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Kota Kinabalu History, Malaysia

Kotah Kinabalu (also known as K.K in Malaysia) happens to be the sixth largest city with urban population in Malaysia and the largest city in terms of urban population in Sabah (the state of Malaysia where Kota Kinabalu is located). Kotah Kinabalu is a major tourist spot in Malaysia (like the rest of Malaysia) which is of course a very famous tourist spot and it is also an industrial hub for Eastern Malaysia thus making K.K one of the fastest growing cities at National level.

It was the interest of British North Borneo Company (BNBC) in North Borneo (now the state of Sabah). British North Borneo Company wanted to establish acouple of colonies in North Borneo. They started with a small but notable settlement in Gaya Island (now known as Pulau Gaya). Bajaus were already living in that area and they didn’t like the entry of outsiders in their homeland hence this initial settlement was destroyed after a rebellion (under the leadership of Mat Salleh) by the Bajaus.

The rebellion was a major setback for BNBC and it took time before they again decided to settle down this time in the area opposite of Pulau Gaya. It is said that a village Api-Api, near Pulau Gaya, was the place where the company started their settlement after the rebellion. It is the same reason why Api-Api is counted amongst the original names of Kota Kinabalu. This location became an important harbor for the company in the time to come. This same settlement was later on expanded as the company grew. The expanded settlement was named as Jesselton after the name of Sir Charles Jessel who was the Vice President of BNBC at that time.

Jesselton was destroyed completely during the World War II and after the war ended there were only three untouched buildings left in the city while the others were kissing ground. BNBC returned to take hold of the city after World War II ended but they started to shake when they were asked to finance the re-construction of Jesselton. Hence, BNBC gave the control of complete North Borneo to the British in 1946.

British government chose Jesselton as the capital of North Borneo and this is where the fortune of Jesselton changed. Jesselton was later named Kota Kinabalu. This fastest growing city of Malaysia must be visited by all those who plan to visit Malaysia in the time to come.


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