Wednesday, May 07, 2008

History Of Kuala Lumpur

Let's take a trip into history...

Kuala Lumpur got its name from the meeting of the Kelang and Gombak Rivers at the confluence of what is now the site of the Masjid Jame at Jalan Tun Perak. 'Kuala' means estuary while 'Lumpur' means mud. Kuala Lumpur briefly describes the the appearance of the water at the confluence of the two rivers.

Back in 1857, Raja Abdullah who was then the Chieftain of Kelang, led an expedition comprising 87 Chinese miners up the Kelang River in search of tin. While they found tin, the mosquitoes also found them and malaria took the lives of 69 of them.

Undeterred, a second team of 150 miners followed and before long, tin was mined and transported down river from mines upstream in Ampang.

As the new economy boomed, in 1959, two Chinese traders from Lukut by the name of Hiu Siew and Ahn Sze (which means 'potato' in Hokkien) set up a trading post on the confluence of the Gombak and Kelang rivers (somewhere near where the Masjid Jame now sits).

Hiu was appointed by Raja Abdullah as the first Kapitan China (Chinese community leader) of Kuala Lumpur.

When Hiu died in 1862, Liu Ngim Kong, a Foochow, succeeded him. Kuala Lumpur's booming economy brought unrest and two major secret societies tried to take control of the growing township.

Fights between the gangs - Hai San which controlled Kuala Lumpur city and the Ghee Hin gang which took charge of Kanching area - were frequent.

When Liu died in 1868, the Sultan appointed Yap Ah Loy to take charge of Kuala Lumpur as well as Kanching as the new Kapitan China. Yap not only was able to appease both gangs but also proved to be a smart businessman and became one of the most influential Chinese in that era.

In 1880, Kuala Lumpur replaced Klang as the capital of Selangor and Frank Sweetenham was appointed the British Resident in Kuala Lumpur.A year later, a major fire wiped out the ramshackle township and from the ashes of the burnt attap huts rose the new skyline of Kuala Lumpur, of brick and mortar shophouses - some of which can still be seen as remnants of a old era.

Kuala Lumpur was poised to meet the new century, and the rest, as they say, is history...

Kuala Lumpur Today...

Kuala Lumpur today is a bustling metropolis, equipped with modern business facilities that rivals the best in the West.Servicing Kuala Lumpur's busy streets are stagebuses, light rail transit lines and lots of taxicabs and limousines.

There is also no shortage of entertainment centres or food outlets in Kuala Lumpur, just like any city in the world. Eat or shop till you drop, Kuala Lumpur simply doesn't sleep!

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