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Kuantan History

Pahang General Information

Kuantan is a small but lively city off the East Coast of Malaysia, which also happens to be the capital of the state of Pahang.

Historically, it is believed that Kuantan was established by migrants from Sumatra in the early 18 th century.

Settling around the banks of the Kuantan River area, the migrants first called it 'Teruntum'.

How the name came to become 'Kuantan' is a mystery - some attribute it to Chinese origins while others say the Sumatran settlers named it after one of their own places back in their homeland.

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Tin Mining

In any case, the British, who were already the ruling force in Malaya, recognised the importance of the area and its resources. They turned Kuantan it into a centre for trade and collection of tin that was mined from the nearby towns of Sungai Lembing and Gambang. Chinese traders and miners were a dominant force in Kuantan during this time.

During World War II, Kuantan fell to the invading Japanese forces before it returned to British control at the end of the war in 1945. Pre-war buildings still dot the city's landscape and several ancient British forts, or more accurately, pieces of them, can be seen in certain places around Kuantan.

Modern Growth

In 1955, Pahang State's capital was moved from Kuala Lipis to Kuantan under the British authorities. Hence, Kuantan's importance grew to include administrative functions, not just tin mining and trade. When Malaysia received independence, the Federal Government continued to develop Kuantan in the areas of industry, agriculture and tourism.

As one of the prominent cities along Coast, Kuantan has a young but rich Malay culture, the locals speaking with a northern accent that resembles the neighbouring states of Terengganu and Kelantan. Traditional dishes and cultural elements from these two states can also be found here.

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