The history of Malaysia is long and interesting. It is recorded that the first settlers were Stone-Age Gatherers and Hunters; early 8,000 B.C. Stone Age farmers arrived and displaced the hunters and began to practice slash and burn agriculture. Back then, the region was covered with rainforest but, through the kind of agriculture they practised, they had to burn the forest so that they can plant their crops.
With time, the land would be exhausted, and the farmers relocated to new areas. After 1,000 BC, Metal using farming was introduced to the region and farmers using bronze and iron metal settled along the coast and rivers. Fishing was partly one of their livelihoods.
Centralised states began to rise in Malaya in 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The entire kingdom was in the North known as Kedah. Even though they were civilised, they were heavily influenced by India due to trading with the Indians. Religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism were introduced into Malaya back then.
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the state of Kedah was defeated and the State of Srivijaya of Sumatra, with its capital at Palembang rose to dominate much of Malaya. Even though this state was in control, its influence did not extend far inland but controlled the coast.
Later, Malaya was dominated by Melaka, and it was founded in the 14th century by a man known as Parameswara and became the leader. Later he was overthrown by Thais and fled with few followers and settled by the river known as Bertram.
Legend has it that one day he went hunting, and a mouse deer kicked one of his dogs; and interpreted this as an omen. Because he was standing under a Melaka tree when it happened, he decided to name the settlement Melaka. He later converted to Islam, and as time passed, the settlement grew and prospered. Its wealth and power were based on trade with Indian, Chinese and Arab ships sailing there.
The city states of Melaka became so popular to a point where it came to the eyes of the Portuguese. One Portuguese man known as Alfonso De Albuquerque was sent to capture the city-state. The expedition and task took time but eventually it felt to the Portuguese artillery. The sons of Sultan Of Melaka founded Johor.
Johor grew to be one of the most trading states, and tried to recapture Melaka severally but failed. Early 17 century, they created an alliance with the Dutch against a common enemy; the Portuguese. After the Dutch making two attempts to capture Melaka back 1606 and 1608; they turned their attention to Java. However, in 1641, both the Dutch and Johor were able to take Melaka.
After this, the region came to experience both British and Japanese colonisation. However, in 1944, the British joined all Malayan states apart from Singapore into one state known as the Malayan Union. Malaya became independent on 31 August 1957, and the first prime minister was Tunku Abdul Rahman; held office from 1957 to 1970. Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya in 1963 to form the Federation of Malaysia. However, in 1965 Singapore became a separate state.