Base on scientific findings, Borneo was connected to the Asian mainland known as the Sundaland. When the sea level rose, during the melting of the Last Glacial Maximum, about 20,000 years ago, Borneo was suddenly separated from the rest of Asia. The early humans stuck in this island are believed to be Australoid or Negrito, base on the stone tools and artifacts excavated and discovered in the caves of Borneo. About 3000 years ago, another wave of migrations from Asia arrived at Borneo. Many researchers are certain that these new arrivals have much in common with the present local people of Borneo. Some of the researchers believed the new migrants interbred with the early people of Borneo. But another theory described that many of the Negrito left Borneo when the new people arrived, moving further east into the Pacific.
The actual origin of the Tribes of Borneo is still a mystery. It is not that conclusive. To my opinion, personally, I tend to believe that 3000 years ago, Asiatic tribes from mainland Asia came to Borneo via Vietnam. They settled not only in Borneo, but also in Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Celebes. Why I say this, is because the cultural tradition, especially their costumes and musical instruments bore a strong resemblance to tribal culture from Indo-China (Northeast Burma, Northern Thailand, Southern China, Laos). In the 15th Century, many Chinese traders came to Borneo and settled on this island. Many of them inter-married with the locals and thus contributed to the rich culture of the Borneo Tribal people. Today, the local indigenous are called Kadazan, Dusun, Rungus and Murut in North Borneo, and Iban, Kayan, Kelabit and Melanau in Sarawak. Many of them are highly educated, being very successful in their careers. Many of the older folks still live in the rural areas, but living comfortably as subsistence or commercial farmers.
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