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The adoption of Islam nationally by the 15th century saw the rise of a number of sultanates, and since then Islam has had a profound influence on the Malay people. In 1511, the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, became the first European countries to colonise the Malay Peninsula. It wasn’t until the 18th century when the British Empire colonised Malaysia that a treaty defined the boundaries between British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies (which today is known as Indonesia), geographically defining the country that it is today.

The importance of Malaya as a trading post increased inline with the increase of British trade with China. Modern day Kuala Lumpur was founded as a trading post for immigrant miners and was declared the capital of Federated Malay States in 1896. During world war II Japan launched an assault onto Malay territories, leading to the death of 80,000 ethnic Chinese in Malaya and Singapore. The British regained control of Malaya in 1945 after the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However British rule was mired by guerrilla style insurgency as the nationalist movement gained momentum. On 30 August 1957, the Federation of Malaysiaachieved its independence. Today, headed by King Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia has one of the best economic records in Asia, fuelled by its natural resources, tourism, commerce and medical tourism.