Malaysia is a very multi-cultural country. In Kuala Lumpur are even living more Chinese than Malay people. For us this was one reason why we decided to visit the National Museum KL. Learning more about the history of the country that exists for 57 years as the independent state Malaysia was very interesting. We can definitely recommend visiting the museum.
40.000 years ago the first people settled down on the Malay Peninsular, but the state Malaysia exists for only 57 years. What happened in between? The National Museum in Kuala Lumpur will tell you a lot about the early history, the history about the colonial time and the short history of the country itself. In my opinion, the museum is worth a visit due to many reasons.
They offer a lot of information about the history but do not force you to read everything. If you are not the “reading guy”, you can also get a good impression about the tough time the Malay went through by just looking at the pictures and the replicas of some of the important moments in the history of Malaysia.
When you are having a look at the early history of the nation, you’ll see that the first long-lasting kingdom was the Langkasuka one. It existed from the 2nd century till the 15th century and is one of the main focuses in the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
No form of government or reign did ever last so long in Malaysia afterwards (okay, that’s impossible because we are only 6 decades later but anyway an impressive existing time for a kingdom).
What came afterwards were several little kingdoms and sultanates that made the country one of the most multi-religious countries in the world. You’ll find many Muslims as well as Hindus, Buddhists but also many other religious people who have another religion in Malaysia.
The Malay Peninsula always had an important geographical position, that’s why many European states tried to occupy the country. It started with the Portuguese in 1511, followed by the Dutch in 1641 and finally the British Empire in 1786. Even though the occupations were not always a “war”, Malaysia was part of the Second World War as well.
As a part of the British Empire, the Peninsula was attacked by the Japanese who finally took over control. After the war ended, the British came back and made Malaysia to a crown colony and later part of the Commonwealth. The times of changes and wars came to an end with this step.
Even though war was over in these times, the revolution just started. From 1948 to 1960, the so-called “Emergency” took place. This was a time when fighters tried the best to make the country fully independent of the British. The movement was led by the Chinese minority that did not accept the British rule. Some Malay people joined them over the years, but the majority mainly remained silent as the political leaders agreed with the British on some kind of a peaceful life together.
Malaysia itself got independet 1957. Some years later, the British decided to federate Malaysia, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak in 1963. From that year on, Malaysia was an independent country even though the collaboration of Singapore was of short notice. The city state got independent just two years later.
From 1965 on, Malaysia made itself a name in the world and was one of the so-called “tiger states” that made a fast development in the 20th century. Today, the country has its own car manufacturer, a world class airline (leave aside the problems of the last year when thinking about Malaysia Airlines) and much more.
In my opinion, you should visit the National Museum Kuala Lumpur just for learning more about the fast development and the interesting history of “young” Malaysia (and also because the history overview I just pointed out was neither large nor very good – please correct if anything is wrong or my brain mixed something up). Sometimes history is awesome, in the National Museum it definitely is. And remember, the entrance fee is low: Five ringgit for foreigners (two ringgit for Malaysians).