Johor, one of the largest and the most developed states of Malaysia, has strong historical background. A look into the history of Johor will give us an idea about its heritage and how it emerged as a one of the most developed states of the country.
The son of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sulatn of Malacca, founded the state of Johor in the early 16th century. During this period, Johor grew into a huge empire, which also covered the Riau Archipelago. The name Johor was, in fact, taken form the Arabic term 'Jauhar', which means 'precious stones'. This clearly highlights the influence of Arab traders who traded spices in this place. The Arabs ruled the state for 130 years, during which time they continuously fought with the Portuguese to capture Malacca.
During the period ranging from 1500 to 1600, a large number of battles were fought so that Johor could maintain its economic and political dominance in the straits. There were continuous wars with the Achens of northern Sumatra and the Portuguese. In 1641, Johor formed an alliance with the Dutch and finally managed to take over Malacca. By 1660, Johor became a flourishing and prosperous port.
During the 18th century, the Bugis of Sulawesi and the Minangkabau of Sumatra were the controllers of the Joho-Riau region. In 1891, the region was broken down into mainland Johor, which was ruled by the Temenggong, and the other part, called the Sultanate of Riau-Lingga, was ruled by the Bugis. The modern History of Johor begins from around this time.
In 1855, by virtue of a treaty between the British in Singapore and Sultan Ali of Johor, the control of the empire was passed on to Dato' Temenggong Daing Ibrahim. Under his rule Tanjung Puteri, Johors present capital, emerged as a major town. He was succeeded by his son Dato' Temenggong Abu Bakar, who acquired the title Seri Maharahja Johor. In 1866, he was crowned the Sultan of Johor and thus came to be known as Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor. Known as the "Father of modern Johor", it was under his rule that the state got its own constitution and developed a highly effective administrative system. He ruled from 1864 to 1895. He constructed the Istana Besar, the official redsidence of the royas family of Johor. The Sultan took steps to maintain friendly relations with the British. It was under his rule that Tanjung Putreri, or modern Johor Bahru, developed rapidly. A large number of mosques, government offices, police stations and court houses were built during this time. During such time, Johor's economy grew and it emerged as a major rubber and oil palm producing state.
His successor, Sultan Ibrahim, continued to maintaion close ties with the British. In 1941, Johor fell under Japanese occupation. In 1948 it joined the Federation of Malaya, which gained independence in 1957.
The history of Johor gives us a complete picture as to how it developed both politically and economically.
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