History of Kuala Lumpur dates back to 1857 when a member of the Selangor Royal Family, Raja Abdullah, who opened up the Klang Valley for tin prospectors. A few Chinese prospectors went up the River Klang to the Ampang Area which was then a dense jungle. A majority of the Chinese prospectors died to terrible conditions, but a thriving tin mine was established. This attracted merchants who traded basic provisions to the miners in return for some of the tin. As the town grew, the British who ruled Malaya at that time felt then need to appoint a headman to ensure law and order. In the early years, Kuala Lumpur was the centre of the Selangor Civil War.
Kuala Lumpur was made the capital of Selangor in 1880. Kuala Lumpur by this time became the centre of commerce in Selangor. Kuala Lumpur was burnt down in 1881 and rebuilt under the guidance of Kapitan Yap. He set up Kuala Lumpur's first school and a shelter for the homeless and also licensed brothels, casinos and drinking saloons.
At this point of time Sir Frank Swettenham was appointed Resident of Selangor and he was the person responsible for making Kuala Lumpur the seat of administration of Selangor. When the Federated Malay States were incorporated with Swettenham in charge in 1896, Kuala Lumpur was made the capital. During the Second World War, Japanese forces captured Kuala Lumpur and occupied the city for 44 months.
Kuala Lumpur became the Capital of the Federation of Malaya in 1957 and was the capital of the renamed Federation of Malaysia in 1963. On the occasion of Independence, a large stadium was built where the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared Malaysia's independence in front of a massive crowd. The Union Jack was lowered from the flagpole at Independence Square and the Malayan flag was raised. On February 1, 1972 Kuala Lumpur seceded from Selangor and the city became a Federal Territory.
Kuala Lumpur today has grown by leaps and bounds and has become one of the major cities in South East Asia. The city is now known for its towering skyscrapers, glittering shopping malls and markets. Kuala Lumpur is a major tourist destination in Asia and attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. The city however has developed without any central and systematic planning. Traffic jams are faced by commuters everyday and bus services are also irregular. Streets in the older parts of the town are narrow and winding.
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