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.
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.
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.
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.