Home About Phnom Penh Kuala Lumpur History

Kuala Lumpur History

The city was founded by miners who, in 1857, discovered tin where the Klang and Gombak rivers formed a broad delta. Those pioneers were a rough, hardy lot, and the city retains some of that early boomtown character. In 150 years Kuala Lumpur has grown from a ‘muddy confluence’ (the meaning of Kuala Lumpur) to a modern, bustling city of well over a million people.

The official founder of the area was the original 'Kapitan China', Yap Ah Loy, who had been appointed by the sultan to bring unruly Chinese fortune-seekers into line. By the 1880's KL was well on its way to becoming a 'real' city and successful miners and merchants began building fine homes along Jalan Ampang and a British resident, Frank Swettenham, drew up the first town-plan for the city. By 1886 the railway was constructed linking KL to Port Klang and the town never looked back.

Nowadays KL is not only the business and commercial capital of Malaysia it is also the political capital and the largest city in the country. With plans afoot to make it one of the most competitive Asian countries by the year 2020, Kuala Lumpur grows year by year, almost day by day and now massive skyscrapers grace the once wild horizon.

Despite all the recent developments the city retains much of its past splendour. Old colonial buildings stand proud, jostling sidewalk space with ultra modern high-rise establishments.

Street vendors and night markets are scattered around the heart of the city making it a vibrant and exciting place for the visitor. Different cultures compete to sell their produce and temples from various religions stand side by side, each with their own unique beauty and heritage.