Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Walkway

Malaysia / Asia

Malaysia is a country in South-East Asia, with a federal constitutional monarchy, consisting of 13 states and three federal territories.  These are divided into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia.  The capital is Kuala Lumpur.  The origin of Malaysia lies with the Malay Kingdoms.   The first inhabitants over 40,000 years ago were said to have been Negritos.  In the 1st century, AD traders and settlers arrived from India and China.  Coastal towns and trading posts were established.  Various different dynasties reigned in the course of the centuries.  The area was invaded by the Portuguese in 1511 and Malacca taken, and that in turn was taken by the Dutch in 1641.  The British established a presence there in 1786, through the British East India Company.  They took Malacca from the Dutch in 1824.  Two years later they had established a Crown Colony, the Malay kingdoms becoming a part of the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements Protectorate.  In the Second World War, the Japanese invaded and occupied Malaya for three years, along with North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.  After the Allies took Malaya back, there was a move towards Independence.  The Malayan Union was established in 1946 but was not popular with the Malays.  It was reconfigured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948.  It achieved Independence on 31 August 1957.  The so-called Malayan Emergency lasted from 1948 to 1960, with Commonwealth troops maintaining control.  Malaysia was formed when North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore united on 16 September 1963.  Federation led to a conflict with Indonesia and skirmishes with the Communists in Borneo and the Malayan Peninsula.  Singapore was expelled from the federation in 1965.  Malaysia is a multi-ethnic state religiously, with the government modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system.  The head of state is an elected monarch, changing every five years, and chosen from the nine-state Sultans.  The Prime Minister is the head of government. KUALA LUMPUR Kuala Lumpur, officially the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, sometimes referred to as KL, is Malaysia’s capital city.  The name is a combination of Kuala meaning the point where two rivers meet and Lumpur ‘mud’, thus ‘muddy confluence’ when united.  From 1857 Kuala Lumpur was a town serving the tin mines.  It burnt to the ground in 1872 and again in 1881, after which Sir Frank Swettenham, GCMG (1850-1946), (painted by Sargent) who became the Resident in 1882, ordained that it should be rebuilt in brick and tile, thus greatly reducing the risk of destruction by fire.  It became the capital of Selangor in 1880.  The city’s early development as a commercial and mining city was also greatly assisted by Yap Ah Loy (1837-85), Kapitan of the city.  Later the rubber industry in Selangor prospered greatly due to the demand for car tyres in the early 20th century.  Kuala Lumpur became a city in 1972 and a federal state in 1974. After 1978 the capital of Malaya before Malaysia was formed.  It is one of the three federal territories of Malaysia.   It is now the centre of cultural, financial and economic life and the home of Malaysia’s parliament.  The 1998 Commonwealth Games were held here and so too the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.  The Petronas Towers are the tallest twin buildings in the world.  In 2020 it was named as the World Book Capital by UNESCO.

2.1 miles / 3.3 kilometres

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