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.Sabah exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language.
The Spanish followed, arriving soon after Ferdinand Magellan's death in 1521, when the remaining members of his expedition sailed to the islands of Balambangan and Banggi in the northern tip Borneo; later, in Castilian War of 1578, Spain unsuccessfully declared war on Brunei.
In 1761, Alexander Dalrymple, an officer of the British East India Company, concluded an agreement with the Sultan of Sulu to allow him to set up a trading post for the first time in northern Borneo, although this was to prove a failure.
The earliest kingdom, supposed to have existed from the 9th century, was Po Ni, as recorded in the Chinese geographical treatise Taiping Huanyu Ji.
It was believed that Po Ni existed at the mouth of Brunei River and was the predecessor to the Bruneian Empire.
As China had been under the conquest of Mongol Empire, all Chinese vassal state subsequently controlled by the Mongol emperors of China.
Early in 1292, Kublai Khan is said to have sending an expedition to northern Borneo, In addition with the discovery of Chinese ceramics from a shipwreck in Tanjung Simpang Mengayau which estimated to be from 960–1127 A. of Song dynasty and Vietnamese Đông Sơn drum in Bukit Timbang Dayang on Banggi Island that had existed between 2,000–2,500 years ago.
Malay is the official language 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 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.
this was welcomed by the Sulu people and by 1765, Dalrymple managed to obtain the island, having concluded a Treaty of Alliance and Commerce with the Sultan of Sulu by the willing of Sultan Alimuddin as a sign of gratitude for the British aid.