History of Malaysia

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History of MalaysiaHistory of Malaysia dates back to almost 40,000 years and on the other hand, the kingdoms of Hinduism and Buddhism started spreading across the country in the 3rd century BC. History of Malaysia also states that in the 13th century BC with the arrival of Arab and Indian traders in the peninsula and gradually Muslim rule spread over the entire country. Later in the 18th century BC, the British took over the control of whole Malaysia peninsula. Continue reading this article to know about the glorious past of Malaysia.

Ancient Malaysia

Stone-age hunter-gatherers were the first inhabitants of the country and believed to reach the country near around 8000 BC. But soon farmers of stone-age arrived at Malaysia and ousted the hunter and gatherers. However, the hunter and the gatherers were still living in the country but were sent to the remote areas. Farmers started practicing the slash and burn agriculture process. They also cleaned the areas under the rainforest by burning them down and to make them fertile to grow the crops. Gradually they succeeded in clearing a good area and started growing vegetation.  After some years the country started looking green and grew a good amount of vegetation as the lands had regained the fertility level again.

Then, it was the time of metal using farmers who came to the country around 1000 BC. They settled themselves along the rivers or the coastlines and used to make tools from iron and bronze. They were partly dependent on farming and partly on fishing for their livelihood. Later in the 2nd and the 3rd centuries, various centralized states arose in Malaysia and Kedah was the greatest state which was located in the north. The culture of this country was highly inspired and influenced by the Indian Civilization. The writings and the laws of Malaysia show that they are highly influenced by Indian Civilization. Also, Buddhism and Hinduism, the two main religions of India were also introduced in the country.


During the 7th and 8th centuries, the Srivijaya Empire of Sumatra came into existence and dominated many parts of Malaysia. This kingdom was located in Sumatra and having its capital established at Palembang. The kingdom took control over the part of Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, and also the coasts of Java. This rule limited their kingdom to the coast only and did not extend anywhere far in the land.

Trade relation with India and China was the major element of the wealth of this rule. It also took its control on the main passage between the China Sea and the Indian Ocean and in the result it grew itself as a very powerful and a rich kingdom. By the 11th century, Srivijaya got its control over the entire region and by the 13th century, Srivijaya lost its complete power and its power declined.


In order to dominate Malaya, Melaka came into existence in the country. This kingdom was founded by Parameswara somewhere in the last of the 14th century. Temasek which was a beautiful island of Singapore came under the rule of King Parameswara who was overthrown by the Thai very early. Parameswara flew away from there along with his followers and settled himself in the nearby the river named Bertram. A very old legend states that once while hunting, one of his dogs was killed by the musk deer and likewise, Parameswara decided to settle himself there. As Parameswara was standing under the Melaka tree at the time of the incident so he named the kingdom as Melaka kingdom. Similar to the Srivijaya Empire, the wealth of Melaka kingdom was also depended on the trading link with Arab, Indian ships, and also the Chinese ships sailing across the country. Its high wealth came in the notice of Portuguese and decided to get the control of it and so sent an expedition which was led by Alfonso de Albuquerque and this is how Melaka rule came to an end.

Johor and the Dutch

The other powerful trading state established in Malaysia which came into power in the country in the early 16th century. Johor had been trying to put his control on Melaka in which he became unsuccessful many times. Early in the 17th century, Johor joined their hands with the Dutch to fight against their mutual enemy i.e. Portuguese. Two unsuccessful attempts were made by the Dutch in the year 1606 and 1608 in order to capture and to rule over Melaka. Later on, they drove their attention towards the next region Java and then finally in the year 1641, the Dutch got attracted towards the Melaka region and re-sieged Melaka with the assistance of Johor.

Aceh was the other powerful and rich state in Sumatra which had reached to its peak level in the 17th century but soon started declining back. Brunei was another powerful state in the region which was quite strong in the 15th century and by the 16th century, it became stronger especially after the capture of Melaka by the Portuguese but then by the end of this century, the kingdom declined.

In the early stage of the 17th century, the Dutch had thrown out almost all the Europeans and the entire region was under the control of Dutch and Johor for the complete 17th century.  In the year 1673, Jambi Kingdom threw away the Johor kingdom and captured Batu Sawar which was the capital city of Johor. In the year 1699, Sultan Mahmud was assassinated and this showed the end of the Johor Power.

The Bugis

Bugis were the new power which arose in the country in the 18th century. By the end of the 17th century, Bugis started settling down themselves in the Johor region. They were permitted to settle themselves in the country and gradually they became quite powerful. After a few years in the year 1717, Raja Kecil who was claiming himself to be the son of Sultan Mahmud who was assassinated and then, later on, he along with his followers captured Johor after dethroning Abdul Jalil who was the ruling king at that time. Soon, he moved towards the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula along with his followers and set up his kingdom over there also. Since then, both the rulers took over the control of the region.

Raja Kecil ordered his minister to kill Abdul Jalil but Kecil couldn’t rule for a long time as the Bugis captured him and announced Sulaiman as the new ruler. Sulaiman was the son of Abdul Jalil and he was just sitting on the throne and the actions were taken by the Bugis.

Malaysia Heading towards Independence

After the defeat of Japanese in the year 1944, the British government thought of combining all the Malaysian states in a single united-state named as Malayan Union. However, Singapore was not included in this group and it was kept as a separate country. Finally, in the year 1948 on the 1stday of February, Malaysian Federation was formed. Singapore Malay Union was the first organization formed in the country in the year 1926 and then later on other organizations joined them.

Malaya became completely dependent on 31st of August 1957 and Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first prime minister of the country.

State of Emergency in Malaysia

Malays and non- Malays were facing serious tension issues with each other which got settled in the year 1969 after the election held in the month of May. The result of this election was quite interesting as the opposition party won the maximum number of seats and the ruling party lost its rule. There was also a saddening part of this election which states that there was a riot held in the country in which both the parties (ruling and opposing) held a counter-demonstration. The protest and violence continued for the next two days which compelled the government to announce the state of emergency and also suspended the Parliament.

Modern Malaysia

By the year 1971, Malaysia returned to the calm environment and parliament started functioning back. The government passed a new economic policy which was remarkably successful. The country took several steps to take the economy to the next level and transformed this poor and agricultural country into the rich and the industrial one. This is how the standard of living of the Malaysian people changed drastically and also rose dramatically. Historical shreds of evidence state that in the year 1991, Malaysia replaced its new economic policy with new and recent development policy. Statistics of the country shows that it has a population of almost 31 million and is popular in the world for its wealth and prosperity.

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