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Religion In Malaysia Essay

4899 words - 20 pages

RELIGION IN MALAYSIA

HISTORY OF MALAYSIA
Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia at one of the world's major crossroads, Malaysia has always been pivotal to trade routes from Europe, the Orient, India and China. It’s warm tropical climate and abundant natural blessings made it a congenial destination for immigrants as early as 5,000 years ago when the ancestors of the aborigines, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, settle here, probably the pioneers of a general movement from China and Tibet. They were followed by the Malays, who brought with them skills in farming and the use of metals. As the beginning of Ancient Malaysia, the- Negrito aborigines are considered to be one of ...view middle of the document...

As a result, local kings in Malaysia combined what they considered to be the best aspects of India's government with their own structure, thus resulting in "Indianite kingdoms." Today, the Indian influences can best be seen in a traditional Malay wedding ceremony, which is similar to those in India. Evidence of a Hindu-Buddhist period in the history of Malaysia can today be found in the temple sites of the Bujang Valley and Merbok Estuary in Kedah in the north west of Peninsular Malaysia, near the Thai border. The spread of Islam, introduced by Arab and Indian traders, brought the Hindu-Buddhist era to an end by the 13th century. With the conversion of the Malay-Hindu rulers of the Melaka Sultanate (the Malay kingdom which ruled both side of the Straits of Malacca for over a hundred years), Islam was established as the religion of the Malays, and had profound effect on Malay society.

Chinese, Indian and Arab records show that Srivijaya to be the best trading area in the region. After seeing its great success, other areas quickly copied it thus causing a decline in Srivijava's influence. Since the Hindu kingdoms of Malaysia weren't very strong and didn't have a central power, this caused a big problem for the region.Parameswara the first King of Malacca was actually Hindu at the first place before he converted to islam. Pirates were another problem that needed to be taken care of in order for there to be a safe, secure port. This problem was taken care of with the emergence of Malacca, which was in an ideal location, thus attributing to its great success. It was founded in 1400 and within 50 years it was a major port, actually the most influential in Southeast Asia and with alliances being built with other tribes and ports, Malacca was able to "police" the waters and provide an escort for vessels that needed it. With this success, Malacca quickly became the power in control of all of Malaysia's west coast.

Malacca's power and success was quickly extinguished with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1511. Since the Arabians weren't allowing vessels piloted by non-Muslims into their harbors, the Europeans realized they needed a trading port of their own. Thus bringing about capture of Malacca.After conquering Malacca, the Portuguese built an immense fort which in turn was captured by the Dutch in 1641. In 1785, the British, who needed a port for their ships to dock while in route to China, persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to let them build a fort on Penang. After the French conquered the Netherlands in 1795, the Dutch allowed England to oversee the port of Malacca rather than turn it over the French. This was the first in a series of "swaps" to and from each country regarding this area. Eventually, although it was finally given to Britain in a trade, the Dutch were the main controllers of the region. With the establishment of a port in Singapore, the British colonies (Malacca, Penang, and Singapore) came to be known as the Straits...

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