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Malaysia History Timeline

700s - 1700s
  • (700 - 1100) Most of the Malay peninsula was under the Buddhist Srivijaya empire, based near Palembang
  • (1400s) Prince Parameswara founded Malacca
  • (1409) Admiral Cheng Ho of China arrived in Malacca
  • (1511) Portuguese captured Malacca, the center of the East Indian spice trade
  • (1641) Dutch and their allies took over Malacca, built A Famosa fortress
  • (1786) British Captain Francis Light founded Penang, built Fort Cornwallis
1800s
  • (1819) British occupied Singapore
  • (1824) United Kingdom and Netherlands signed Anglo-Dutch Treaty regarding trade rights in Spice Islands, Dutch ceded Malacca to British, kept Riau
  • (1826) Settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore combined and formed Colony of Straits Settlement, gave the British more influence over the Malay sultanates
  • (1831) Naning War, in opposition to British taxation policies, was led by Malay leader, Dol Said
  • (1840s) Chinese tin miners moved to western coast of Malaysia
  • (1841) Kingdom of Sarawak (now a state of Malaysia) founded by Sir James Brooke
  • (1860s) Tin prospectors founded city of Kuala Lumpur
  • (1867) Straits Settlement established four individual settlements: Malacca, Dinding, Penang and Singapore into one British Crown colony
  • (1861-1874) Larut War was a series of four wars fought among Chinese secret societies and local Malays over mining areas in Perak
  • (1874) British and Sultan of Perak signed Pangkor Treaty, legitimized British control in Malaya
  • (1895) Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang joined together to become Federated Malay States
  • (1896) Disputes between locals and British North Borneo Company in North Borneo (now state of Sabah) led to Mat Salleh Rebellion
1900s
  • (1902) Thailand annexed three provinces, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat
  • (1909) Thailand, United Kingdom signed Anglo-Siamese Treaty, dissected northern Malay states
  • (1914) In Battle of Penang, Germans sank two Allied warships in Strait of Malacca
  • (1941) Japanese forces landed in Thailand, started advancement toward Malay Peninsula, Singapore and Burma
  • (1941-1942) Malayan Campaign was fought between Allied and Japanese forces in Malaya, Allies were defeated, over 9,600 killed
  • (1941-1945) Japanese occupied British Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, over 100,000 people killed
  • (1942) Parit Sulong Massacre: Imperial Japanese Army took nearly 300 Allied troops as prisoners, many were killed
  • (1945) Japanese surrendered; British returned, established military presence in Strait Settlements
  • (1946) Straits Settlements dissolved, replaced by the Malayan Union, which along with Malay Peninsula, was unified under a single government
  • (1948) Malayan Union disbanded, formed Federation of Malaya
  • (1948) British declared state of emergency in Malaya due to destruction of rubber plantations and tin mines by Communists
  • (1957) Malaya gained independence from Britain, established itself as a constitutional monarchy, the Federation of Malaya; Tunku Abdul Rahman became prime minister
  • (1963) Sabah, Singapore, Sarawak joined Federation of Malaya, now Federation of Malaysia
  • (1965) Separation agreement signed by Malaysia and Singapore
  • (1965) Malaysian Parliament voted to expel Singapore from the Federation
  • (1965) Malaysia was seated on UN Security Council, Indonesia refused to recognize Malaysia, withdrew from the United Nations and waged guerrilla war against them
  • (1966) Malaysia and Indonesia reached peace agreement; Indonesia rejoined UN
  • (1967) Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established with Malaysia as one of the five founding members
  • (1968-1989) The Communist Insurgency War was conducted by Malayan Communist Party against the Malaysian armed forces
  • (1969) Riots between Malays and Chinese occurred in Kuala Lumpur causing state of emergency and curfew to be established
  • (1970) Prime Minister Rahman resigned, Tun Abdul Razak became prime minster
  • (1971) New Economic Policy introduced which offered affirmative action for Malays
  • (1975) Vietnamese fleeing from the war, began arriving in Malaysia
  • (1976) Prime Minister Razak died, Tun Hussein Onn appointed prime minister
  • (1977) Chief minister expelled from Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), triggered unrest, national emergency declared, PAS expelled from the coalition
  • (1981) Prime Minister Onn stepped down, Mahathir Mohamad appointed prime minister

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.