Following their independence in 1578 from Brunei's influence, the Sulu's began to expand their thalassocracy to parts of the northern Borneo. Both the sultanates who ruled northern Borneo had traditionally engaged in trade with China by means of the frequently-arriving Chinese junks. Despite the thalassocracy of the sultanates, Borneo's interior region remained free from the rule of any kingdoms.
Since the fall of Malacca in 1511, Portuguese merchants traded regularly with Borneo, and especially with Brunei from 1530. Having visited Brunei's capital, the Portuguese described the place as surrounded by a stone wall. While Borneo was seen as rich, the Portuguese did not make any attempts to conquer it. The Spanish visit to Brunei led to the Castilian War in 1578. The English began to trade with Sambas of southern Borneo in 1609, while the Dutch only began their trade in 1644: to Banjar and Martapura, also in the southern Borneo. The Dutch tried to settle the island of Balambangan, north of Borneo, in the second half of the 18th century, but withdrew by 1797. In 1812, the sultan in southern Borneo ceded his forts to the English East India Company. The English, led by Stamford Raffles, then tried to establish an intervention in Sambas but failed. Although they managed to defeat the Sultanate the next year and declared a blockade on all ports in Borneo except Brunei, Banjarmasin and Pontianak, the project was cancelled by the British Governor-General Lord Minto in India as it was too expensive. At the beginning of British and Dutch exploration on the island, they described the island of Borneo as full of head hunters, with the indigenous in the interior practising cannibalism, and the waters around the island infested with pirates, especially between the north eastern Borneo and the southern Philippines. The Malay and Sea Dayak pirates preyed on maritime shipping in the waters between Singapore and Hong Kong from their haven in Borneo, along with the attacks by Illanuns of the Moro Pirates from the southern Philippines, such as in the Battle off Mukah.
The Dutch began to intervene in the southern part of the island upon resuming contact in 1815, posting Residents to Banjarmasin, Pontianak and Sambas and Assistant-Residents to Landak and Mampawa. The Sultanate of Brunei in 1842 granted large parts of land in Sarawak to the English adventurer James Brooke, as a reward for his help in quelling a local rebellion. Brooke established the Kingdom of Sarawak and was recognised as its rajah after paying a fee to the Sultanate. He established a monarchy, and the Brooke dynasty (through his nephew and great-nephew) ruled Sarawak for 100 years; the leaders were known as the White Rajahs. Brooke also acquired the island of Labuan for Britain in 1846 through the Treaty of Labuan with the Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifuddin II on 18 December 1846. The region of northern Borneo came under the administration of North Borneo Chartered Company following the acquisition of territory from the Sultanates of Brunei and Sulu by a German businessman and adventurer named Baron von Overbeck, before it was passed to British Dent brothers (comprising Alfred Dent and Edward Dent). Further enroachment by the British reduced the territory of Brunei. This led the 26th Sultan of Brunei, Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin to appeal the British to stop, and as a result a Treaty of Protection was signed in 1888, rendering Brunei a British protectorate.
Before the acquisition by the British, the Americans also managed to establish their temporary presence in northwestern Borneo after acquiring a parcel of land from the Sultanate of Brunei. A company known as American Trading Company of Borneo was formed by Joseph William Torrey, Thomas Bradley Harris and several Chinese investors, establishing a colony named "Ellena" in the Kimanis area. The colony failed and was abandoned, due to denials of financial backing, especially by the US government, and to diseases and riots among the workers. Before Torrey left, he managed to sell the land to the German businessman, Overbeck. Meanwhile, the Germans under William Frederick Schuck was awarded a parcel of land in northeastern Borneo of the Sandakan Bay from the Sultanate of Sulu where he operate business and export large quantities of arms, opium, textiles and tobacco to Sulu before the land were also passed to Overbeck by the Sultanate.
Prior to the recognition of Spanish presence in the Philippine archipelago, a protocol known as the Madrid Protocol of 1885 was signed between the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain in Madrid to cement Spanish influence and recognise their sovereignty over the Sultanate of Sulu—in return for Spain's relinquishing its claim to the former possessions of the Sultanate in northern Borneo. The British administration then established the first railway network in northern Borneo, known as the North Borneo Railway. During this time, the British sponsored a large number of Chinese workers to migrate to northern Borneo to work in European plantation and mines, and the Dutch followed suit to increase their economic production. By 1888, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei in northern Borneo had become British protectorate. The area in southern Borneo was made Dutch protectorate in 1891. The Dutch who already claimed the whole Borneo were asked by Britain to delimit their boundaries between the two colonial territories to avoid further conflicts. The British and Dutch governments had signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to exchange trading ports in Malay Peninsula and Sumatra that were under their controls and assert spheres of influence. This resulted in indirectly establishing British- and Dutch-controlled areas in the north (Malay Peninsula) and south (Sumatra and Riau Islands) respectively.
