Malaysia in the 19th century

Malaysia has a rich cultural heritage coming thanks to a vast and colorful history behind the country. This has a lot to do with the people that once ruled the lands. From the time of the first farmer settlers all the way to the 19th-century developments, Malaysia has never been without its fair share of struggles and triumphs.

Trading at its very core

Prior to Malaysia’s independence, the British have a lot of influence in the country as it controlled trading routes in that part of the world. Though traders were already present in the country especially in the coastal areas, the British only started to take a more active role in territorial control over being a trade partner when the business needed it.

East India Company needed a stronger presence in the region as their Chinese trade was picking up. There were a lot of islands utilized for this expansion but it was only when the British acquired Penang from the Kedah Sultan did they start to make their presence felt in the country of Malaya.

Trouble brewing in the country

The Siamese were starting to become a force to be reckoned with and this forced the hand of the British to move in closer with the Malay Sultans unless they prefer their trade routes and business to be affected. It also helped that the sultans believed in the superiority of the British civilization.

Anglo-Dutch Treaty

In 1824, the Anglo-Dutch treaty was signed which essentially divided Malaysia into two sides each belonging to Britain and the Netherlands. The Dutch left Melaka and let go of its hold in Malaysia. In return, Britain gave them the East Indies. This gave the British, who already owned the Singapore route, domination over what they referred to as the Straits Settlement. This comprised of Penang, Malacca, as well as Singapore.

1874 Pangkor Treaty

There was growing instability in the country largely because the mining was becoming more and more popular. Though the British practiced non-intervention in the matters of Malaysia, it had to step in as the problem already affected trade. This was when they convinced Malay Sultans to accept British “advisers” they referred to as residents. These residents, later on, took control of the provinces deciding on all matter except that of customs as well as religious decisions.

These advisors were in place to primarily make sure that trade and business go well. They also had to keep the fighting in check as it directly affected the profitability of the Straits Settlement. The British also made sure that through the residents, everyone was where they needed to be. The Sultans in managing their villages, The Chinese and Indians on the other hand busy with the tin and rubber trade.

Malaya prospered

The independence of Malaysia was one of the most peaceful ones to date. Partly because the ones that led the call to become independent were the citizens that received a great education from English schools set up by the British in the country. This new breed of citizens knew that there was a way to attain freedom without bloodshed and that is what they did with the help of education.