The North Borneo Dispute: Irredenta and International Law

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Borneo, international law, colonialism, history, irredenta, Southeast Asia


Asian History | Asian Studies | History | International and Area Studies | International Law | Political Science


Irredenta is a concept which denotes a movement to incorporate within the territorial domain of a nation, neighboring territories which at one time were, or were believed to have been, within the sovereign control of that nation, but had been subsequently lost. In June of 1962, a new irredentist controversy emerge on the international stage with the announcement by the Philippine Government of its intention to claim ownership and sovereignty over a large portion of the British Crown Colony of North Borneo. At the time of this announcement, there were many informed persons who found it quite difficult to take this claim seriously. However, within a year, the North Borneo question had assumed the proportions of a major dispute, and had become one of the central issues in the international politics of Southeast Asia.

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