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    History in Brief

    Georgetown
    Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia at one of the world's major crossroads, Malaysia has always been pivotal to trade routes from Europe, the Orient, India and China. Its warm tropical climate and abundant natural blessings made it a congenial destination for immigrants as early as 5,000 years ago when the ancestors of the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, settle here, probably the pioneers of a general movement from China and Tibet. They were followed by the Malays, who brought with them skills in farming and the use of metals. Around the first century BC, strong trading links were established with China and India, and these had a major impact on the culture, language and social customs of the country. Evidence of a Hindu-Buddhist period in the history of Malaysia can today be found in the temple sites of the Bujang Valley and Merbok Estuary in Kedah in the north west of Peninsular Malaysia, near the Thai border. The spread of Islam, introduced by Arab and Indian traders, brought the Hindu-Buddhist era to an end by the 13th century. With the conversion of the Malay-Hindu rulers of the Melaka Sultanate (the Malay kingdom which ruled both side of the Straits of Malaka for over a hundred years),, Islam was established as the religion of the Malays, and had profound effect on Malay society.
     
    melaka
    The arrival of Europeans in Malaysia brought a dramatic change to the country. In 1511, the Portuguese captured Malaka and the rulers of the Melaka Sultanate fled south to Johor where they tried to establish a new kingdom. They were resisted not only by the Europeans but by the Acehnese, Minangkabau and the Bugis, resulting in the sovereign units of the present-day states of Peninsular Malaysia. The Portuguese were in turn defeated in 1641 by the Dutch, who colonized Melaka until the advent of the British in the Dutch exerted any profound influence on Malay society. The British acquired Melaka from the Dutch in 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen in Sumatra. From their new bases in Malaka, Penang and Singapore, collectively known as the Straits settlements, the British, through their influence and power, began the process of political intergration of the Malay states of Peninsular Malaysia.                            

    After World War II and the Japanese occupation from 1941-45, the British created the Malayan Union 1946.This was abandoned in 1948 and the Federation of Malaya emerged in its place. The Federation gained its independence from Britain on 31 August 1957.In September 1963, Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and initially Singapore united to form Malaysia, a country whose potpourri of society and customs derives from its rich heritage from four of the world's major cultures - Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Western.


                                     



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    Historical Calendar

    c1400 -Founding of Melaka by Prince Parameswara

    1511 - Melaka conquered by Portuguese. Malay Sultanate re-established in Johor.

    1541 - Portuguese rule in Melaka overthrown by Dutch.

    1699 - Sultan Mahmud murdered, ending Melakan dynasty.

    1786 - Francis Light founds British trading settlement on Penang.

    1819 - Thomas Stamford Raffles establishes trading post on Singapore.

    1824 - Anglo-Dutch Traty of London confirms Dutch rule in Indonesian archipelago; Britain retains Straits Settlements (Penang,Melaka & Singapore)

    1841 - James Brooke becomes first 'White Rajah' of Sarawak.

    1881 - Establishment of British North Borneo Company in present-day Sabah.

    1895-1900 - Mat Salleh's rebellion in British North Borneo.

    1896 - Formation of Federated Malay States (Perak, Pahang, N.Sembilan & Selangor) as British Protectorate, with Kuala Lumpur as its capital.

    1909 - Accepted of British Residents by Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan & Terengganu (Unfederated Malay States)

    1914 - Johor becomes last state to enter Malay Federation.

    1941-45 - Japanese occupation.

    1948 - creation of Federation of Malaya and begining of Malayan Emergency.

    1957 - Malaya declared independent.

    1963 - Malaya joined by Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to create Malaysia, under first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman.

    1963-6 - Indonesian Konfrontasi campaign.

    1965 - Singapore becomes republic.

    1969 - Racial tension culminates in May 13 Riot and emergency rule.

    1971 - Formation of new national ideology designed to overcome ethnic differences.

    1981 - Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad becomes Malaysia's fourth PM.