18 Facts About British Malaya


Term "British Malaya" loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Singapore that were brought under British hegemony or control between the late 18th and the mid-20th century.

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Unlike the term "British India", which excludes the Indian princely states, British Malaya is often used to refer to the Federated and Unfederated Malay States, which were British protectorates with their own local rulers, as well as the Straits Settlements, which were under the sovereignty and direct rule of the British Crown, after a period of control by the East India Company.

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However, the British Malaya only became formally involved in Malay politics in 1771, when Great Britain tried to set up trading posts in Penang, formerly a part of Kedah.

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The British Malaya established a trading post in Singapore in 1819 and gained complete control of the island in 1824.

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British Malaya had first acknowledged Tengku Abdul Rahman at the time of their first presence in Malacca.

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The agreement stated that the British Malaya would acknowledge Tengku Hussein as the legitimate ruler of Singapore if he allowed them to establish a trading post there.

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In 1858, following the Indian Mutiny, the East India Company was dissolved and British Malaya India came under the direct rule of the Crown, which was exercised by the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy of India.

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In that treaty, British Malaya acknowledged Siamese sovereignty over all those states.

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British Malaya then sought and gathered political support from various channels, including several of Perak's local chiefs and several British personnel with whom he had done business in the past, with the secret societies becoming their proxies in the fight for the throne.

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British Malaya was replaced by Sir Andrew Clarke and Clarke was ordered to get a complete picture of what was happening in the Malay states and recommend how to streamline British administration in Malaya.

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British Malaya died in 1864 and his death created a leadership vacuum.

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British Malaya supplied the mining colonies in Hulu Klang with goods ranging from rice to opium.

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Therefore, the British Malaya felt they needed to have a say in Selangor politics.

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British Malaya recognised the predicament Dato' Kelana was in and reported back to the Straits Settlements.

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British Malaya became involved in the administration of Pahang after a civil war between two candidates to the kingdom's throne between 1858 and 1863.

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The British Malaya undertook far less economic exploitation throughout the UFMS as they primarily desired to simply keep these UFMS states in line; limited economic potential in these states deterred the British Malaya from further political meddling throughout the UFMS.

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The British Malaya had a formal pro-Malay policy and the colonial administrators were careful in developing mutual trust with the Malay sultans.

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British Malaya envisaged the union would eventually be joined by the Straits Settlements as well as the British Borneo.

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