During World War II, Japanese forces gained control and occupied most areas of Borneo from 1941–45. In the first stage of the war, the British saw the Japanese advance to Borneo as motivated by political and territorial ambitions rather than economic factors. The occupation drove many people in the coastal towns to the interior, searching for food and escaping the Japanese. The Chinese residents in Borneo, especially with the Sino-Japanese War in Mainland China mostly resisted the Japanese occupation. Following the formation of resistance movements in northern Borneo such as the Jesselton Revolt, many innocent indigenous and Chinese people were executed by the Japanese for their alleged involvement.
In Kalimantan, the Japanese also killed many Malay intellectuals, executing all the Malay Sultans of West Kalimantan in the Pontianak incidents, together with Chinese people who were already against the Japanese for suspecting them to be threats. Sultan Muhammad Ibrahim Shafi ud-din II of Sambas was executed in 1944. The Sultanate was thereafter suspended and replaced by a Japanese council. The Japanese also set-up Pusat Tenaga Rakjat (PUTERA) in the Indonesian archipelago in 1943, although it was abolished the following year when it become too nationalistic. Some of the Indonesian nationalist like Sukarno and Hatta who had returned from Dutch exile began to co-operate with the Japanese. Shortly after his release, Sukarno became President of the Central Advisory Council, an advisory council for south Borneo, Celebes, and Lesser Sunda, set up in February 1945.
Since the fall of Singapore, the Japanese sent several thousand of British and Australian prisoners of war to camps in Borneo such as Batu Lintang camp. From the Sandakan camp site, only six of some 2,500 prisoners survived after they were forced to march in an event known as the Sandakan Death March. In addition, of the total of 17,488 Javanese labourers brought in by the Japanese during the occupation, only 1,500 survived mainly due to starvation, harsh working conditions and maltreatment. The Dayak and other indigenous people played a role in guerrilla warfare against the occupying forces, particularly in the Kapit Division. They temporarily revived headhunting of Japanese toward the end of the war, with Allied Z Special Unit provided assistance to them. Australia contributed significantly to the liberation of Borneo. The Australian Imperial Force was sent to Borneo to fight off the Japanese. Together with other Allies, the island was completely liberated in 1945.
Towards the end of the war, Japan decided to give an early independence to a new proposed country of Indonesia on 17 July 1945, with an Independence Committee meeting scheduled for 19 August 1945. However, following the surrender of Japan to the Allied forces, the meeting was shelved. Sukarno and Hatta continued the plan by unilaterally declaring independence, although the Dutch tried to retake their colonial possession in Borneo. The southern part of the island achieved its independence through the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence on 17 August 1945. The reaction was relatively muted with little open fighting in Pontianak or in the Chinese majority areas. While nationalist guerrillas supporting the inclusion of southern Borneo in the new Indonesian republic were active in Ketapang, and to lesser extent in Sambas where they rallied with the red-white flag which became the flag of Indonesia, most of the Chinese residents in southern Borneo expected to be liberate by Chinese Nationalist troops from Mainland China and to integrate their districts as an overseas province of China.
In May 1945, officials in Tokyo suggested that whether northern Borneo should be included in the proposed new country of Indonesia should be separately determined based on the desires of its indigenous people and following the disposition of Malaya. Sukarno and Mohammad Yamin meanwhile continuously advocated for a Greater Indonesian republic. As the President of the new republic, perceiving the British trying to maintain their presence in northern Borneo and Malay Peninsula, he decided to launch a military infiltration later known as the confrontation from 1962 to 1969. In 1961, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of the independent Federation of Malaya desired to unite Malaya, the British colonies of Sarawak, North Borneo, Singapore and the Protectorate of Brunei under the proposed Federation of Malaysia. The idea was heavily opposed by the governments in both Indonesia and the Philippines as well from Communist sympathisers and nationalists in Borneo. As a response to the growing opposition, the British deployed their armed forces to guard their colonies against Indonesian and communist revolts, which was also participated by Australia and New Zealand.
The Philippines opposed the newly proposed federation, claiming the eastern part of North Borneo (today the Malaysian state of Sabah) as part of its territory as a former possession of the Sultanate of Sulu. The Philippine government mostly based their claim on the Sultanate of Sulu's cession agreement with the British North Borneo Company, as by now the Sultanate had come under the jurisdiction of the Philippine republican administration, which therefore should inherit the Sulu former territories. The Philippine government also claimed that the heirs of the Sultanate had ceded all their territorial rights to the republic.
