A Short History of Malaysia

Today’s short history series focuses on Malaysia. Again, the information here is scant and sometimes contradictory.

16 July 2007 (Brunei Times) – Today’s short history series focuses on Malaysia. Again, the information here is scant and sometimes contradictory.

History of Malaysia

Scientists have found archaeological evidence of human inhabitants in the Niah Caves, Sarawak, from about 40,000 years ago.The earliest settlers on the Malay Peninsula came from southern China over a period of thousands of years. They became the ancestors of the Orang Asli.

During the 1000’s B.C., new groups of migrants who spoke a language related to Malay came to Malaysia. These people became the ancestors of the Malays and the Orang Laut.

Small Malayan kingdoms existed in the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD, when adventurers from India arrived and initiated more than 1,000 years of Indian influence.

About A.D. 1400, a group of Malay-speaking migrants came from Srivijaya, a trading kingdom on the island of Sumatra.These newly arrived immigrants established a commercial kingdom called Malacca.

Read more about the history of Malaysia.

More books about the early history and archaeology of Malaysia:
Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by P. M. Munoz
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds) (contains a chapter on the prehistory of Malaysia)
The Malay Sultanates 1400-1700 (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia)
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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