Malaysia: Mighty Mangroves
People have lived in Malaysia for over 40,000 years. In the 1600s, explorers and traders from the British Empire arrived. Malaysia was rich in rubber and tin, making this an important place to pick up these materials for trading. It also became a stop-over between trading partners. In the 1800s, the British gained more control by offering Malay leaders protection from Thailand. In return, Malay leaders gave up power to the British. In 1857, Malaysia officially became part of the British Empire. One hundred years later it gained independence.
Since Britain ruled Malaysia for so long, many people here speak English. But the official language is Bahasa Melayu, and over 140 other languages are also spoken here. The country has a wide variety of people and cultures from all over the world.