The Sultanate of Brunei at the first welcomed the proposal of a new larger federation. Meanwhile, the Brunei People's Party led by A.M. Azahari desired to reunify Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo into one federation known as the North Borneo Federation (Malay: Kesatuan Negara Kalimantan Utara), where the Sultan of Brunei would be the head of state for the federation—though Azahari had his own intention to abolish the Brunei Monarchy, to make Brunei more democratic, and to integrate the territory and other former British colonies in Borneo into Indonesia, with the support from the latter government. This directly led to the Brunei Revolt, which thwarted Azahari's attempt and forced him to escape to Indonesia. Brunei withdrew from being part of the new Federation of Malaysia due to some disagreements on other issues while political leaders in Sarawak and North Borneo continued to favour inclusion in a larger federation.
With the continuous opposition from Indonesia and the Philippines, the Cobbold Commission was established to discover the feeling of the native populations in northern Borneo; it found the people greatly in favour of federation, with various stipulations. The federation was successfully achieved with the inclusion of northern Borneo through the Malaysia Agreement on 16 September 1963. To this day, the area in northern Borneo is still subjected to attacks by Moro Pirates since the 18th century and militant from groups such as Abu Sayyaf since 2000 in the frequent cross border attacks. During the administration of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, the President made some attempts to destabilise the state of Sabah, although his plan failed and resulted in the Jabidah massacre and later the insurgency in the southern Philippines.
Borneo has 21.3 million inhabitants (in 2014), a population density of 29 inhabitants per square kilometre (75 inhabitants per square mile). Most of the population lives in coastal cities, although the hinterland has small towns and villages along the rivers. The population consists mainly of Dayak ethnic groups, Malay, Banjar, Orang Ulu, Chinese and Kadazan-Dusun. The Chinese, who make up 29% of the population of Sarawak and 17% of total population in West Kalimantan, Indonesia are descendants of immigrants primarily from southeastern China.
In Sabah during the administration of Mustapha Harun of the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) in the 1970s, thousands of Muslim immigrants and refugees from the southern Philippines of Mindanao and Sulawesi of Indonesia were given sanctuary and later identity cards in the bid to increase the Muslim population of the state: a policy later known as Project IC. Due to the high number of crimes attributed to the new migrant populations, ethnic tension between the indigenous and migrant populations has risen up to the present.
In Kalimantan since the 1990s, the Indonesian government has undertaken an intense transmigration program; to that end it has financed the relocation of poor, landless families from Java, Madura, and Bali. By 2001, transmigrants made up 21% of the population in Central Kalimantan. Since the 1990s, the indigenous Dayak and Malays have resisted encroachment by these migrants, and violent conflict has occurred between some transmigrant and indigenous populations. In the 1999 Sambas riots, Dayaks and Malays joined together to massacre thousands of the Madurese migrants. In Kalimantan, thousands were killed in 2001 fighting between Madurese transmigrants and the Dayak people in the Sampit conflict.
The following is a list of 20 largest cities in Borneo by population, based on 2010 census for Indonesia and 2010 census for Malaysia. Population data signifies number within official districts and does not include adjoining or nearby conurbation outside defined districts—such as Kota Kinabalu and Banjarbaru. In other instances, the district area is much larger than the actual city it represents thereby relatively inflating the population estimate by including the surrounding rural population—in cases such as Tawau and Palangka Raya.
|Cities and towns of Borneo by population|
|1||Samarinda, East Kalimantan||727,500||929||Indonesia|
|2||Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan||625,481||8,687||Indonesia|
|4||Balikpapan, East Kalimantan||557,579||1,058||Indonesia|
|5||Pontianak, West Kalimantan||554,764||5,146||Indonesia|
|6||Kota Kinabalu, Sabah||462,963||1,319||Malaysia|
|10||Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei-Muara||300,000||490||Brunei|
|12||Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan||220,962||92||Indonesia|
|13||Lahad Datu, Sabah||206,861||28||Malaysia|
|14||Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan||199,627||538||Indonesia|
|15||Tarakan, North Kalimantan||193,370||771||Indonesia|
|17||Singkawang, West Kalimantan||186,462||370||Indonesia|
|19||Bontang, East Kalimantan||143,683||353||Indonesia|
The island of Borneo is divided administratively by three countries.
|Capital||Part of country||Area
censuses of 2010 3
|Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||Independent Sultanate||5,770||0.77||406,200
|Central Kalimantan||Palangka Raya||Indonesia||152,600||20.3||2,202,599||11.1|
|North Kalimantan||Tanjung Selor||Indonesia||71,177||9.46||525,000||2.65|
1) Brunei: Census of Population 2001
2) islands administered as Borneo, geologically part of Borneo, on nearshore islands (2.5 km off the main island of Borneo)
3) Citypopulation.de reports on Official Decennial Censuses in 2010 for both Indonesia and Malaysia, independent estimate for Brunei.
