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North Borneo

Spelling Error on George VI Pictorial Definitive

Spelling Error
There was a spelling mistake on the 50 cent definitive issued on July 1, 1950.
The mistake was corrected on the redrawn issue of May 1, 1952 (on the right).

The settlement at Jesselton was established by the British North Borneo Company on the site of the fishing village of Api-Api after an earlier settlement, dating back to 1882 on Pulau Gaya was destroyed in an uprising in 1897. The town was named for the vice-chairman of the company, Sir George Jesselton. The port became a terminus for the North Borneo Railway and there was extensive trade in rubber, rattan, wax and honey.

Railway Station with Tower in Background
The 3 cent definitives of 1909-1923 show the railway station at Jesselton with the clock tower in the backgound.

Most of the town was razed by the retreating British prior to the Japanese occupation during World War II. Subsequent bombing reduced the town to three standing buildings. The British North Borneo Company could not afford the costs of rehabilitating the protectorate after the war so control was passed to the British government and North Borneo (combined with Labuan) became a crown colony in 1946 with Jesselton replacing Sandakan as the capital.

Location of Jesselton
Jesselton replaced Sandakan as the capital of North Borneo when it became a crown colony in 1946.

In 1963, North Borneo joined the Malaysian Federation as the state of Sabah. The city of Jesselton's name was changed to Kota Kinabalu.

SABAH overprint on North Borneo Definitive
Jesselton, known since independence as Kota Kinabalu, is on Sabah's west coast.


"Kota Kinabalu." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 14 Feb. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 24 Feb. 2008

"North Borneo." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

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