Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is referred to, was founded in 1857 when Chinese prospectors sent by the ruler of the Selangor State came to this area at the union of the Gombak and Klang rivers searching for tin. The area was named Kuala Lumpur, "muddy confluence", and wooden shantytowns were built to house the Chinese laborers who arrived to work the mines. The town quickly grew to be a rough and tumble area and the local sultan appointed Yap Ah Loy to be "Kapitan China" to bring the unruly Chinese into line. He did such a good job that he is now credited as the founder of KL. Shortly after, the Malay Civil War broke out and KL was burned to the ground in 1881. This allowed an opening for the British to move the central government here and in 1896 KL became the capital of the new Federated Malay States. During WWII, Japanese occupation caused the deaths and torture of many Chinese and Indians were sent to work on Burma's "Death Railway." The British returned shortly after but were kicked out when Malaysia declared its independence in 1957.
Today, KL has changed almost beyond recognition over the past 30 years as it strives to become a top Southeast Asian city. KL is an interesting mix of first-class infrastructure and third-world mentality where you have to watch for potholes as you gaze up at the Petronas Towers. Merdeka Square and Chinatown are typical stops as well as Little India. This mix of modernity and multicultural history is what keeps KL interesting and a destination for everyone. You can eat, shop, and party like a king, or escape to the countryside to relax.