Borneo's economy depends mainly on agriculture, logging and mining, oil and gas, and ecotourism. Brunei's economy is highly dependent on the oil and gas production sector, and the country has become one of the largest oil producers in Southeast Asia. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are both top exporters of timber. Sabah is also known as the agricultural producer of rubber, cacao, and vegetables, and for its fisheries, while both Sabah and Sarawak export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petroleum. The Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan are mostly dependent on mining sectors despite also being involved in logging and oil and gas explorations.
Some study about paddy planting of Sarawak was reported in.
The Battle of Borneo was a successful campaign by Japanese Imperial forces for control of Borneo island and concentrated mainly on the subjugation of the Kingdom of Sarawak, Brunei, North Borneo, and the western part of Kalimantan that was part of the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese main unit for this mission was the 35th Infantry Brigade led by Major-General Kiyotake Kawaguchi.Borneo F.C.
Borneo Football Club is an Indonesian football club based in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. They currently compete in Liga 1. Their nickname is Pesut Etam (Our Dolphin).Borneo campaign (1945)
The Borneo campaign of 1945 was the last major Allied campaign in the South West Pacific Area during World War II. In a series of amphibious assaults between 1 May and 21 July, the Australian I Corps, under Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, attacked Imperial Japanese forces occupying the island. Allied naval and air forces, centred on the U.S. 7th Fleet under Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, the Australian First Tactical Air Force and the U.S. Thirteenth Air Force also played important roles in the campaign. They were resisted by Imperial Japanese Navy and Army forces in southern and eastern Borneo, under Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada, and in the north west by the Thirty-Seventh Army, led by Lieutenant-General Baba Masao.
The plans for the Allied attacks were known collectively as Operation Oboe. The invasion of Borneo was the second stage of Operation Montclair, which was aimed at destroying Imperial Japanese forces in, and re-occupying the Dutch East Indies, Kingdom of Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, British North Borneo and the southern Philippines. Borneo in particular was considered at the time a strategic location for its natural resource; oil.
The Borneo campaign was criticised in Australia at the time and in subsequent years, as pointless or a "waste" of the lives of soldiers. Modern historians such as Max Hastings have said that attacking these forces, already cut off from Japan, was a waste of resources.
"Any rational strategic judgment would have left them to their own devices screened by token allied forces until their nation's defeat enforced their surrender".
It has been argued that the campaign did, however, achieve a number of objectives, such as increasing the isolation of significant Japanese forces occupying the main part of the Dutch East Indies, capturing major oil supplies, and freeing Allied prisoners of war, who were being held in increasingly worse conditions (see, for example, the Sandakan camp and Batu Lintang camp articles).The initial Allied plan comprised six stages: Operation Oboe 1 was to be an attack on Tarakan; Oboe 2 against Balikpapan; Oboe 3 against Banjermasin; Oboe 4 against Surabaya or Batavia (Jakarta); Oboe 5 against the eastern Netherlands East Indies; and Oboe 6 against British North Borneo (Sabah). In the end only the operations against Tarakan, Balikpapan and British Borneo—at Labuan and Brunei Bay—took place.
The campaign opened with Oboe 1 by a landing on the small island of Tarakan, off the north east coast on 1 May 1945 using Australian built MKIII folboats. Small parties paddled in the Tarakan region to obtain useful information and observe the Djoeta oilfields prior to an invasion. On 29 May 1945, The OBOE 6 party, including Sergeant J Wong Sue, was inserted into Kimanis Bay, British North Borneo for close reconnoitering work using a Hoehn military folboat deployed from a Catalina aircraft.On 10 June 1945 Oboe 6 subsequently followed with simultaneous assaults on the island of Labuan and the coast of Brunei, in the north west of Borneo. A week later, the Australians followed up with attacks on Japanese positions around Weston on the north-eastern part of Brunei Bay. The attention of the Allies then switched back to the central east coast, with Oboe 2. The last major amphibious assault of World War II was at Balikpapan on 1 July 1945.
These operations ultimately constituted the last campaigns of Australian forces in the war against Japan.British Borneo
British Borneo comprised the four northern parts of the island of Borneo, which are now the country of Brunei, two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, and the Malaysian territory of Labuan. During the British colonial rule before World War II, Sarawak was known as the Kingdom of Sarawak (1841–1946), Sabah was known as North Borneo (1881–1946), and Labuan was known as the Crown Colony of Labuan (1848–1946). Between World War II and their independence from Britain, Sarawak became the Crown Colony of Sarawak (1946–1963) whereas Sabah and Labuan combined to form the Crown Colony of North Borneo (1946–1963). The Kingdom of Brunei (1888/1906-1984) was a protectorate of the United Kingdom since the 1888/1906 Protectorate Agreement, and was known as British Protectorate State of Brunei.Brunei
Brunei ( (listen) broo-NY), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace (Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: نڬارا بروني دارالسلام), is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the sovereign state is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 423,196 in 2016.At the peak of the Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over most regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu Archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-day Manila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in the 1578 Castilian War.
