Culture and History
Three main ethnic pillars have supported and formed the history and culture of Kuala Lumpur – The Chinese, The Malay and the British. Kuala Lumpur has been formed by the drive of all three to build businesses and thrive fully. The history of Kuala Lumpur begins in 1824, when Chinese workers hired by the colonial British were sent up the river Gombak to sift the sediments of the river for tin. Excavations in and around the area found major tin deposits and mining began soon in 1840’s. Miners from China, and the native Malay were brought to the locality, and the first ever settlement of Kuala Lumpur was inhabited by miners. The rise in the prices of tin brought more workers from India, including Indian Muslims. As a result, Kuala Lumpur became a town by 1857. To lead the mining workers, a designation of the ‘Kapitan’ was introduced by the British. There were fights among rival gangs of miner. Leading one gang was Yak Ah Loy, who was later made the Kapitan. Under Kapitan Yak Ah Loy the town transformed itself into an establishment that could be a home for not just miners but shopkeepers, businessmen and merchants of the area. Before Yak, the houses were made close to each other and were constructed with palm wood. Kapitan Loy cleared an area of the jungle to build a brick factory and under the direction of Resident General Frank Swettenham built the city again from brick, to save it from being fire prone. Yak also built roads that connected to major tin mines of the area and a railway line, a school and a city hall. The population grew from 4,500 in 1884 to 20,000 in 1890. After the development of the tin industry, rubber was high in demand. Rubber trees were grown, in the fertile jungle soil so that its sap could be converted into tires for the booming motorcar industry in the early 20th century. Companies were attracted to Kuala Lumpur so that they could make a base there. In 1942, The Japanese invaded and captured Kuala Lumpur and massacred the Chinese population and sent the Indian population to Burma as slave labour. Amidst this crisis, Kuala Lumpur kept booming. The Japanese surrendered to the British in 1945, after the Nagasaki bombings. The Federation of Malaya gained independence from the British in 1948, and so from that Federation, Malaysia was born in the September of 1963.
The ethnic locals of Kuala Lumpur include the native Bumiputera Malay, the Chinese and Indian ethnicities. Islam and Buddhism are the two main religions of Kuala Lumpur.