This volume covers the history of the Malay Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak (the areas forming present-day Malaysia) from 1800 until 1940. It begins by exploring the indigenous state and society of the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, focusing on the traditional political and social structure of the time and the occupations of the people. This is followed by an examination of the beginnings of an export economy with the establishment of trading ports in Penang and Singapore, the opening up of Johor, and the beginnings of Perak's tin-mining industry. The spread of British imperialism and the evolution of the sultanates of Johor, Pahang, Selangor and the confederacy of Negeri Sembilan are then explored. The stories of how British adventurer James Brooke became the white rajah of Sarawak, and how the territory of Sabah was acquired by a British chartered company, are also told.
The implementation of the federal system on the Peninsula and developments in Sabah and Sarawak are analyzed with special reference to events and personalities. Emphasis is placed on the importance of Chinese and Indian immigrants, not only to the establishment and growth of the tin and rubber industries but also to political developments in the Peninsula and the changing face of the population. The volume concludes with the details of the development of a modern state in the period before World War II as urban centres and transportation, education and health systems were developed. All these events are brought to life with numerous contemporary illustrations and documents.
Visit the The Encyclopedia of Malaysia website.
Dr Cheah Boon Kheng
Universiti Sains Malaysia (retired)
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