During the 19th century, the Bruneian Empire began to decline. The Sultanate ceded Sarawak (Kuching) to James Brooke and installed him as the White Rajah, and it ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. In 1888, Brunei became a British protected state and was assigned a British resident as colonial manager in 1906. After the Japanese occupation during World War II, in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962, a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British.Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, with the GDP increasing 56% from 1999 to 2008, transformed Brunei into an industrialised country. It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a "developed country". According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.Bruneian Empire
The Bruneian Empire or Empire of Brunei ( brew-NYE), also known as Sultanate of Brunei or Negara Brunei, was a Malay sultanate, centred in Brunei on the northern coast of Borneo island in Southeast Asia. Bruneian rulers converted to Islam around the 15th century, when it grew substantially since the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese, extending throughout coastal areas of Borneo and the Philippines, before it declined in the 17th century.Crown Colony of Labuan
The Crown Colony of Labuan was a British Crown colony on the northwestern shore of the island of Borneo established in 1848 after the acquisition of the island of Labuan from the Sultanate of Brunei in 1846. Apart from the main island, Labuan consists of six smaller islands; Burung, Daat, Kuraman, Papan, Rusukan Kecil, and Rusukan Besar.
Labuan was expected by the British to be a second Singapore, but it did not fulfill its promise especially after the failure of its coal production that did not become fruitful, causing investors to withdraw their money, leaving all machinery equipment and Chinese workers that had entered the colony previously. The Chinese workers then began involving themselves in other businesses with many becoming chief traders of the island's produce of edible bird's nest, pearl, sago and camphor, with the main successful production later being the coconut, rubber and sago.
World War II brought the invasion of Japanese forces which abruptly ended British administration. Subsequently, Labuan became the place where the Japanese commander in Borneo surrendered to the Allied forces, with the territory placed under a military administration before merging into a new crown colony.Crown Colony of North Borneo
The Crown Colony of North Borneo was a British Crown colony on the island of Borneo established in 1946 shortly after the dissolution of the British Military Administration. The Crown Colony of Labuan joined the new Crown Colony during its formation. It was succeeded as the state of Sabah through the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.East Malaysia
East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur), also known as Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan (Sabah, Sarawak dan Labuan) or Malaysian Borneo, is the part of Malaysia on the island of Borneo, the world's third largest island. It consists of the Malaysian states of Sabah, closer to the Philippines than the west of the country, Sarawak in the west and the Federal Territory of Labuan. Labuan is an island in its small archipelago of the same name due north of Brunei; its closest land mass is with Sabah. It lies to the east of Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia), the part of the country on the Malay Peninsula. The two are separated by the South China Sea.East Malaysia is less populated and overall less developed in its settlements than its West which contains Kuala Lumpur and Penang however its land mass is larger and it has more of many natural resources including oil and gas reserves. City status award is restrained in the pan-regional style so reserved to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, and Miri; Victoria, Labuan for example is an Offshore Financial Centre and major port. In ecology it has a significant proportion of the biodiverse Borneo lowland rain forests and Borneo montane rain forests.Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
The Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation or Borneo confrontation (also known by its Indonesian/Malay name, Konfrontasi) was a violent conflict from 1963–66 that stemmed from Indonesia's opposition to the creation of Malaysia. The creation of Malaysia was the amalgamation of the Federation of Malaya (now West Malaysia), Singapore and the crown colony/British protectorates of North Borneo and Sarawak (collectively known as British Borneo, now East Malaysia) in September 1963. Important precursors to the conflict included Indonesia's policy of confrontation against Netherlands New Guinea from March–August 1962 and the Brunei Revolt in December 1962.
The confrontation was an undeclared war with most of the action occurring in the border area between Indonesia and East Malaysia on the island of Borneo (known as Kalimantan in Indonesia). The conflict was characterised by restrained and isolated ground combat, set within tactics of low-level brinkmanship. Combat was usually conducted by company- or platoon-sized operations on either side of the border. Indonesia's campaign of infiltrations into Borneo sought to exploit the ethnic and religious diversity in Sabah and Sarawak compared to that of Malaya and Singapore, with the intent of unraveling the proposed state of Malaysia.
