Labuan was a part of the Sultanate of Brunei.
In the 1840s the previously-uninhabited island was proposed as a base for British operations against piracy in the South China Sea. In 1846, the Sultan of Brunei Omar Ali Saifuddin II signed a treaty and ceded Labuan to Britain in the same year. The island became a Crown Colony in 1848. The first White Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke was appointed first commander-in-chief and Governor of the territory. In 1849 the Eastern Archipelago Company became the first of many companies trying to exploit its coal deposits and establish it as a coaling station for the China trade. It later became a station for the submarine communications cable between Singapore and Hong Kong.
In 1890, Labuan came to be administered by the British North Borneo Chartered Company. It was reverted back to British government rule in 1904, then on 30 October 1906 joined to the Straits Settlements and administered from Singapore.
During World War II, Labuan was occupied by Japan from December 1941 to June 1945 and governed as part of the Northern Borneo military unit by the Japanese 37th Army. Labuan was renamed Maida Island (Pulau Maida, 前田島 [Maeda-shima]) after Marquis Toshinari Maeda, the first commander of Japanese forces in northern Borneo. The liberation of Borneo began on 10th June 1945 when the Allied Forces under the command of General McArthur landed at Labuan with a convoy of 100 ships. The 9th Australian Division launched an attack supported by massive air and sea bombardments that resulted in the surrender of the Japanese. On 9 September 1945, General Masao Baba, commander of Japanese military, surrendered at the Layang-layang beach before Major General George F. Wooten, commander of Australian 9th Division Army. Labuan assumed its former name and was under British military administration along with the rest of the Straits Settlements, then joined to British North Borneo, on 15 July 1946, which