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Recounting the Memories of the Past
EIC stands for East India Company and to be clear NOT English India Company even though it was also known as English East India Company just to separate the Dutch East India Company.
According to wikipedia it was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies (Malay Archipelago amongst others) but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China.
In the textbook it mentioned how EIC was offered the island of Labuan since they needed a safe place for anchorage and new trading post in Borneo by Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien I in exchange of protection against Sulu. It did not take long before they left Labuan due to lack of profits and outbreak of Malaria (Early Labuan was filled with marshy ground and jungle). Hence, trading operation was still under the control of the Sultan Not until in 1846 when James Brooke became the first Governor of Labuan.