The challenging jungle terrain of Borneo and lack of roads straddling the Malaysia/Indonesia border forced both Indonesian and Commonwealth forces to conduct long foot patrols. Both sides relied on light infantry operations and air transport, although Commonwealth forces enjoyed the advantage of better helicopter deployment and resupply to forward operating bases. Rivers were also used as a method of transport and infiltration. Although combat operations were primarily conducted by ground forces, aerial forces played a vital support role and naval forces ensured the security of the sea flanks. The British provided most of the defensive effort, although Malaysian forces steadily increased their contributions, and there were periodic contributions from Australian and New Zealand forces within the combined Far East Strategic Reserve stationed then in West Malaysia and Singapore.Initial Indonesian attacks into East Malaysia relied heavily on local volunteers trained by the Indonesian Army. With the passage of time infiltration forces became more organised with the inclusion of a larger component of Indonesian forces. To deter and disrupt Indonesia's growing campaign of infiltrations, the British responded in 1964 by launching their own covert operations into Indonesian Kalimantan under the code name Operation Claret. Coinciding with Sukarno announcing a 'year of dangerous living' and the 1964 race riots in Singapore, Indonesia launched an expanded campaign of operations into West Malaysia on 17 August 1964, albeit without military success. A build-up of Indonesian forces on the Kalimantan border in December 1964 saw the UK commit significant forces from the UK-based Army Strategic Command and Australia and New Zealand deployed roulement combat forces from West Malaysia to Borneo in 1965–66. The intensity of the conflict began to subside following the events of the 30 September Movement and Suharto's rise to power. A new round of peace negotiations between Indonesia and Malaysia began in May 1966 and a final peace agreement was signed on 11 August 1966 with Indonesia formally recognising Malaysia.Japanese occupation of British Borneo
Before the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, the island of Borneo was divided into five territories. Four of the territories were in the north and under British control – Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, an island, and British North Borneo; while the remainder, and bulk, of the island was under the jurisdiction of the Dutch East Indies.
On 16 December 1941, Japanese forces landed at Miri, Sarawak having sailed from Cam Ranh Bay in French Indochina. It took the Japanese less than a month to conquer the entire island. The Japanese subsequently renamed the northern part as North Borneo (北ボルネオ, Kita Boruneo), Labuan as Maida Island (前田島, Maeda-shima) and the neighbouring Dutch territories as South Borneo (南ボルネオ, Minami Boruneo). For the first time in modern history all of Borneo was under a single rule.British Borneo was occupied by the Japanese for over three years. They actively promoted the Japanisation of the local population by requiring them to learn the Japanese language and customs. The Japanese divided the North Borneo into five provincial administrations (shus) and constructed airfields. Several prisoner of war camps were operated by the Japanese. Allied soldiers and most colonial officials were detained in them, together with members of underground movements who opposed the Japanese occupation. Meanwhile, local Malay leaders were maintained in position with Japanese surveillance and many foreign workers were brought to the territory.
Towards the end of 1945, Australian commandos were deployed to the island by US submarines with the Allied Z Special Unit conducting intelligence operations and training thousands of indigenous people to fight the Japanese in guerrilla warfare in the Borneo Campaign in preparation for the arrival of the main Allied liberation missions. Following landings in North Borneo and Labuan from 10 June 1945 by a combination of Australian and American forces, the island of Borneo was liberated. The British Military Administration formally took over from the Japanese on 12 September 1945.Kalimantan
Kalimantan is the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. It comprises 73% of the island's area. The non-Indonesian parts of Borneo are Brunei and East Malaysia. In Indonesia, "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo.Labuan
Labuan (Jawi: لابوان), officially the Federal Territory of Labuan (Malay: Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan, Jawi: ولايه ڤرسكوتوان لابوان), is a federal territory of Malaysia. It is made up of the eponymous Labuan Island and six smaller islands, and is located off the coast of the state of Sabah in East Malaysia. Labuan's capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services via Labuan IBFC since 1990 as well as being an offshore support hub for deepwater oil and gas activities in the region. It is also a tourist destination for people travelling through Sabah, nearby Bruneians and scuba divers. The name Labuan derives from the Malay word labuhan which means harbour. Labuan is often referred to as the pearl of Borneo.North Borneo
North Borneo (usually known as British North Borneo, also known as the State of North Borneo) was a British protectorate located in the northern part of the island of Borneo. The territory of North Borneo was originally established by concessions of the Sultanates of Brunei and Sulu in 1877 and 1878 to a German-born representative of Austria-Hungary, a businessman and diplomat, von Overbeck.
