During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation.
Negrito aborigines are considered to be one of the first groups of people to inhabit the Malaysian peninsula. When the Proto-Malays, made up of seafarers and farmers, came to the peninsula they sent the Negritos into the jungles and hills. The Proto-Malays came from China and were technologically advanced, especially in comparison to the Negritos. After the Proto-Malays came the Deutero-Malays, which were made up of many different people – Arabs, Chinese, Indians, Proto-Malays, and Siamese. The Deutero-Malays were proficient in their use of iron and when they united with Indonesians, they combined to make up the people known today as the Malay.
Hindu Kingdom – 100 BC – 1400 AD – During this period, Malaysia’s culture changed dramatically with the arrival of Indians. Indians initially went to the Malaysian peninsula in search of a mystical place known as the “Land of Gold.” In addition to trade (with goods), the Indians introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to the peninsula, thus bringing temples and other cultural traditions from India. 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 “Indianised kingdoms.”
Islam and the Golden Age of Malacca – 1400 AD – 1511 AD – 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.
About 2,000 years ago people in North Vietnam began growing rice in the Red River Valley. To irrigate their crops they built dykes and dug canals. They were forced to work together and so an organised kingdom emerged called Van Lang. However in the 2nd century BC the Chinese conquered the area.The Chinese ruled northern Vietnam for more than 1,000 years and Chinese civilization had a great impact on the Vietnamese.However in South Vietnam there was Indian influence. From the 1st century to the 6th century AD the southernmost part of Vietnam was part of a state called Funan.
In the middle of Vietnam an Indian influenced state called Champa arose in the 2nd century AD.In North Vietnam the people resented Chinese rule and in 40 AD the Trung sisters led a rebellion. They formed an independent state. However in 43 AD the Chinese crushed the rebellion and the sisters killed themselves. The Chinese continued to rule North Vietnam until the 10th century. Finally in 938 a leader named Ngo Quyen defeated the Chinese at the battle of Bach Dang River and North Vietnam became an independent state.
In the 13th century the Mongols invaded Vietnam three times. In 1257 and 1284 they captured the capital but each time they soon withdrew. Then in 1288 the Vietnamese leader Tran Hung Dao routed the Mongols at the Bach Dang River.However in the early 15th century China tried to regain control of North Vietnam. In 1407 they occupied the country but their rule was resisted. In 1418 Le Loi began the Lam Son Uprising. By 1428 the Chinese were driven out and Le Loi became the Emperor Le Thai To. Under his successors the central Vietnamese state of Champa became a vassal state of North Vietnam.
However in the early 16th century the power of the Le dynasty declined. During the 17th and 18th centuries two rival families effectively held power, the Trinh in the north and the Nguyen in the south. The Nguyen family conquered the Mekong Delta from the Khmer Empire.
In the 1770s a rebellion began in the town of Tay Son. Three brothers called Nguyen led it. Gradually they took territory from the Nguyen lords in the south and the Trinh lords in the north. By 1786 they were in control of the whole of Vietnam and one brother, Nguyen Hue made himself Emperor Quang Trung. In 1788 the Chinese intervened in Vietnam but the Vietnamese routed them at Dong Da.
However a Nguyen lord named Nguyen Anh escaped. He raised an army and from 1789 he pushed back the rebels. Nguyen Anh took Hanoi in 1802 and made himself Emperor Gia Long. Under him Vietnam became a strong united kingdom.
Meanwhile the Portuguese reached Vietnam by sea in 1516. In their wake came missionaries, first Dominicans then Jesuits and the Roman Catholic Church made some headway in Vietnam. In the late 19th century Vietnam became a French colony.