History in Malaysia

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Malaysia is located in South East Asia and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. Malaysia has a very rich and colorful history. Malaysian history is influenced by several countries such as India, China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe.

Early History

Indian influence in Malaysia can be traced back to the 3rd century BC. With its rich abundant marine and forest products, Malaysia became a hub for Indian traders. The Indian traders also traded with the Chinese merchants in the region. As a result of this both Buddhism and Hinduism were established in the country.

Islamic Malaya

In 1400, the port of Melaka came into existence when the rebel prince Parameswara, was sent out of Sumatra. He came to Melaka and established himself here. Within a short time, Melaka adopted Islam and the ruler became the Sultan. The influence of the Sultanate helped spread Islam all over the archipelago right up to the Philippines. However, since Islam spread over these places through the traders and not through military conquest, Arabic was not imposed upon the people. Melaka’s reign only lasted for little over a century and came to be known as the “Golden Age of Malay”.

European Entry

With the discovery of the route to India in 1498 by Vasco da Gama, a new avenue was opened. In the year 1511 an expedition led by Afonso de Albuquerque succeeded in seizing Melaka after a siege which lasted for a month. Afonso made Melaka the center for Portugal’s activity in the east. Around this time the last Sultan who fled Melaka, settled in the island of Bintan and established the Sultanate of Johore.   

British Influence

With the Anglo-Dutch Treaty being established in 1824, the Dutch left Malaya (Malaysia) and the British took control. The British made treaties with the other Malay states by installing residents. These residents helped advice the Sultans and soon became the actual rulers of those particular states. Borneo came under the control of the British during the end of the 19th century. In 1891 there was another treaty between the British and the Dutch which formalized the border of Dutch and British Borneo; this created the borders of Malaysia, ignoring all cultural and ethnic factors.


With the Depression in the 1930’s and the Sino-Japanese War, the stage was set for the independence of Malaysia. The outcome of the war paved the way for independence. In 1957, Malaysia got independence and has since become one of the most popular destinations in the world.


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