Overbeck had recently purchased a small tract of land in the western coast of Borneo in 1876 from an American merchant Joseph William Torrey, had promoted the territory in Hong Kong since 1866. Overbeck then transferred all his rights to Alfred Dent before withdrawing in 1879. In 1881, Dent established the North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd to manage the territory, which was granted a royal charter in the same year. The following year, the Provisional Association was replaced by the North Borneo Chartered Company. The granting of royal charter worried both the neighbouring Spanish and Dutch authorities and as a result the Spanish began to stake their claim to northern Borneo. A protocol known as the Madrid Protocol was signed in 1885 to recognise Spanish presence in the Philippine archipelago, in return establishing the definite border of Spanish influence beyond northern Borneo. To avoid further claims from other European powers, North Borneo was made a British protectorate in 1888.
North Borneo produced timber for export; along with agriculture this industry remained the main economic resource for the British in Borneo. As the population was too small to effectively serve the economy, the British sponsored various migration schemes for Chinese workers from Hong Kong and China to work in the European plantations, and for Japanese immigrants to participate in the economic activities of North Borneo. The starting of World War II with the arrival of Japanese forces however brought an end to protectorate administration, with the territory placed under a military administration and then designated as a crown colony.North Borneo dispute
The North Borneo dispute is the territorial dispute between the Federation of Malaysia and the Republic of the Philippines over much of the eastern part of the state of Sabah, a territory known as North Borneo prior to the formation of the Malaysian federation. The Philippines, presenting itself as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu, retains a "dormant claim" on Sabah on the basis that the territory was only leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878, with the sovereignty of the Sultanate (and subsequently the Republic) over the territory never having been relinquished. However, Malaysia considers this dispute as a "non-issue" as it interprets the 1878 agreement as that of cession and that it deems that the residents of Sabah had exercised their right to self-determination when they joined to form the Malaysian federation in 1963.Sabah
Sabah (Malay pronunciation: [saˈbah]) is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo Island. Sabah has land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak to the southwest, and Indonesia's Kalimantan region to the south. The Federal Territory of Labuan is an island just off the Sabah coast. Sabah shares maritime borders with Vietnam in the west and the Philippines to the north and east. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital city, the economic centre of the state and the seat of the Sabah state government. Other major towns in Sabah include Sandakan and Tawau. As of the 2015 census in Malaysia, the state's population is 3,543,500. Sabah has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. The state has long mountain ranges on the west side which form part of the Crocker Range National Park. Kinabatangan River, second longest river in Malaysia runs through Sabah and Mount Kinabalu is the highest point of Sabah as well as of Malaysia.
The earliest human settlement in Sabah can be traced back to 20,000–30,000 years ago along the Darvel Bay area at the Madai-Baturong caves. The state had a trading relationship with China from the 14th century AD. Sabah came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 14th–15th century while the eastern part of the territory fell under the influence of Sultanate of Sulu between the 17th–18th centuries. The state was subsequently acquired by the British-based North Borneo Chartered Company in the 19th century. During World War II, Sabah was occupied by the Japanese for three years. It became a British Crown Colony in 1946. On 31 August 1963, Sabah was granted self-government by the British. Following this, Sabah became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia (established on 16 September 1963) alongside Sarawak, Singapore (expelled in 1965), and the Federation of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia). The federation was opposed by neighbouring Indonesia, which led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation over three years along with the threats of annexation by the Philippines, threats which continue to the present day.Sabah exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language. The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and has one of the earliest state legislature systems in Malaysia. Sabah is divided into five administrative divisions and 27 districts. Malay is the official language of the state; and Islam is the state religion; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the state. Sabah is known for its traditional musical instrument, the sompoton. The Sabah International Folklore Festival is the main folklore event in Malaysia, other festivals including the Japanese Bon Odori Festival, Borneo Bird Festival, Borneo Bug Fest, Borneo Eco Film Festival, Kota Kinabalu Food Fest, Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival, Sabah Dragon Boat Festival, Sabah Fest and Sabah Sunset Music Festival. Sabah is the only state in Malaysia to celebrate the Kaamatan festival.
Sabah has abundant natural resources, and its economy is strongly export-oriented. Its primary exports include oil, gas, timber and palm oil. The other major industries are agriculture and ecotourism.Sarawak
Sarawak (; Malay: [saˈrawaʔ]) is a state of Malaysia. Being the largest among 13 other states with the size almost equal to West Malaysia, Sarawak is located in northwest Borneo Island, and is bordered by the Malaysian state of Sabah to the northeast, Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo) to the south, and Brunei in the north. The capital city, Kuching, is the largest city in Sarawak, the economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Sarawak state government. Other cities and towns in Sarawak include Miri, Sibu, and Bintulu. As of the 2015 census, the population of Sarawak was 2,636,000. Sarawak has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. It has several prominent cave systems at Gunung Mulu National Park. Rajang River is the longest river in Malaysia; Bakun Dam, one of the largest dams in Southeast Asia, is located on one of its tributaries, the Balui River. Mount Murud is the highest point in Sarawak.
