When Indian and Chinese traders came to the
Malacca peninsula about 2,000 years ago, the Malays were
there. At the beginning of the 15th century, Malacka was
founded, which became an important port city. It was
conquered by the Portuguese in the 16th century, in the
17th century by the Dutch and in 1795 by the British.
Around 1896, the Federated States of Malaysia were
created, which became independent in 1957 under the name
of the Malaysian Federation.
Outside the Malacca peninsula, the southeast and
southwest monsoon meets. Ancient sailing vessels on the
road between India and China were often forced to stop
in these waters, waiting for the wind to turn. From the
600s and several centuries onwards, the area was
dominated by the Hindu-Indonesian kingdom Srivijaya,
which was based in Sumatra. Islam came in the 1300s and
1400s with missionaries from India.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Malaysia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The modern history of the Malacca peninsula usually
dates from the beginning of the 1400s when a Javanese
prince founded the port city of Malacka. The Malacca
Sultanate extended its control to most of the peninsula
through a system of vassal states. In 1511 the capital
Malacca was conquered by the Portuguese and in 1641 by
From the late 18th century, the British sought to
control the trade route to China through the Strait of
Malacca. The Penang Island became a trading center under
British control in 1786. In 1795 the British conquered
Malacka and in 1819 the British East India Company was
granted permission by the Sultan of Johore to establish
a new trading town, Singapore. The three free trade
cities Singapore, Malacka and Penang formed British
Malaya is formed
During British rule, several sultanates had long had
a great measure of self-government. In 1896, four
Sultanates were merged into one administrative unit: the
Federated States of Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur as its
capital. Malaya was named in the British-dominated parts
of the Malacca peninsula, except Singapore.
On the island of Borneo, the Sultan of Brunei had in
1841 installed a British adventurer as the first of the
"white raids" to rule Sarawak for over a century. Later,
the British Borneo Company gained control of Sabah. It
was not until 1946 that Sabah and Sarawak became British
In the 1840s, the British discovered that there were
large deposits of tin on the west coast of the Malacca
peninsula. As locals did not want to work in the mines,
Malaysian rulers encouraged the British to recruit
workers from southern China.
Malaya soon emerged as one of the world's leading
producers of tin and later also of rubber. Workers from
India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were brought to the
rubber plantations. The Malays were to a certain extent
outside modern economic life.
Around New Year 1942, Japan invaded Malaya and
Singapore. The British fled, while the Malaysian rulers
largely chose to cooperate with the Japanese. Only some
Chinese, agitated by rumors of the Japanese's brutal
progress in China, tried to seriously resist the
occupants. The Chinese therefore became the people group
that suffered the worst during the Japanese occupation.
Since the British administration was reintroduced in
1945, the British wanted to form a Union state of Malaya
with equal rights for all the country's peoples. The
Malay elite rejected these plans and formed a party the
following year, the United Malaysian National
Organization (Umno), and entered into negotiations with
the British. The Indians founded the Malaysian Indian
Congress (MIC) the same year and the Chinese formed the
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) in 1949.
In 1948, Malaya became a federation, with certain
privileges for the Malays being enshrined in the
constitution. Formally, all power came from the Sultans.
The federation did not include Singapore, Sabah or
Sarawak, which remained separate crown colonies.
Many Chinese were bitter about not being able to
become full citizens. The Chinese-dominated Communist
Party launched a guerrilla war against the British and
the Federation. The war went on from 1948 to 1958 and
led to the establishment of a political alliance between
Umno, MCA and MIC.
The alliance won the first federal election in 1955,
which was a good basis for the liberation from Britain.
The Malaysian Federation gained full independence in
1957, but only in 1990 did the last guerrilla group give
up the fight.
Minimum wages are introduced
Malaysia is introducing minimum wages for the first time (see also Economic
overview and Labor market).
New demonstration against the electoral teams
Between 25,000 and 80,000 people gather at Merdeka Square in the center of
Kuala Lumpur in protest of the electoral laws. Kravall police use tear gas and
water cannons to disperse the crowd. The protesters believe that the electoral
system favors the ruling party alliance National Alliance.
Anwar Ibrahim is released in court
After a two-year trial, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is released from the
charges of sodomy (homosexual acts). According to the court, the DNA tests
presented by the prosecutor's office were not reliable and were therefore
rejected as evidence. The prosecutor's side appeals the acquittal.