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About Malaysia   Johor   Kedah   Kelantan   Kuala Lumpur   Labuan   Melaka   N. Sembilan Pahang   Penang   Perak   Perlis   Putrajaya   Sabah   Sarawak   Selangor   Terengganu


 Kuala Lumpur ~ History

Kuala Lumpur (Meaning Muddy Estuary) was founded in 1857 by a group of 87 Chinese who poled their way up the Klang river in search of tin.



It was in Ampang, few miles to the east, where there were huge reserves of it, that the prospectors landed their supplies. They named it "muddy confluence," and built a ramshackle, thatched-roof village. However within a month all but 17 of them had died of malaria. More tin prospectors, however, soon followed, and within a few years the village thrived.

Populated almost exclusively by men, they spent their days in grueling labor, crouching over tin pans or digging the earth, returning to the town at dusk to console their loneliness in bars, gambling halls, and brothels. Few got rich, but throughout the peninsula the mania for tin inspired fierce rivalries and claim disputes. The Chinese miners soon organised themselves into clans and warring factions called "secret societies." Without a centralised authority, keeping peace and order in the mining areas was nearly impossible. In 1868, needing a solution to the chaos, the headmen of the local clans elected a man named Yap Ah Loy as "Kapitan China," or leader of the Chinese community.

With the support of the local sultan, he built prisons and quelched revolts, quickly establishing an infamous reign over the entire Kuala Lumpur mining area. If KL has a "founding father," it is Loy. Loy had barely established control, however, when the Malay Civil War broke out a few years later. Local sultans were fighting for the throne of Perak, and KL being swept up in the conflict, was burnt to the ground.



The merchants of the Straits Settlements, concerned that the war would ruin their prosperity, asked Britain to intervene. Britain was initially reluctant to get involved with internal politics, but rumors that the merchants would turn to Germany instead sparked a fear in London that Britain could lose its tin interests in Malaya. London sent in a new territorial governor, Andrew Clarke, to apprise the situation. Clarke gathered the feuding princes aboard his ship off the island of Pangkor, and convinced them to sign a document known as the Pangkor Agreement. The Agreement ended the war, established a new Sultan of Perak, and -- most significantly Ė called for the presence of a British Resident "who must be asked and acted upon on all questions other than those touching Malay religion and custom."  

This was the beginning of a dramatically increased British involvement in Malaya, one that would eventually place Kuala Lumpur at center of history. The British residential system quickly spread. Frank Swettenham, the Resident of Selangor, chose Kuala Lumpur as his administrative  centre.











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