The earliest known human settlement in Sarawak at the Niah Caves dates back 40,000 years. A series of Chinese ceramics dated from the 8th to 13th century AD was uncovered at the archaeological site of Santubong. The coastal regions of Sarawak came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 16th century. In 1839, James Brooke, a British explorer, arrived in Sarawak. He, and his descendants, governed the state from 1841 to 1946. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese for three years. After the war, the last White Rajah, Charles Vyner Brooke, ceded Sarawak to Britain, and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony. On 22 July 1963, Sarawak was granted self-government by the British and subsequently became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia, established on 16 September 1963. However, the federation was opposed by Indonesia leading to a three-year confrontation. The creation of the Federation also resulted in a communist insurgency that lasted until 1990.
The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. Sarawak is divided into administrative divisions, and districts, governed by a system that is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and was the earliest state legislature system in Malaysia.
Because of its natural resources, Sarawak specialises in the export of oil and gas, timber and oil palms, but also possesses strong manufacturing, energy and tourism sectors. It is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse; major ethnic groups including Iban, Malay, Chinese, Melanau, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu. English and Malay are the two official languages of the state; there is no official religion.Sultanate of Sulu
The Sultanate of Sulu (Tausūg: Kasultanan sin Sūg, Jawi: کسلطانن سولو دار الإسلام, Malay: Kesultanan Sulu, Arabic: سلطنة سولك) was a Muslim state that ruled the islands in the Sulu Archipelago, parts of Mindanao, certain portions of Palawan and north-eastern Borneo (present-day the certain parts of Sabah and North Kalimantan).
The sultanate was founded on 17 November 1405. by a Johore-born explorer and religious scholar Sharif ul-Hashim. Paduka Mahasari Maulana al Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim became his full regnal name, Sharif-ul Hashim is his abbreviated name. He settled in Buansa, Sulu. After the marriage of Abu Bakr and a local dayang-dayang (princess) Paramisuli, he founded the sultanate. The Sultanate gained its independence from the Bruneian Empire in 1578.At its peak, it stretched over the islands that bordered the western peninsula of Mindanao in the east to Palawan in the north. It also covers the area in northeastern side of Borneo, stretching from Marudu Bay, to Tepian Durian (in present-day Kalimantan). While another source stated the area stretching from Kimanis Bay which also overlaps with the boundaries of the Bruneian Sultanate. Due to the arrival of western powers such as the Spanish, British, Dutch, French, German and American, the Sultan thalassocracy and sovereign political powers were relinquished by 1915 through an agreement that was signed with the last colonialist, the United States. In 1962, Philippine Government under the leadership of President Diosdado Macapagal officially recognised the continued existence of the Sultanate of Sulu. On 24 May 1974, Sultan Mohammed Mahakuttah Kiram (reigned 1974–1986), was the last officially recognized Sulu Sultan in the Philippines, having been recognized by President Ferdinand Marcos. On 15 August 1974 Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram submitted the organisational structure of the Sultanate of Sulu to the President of Philippines. The above named structure confirmed that Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram was the Raja Muda (Crown Prince) of Sulu. Under Rodrigo Duterte's administration, calls to finally settle the dispute of who is the officially recognized Sultan of Sulu via government recognition through an Executive Order was voiced out by various parties involved with the issue. The calls have yet to be dealt with by the government since 2017, along with a 2016 electoral promise to retake Eastern Sabah.In 2016, for the first time in history, the five contesting sultans of Sulu, Sultan Ibrahim Bahjin, Sultan Muizuddin Jainal Bahjin, Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, Sultan Mohammad Venizar Julkarnain Jainal Abirin, and Sultan Phugdalun Kiram signed a covenant in an unprecedented move aimed at consolidating and strengthening the sultanate's unity. The ceremony was held in Zamboanga City and was attended by hundreds of supporters and members of the different Royal Houses of the Sultanate of Sulu, and religious leaders and representatives of various sectors, including those from mainland Mindanao. In May 9, 2018, all five sultans of the sultanate and their supporters converged again in Zamboanga City in support of the establishment of the Zambasulta Federal State through a federal form of Philippine government. The event was officially declared as the Bangsa Sug Consensus.Sundaland
Sundaland (also called the Sundaic region) is a biogeographical region of Southeastern Asia corresponding to a larger landmass that was exposed throughout the last 2.6 million years during periods when sea levels were lower. It includes the Malay Peninsula on the Asian mainland, as well as the large islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra and their surrounding islands.