British North Borneo Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises off-prints, pamphlets, press cuttings and miscellaneous papers relating to British North Borneo c 1880-1940. Papers principally collected and written by E. P. Gueritz. Includes reports of the British North Borneo Company (1893-1945).

Administrative / Biographical History

The British North Borneo (Chartered) Company was formed in 1881 and from 1882 administered the territory of North Borneo, the present-day Malaysian state of Sabah. The Company ruled the territory until the end of 1941, when Japanese occupation ended Company rule. After the war, in 1946, the Company surrendered the territory to the British Crown and North Borneo became a British colony until 1963, when the territory became part of Malaysia. The Company was dissolved in 1953.

The territory was administered by a Governor, a nominated Legislative Council and a Civil Service, but the final seat of authority was the Court of Directors of the Company, which sat in London. The Company, under the Charter, was the Government of the territory and had to maintain a civil administration. But the Company was also mindful of its shareholders, and promoted the territory as a source of timber, forest products and mineral wealth, and publicised the territory's potential for growing plantation crops such as rubber and coconut.

Edward Peregrine Gueritz was Governor of British North Borneo between 1904- 1911.

Further reading: Tregonning, K. G., Under Chartered Company Rule (North Borneo 1881- 1946), (University of Malaya Press, 1958).

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Purchased in June 1971

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Separated Material

Associated Material held elsewhere: Correspondence, financial records, deeds, agreements and leases (1865-1952) of the British North Borneo Company are held at the Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey [ref. CO874]; Memorandum for British North Borneo employees relating to the keeping of geographical records, held at Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library [ref. Add 46152 Lady Layard diaries]; Materials relating to postal service held at Post Office Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance

Related Material

Related Collections at SOAS: Powell, Ifor Ball [ref. PP MS 26]

Geographical Names