Malaysia Geography and Population
According to Ebizdir.net, the territory of Malaysia was almost depopulated until almost the end of the last century, when along the southwestern bank of the peninsula the English sovereignty, which in 1867 had transformed its possessions of Penang, Malacca and Singapore into colonies of the Crown, exercised only on narrow coastal and island strips, the so-called Establishments of the Strait. Starting from 1874 the various local sultanates entered the English sphere of influence, first Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, which in 1896 formed the federated Malaysian states, then Johore (1885) and the states of Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Trengganu (at the beginning of our century), which formed the 5 non-confederate states.Malaysian, were ; App. II, 11, p. 255) which acquired ever greater autonomy until complete independence, obtained on 31 August 1957 and sanctioned with admission among the UN (as the 82nd country represented).
The Federation extends over a large part of the Malacca peninsula south of the Krah isthmus and also includes some coastal islands (Penang, Pangkor), but excludes that of Singapore. The territory consists mainly of a crystalline base (granite, quartzites, schists) and presents in the southern section of the small undulations which, proceeding towards the north, acquire the shape of ridges that are increasingly rising up to reach 2,190 m in the Malaysia Tahan and 2,182 m in Malaysia Korbu and are separated by longitudinal furrows, the main one being the central one, crossed in opposite directions by the Kelantan and Pahang rivers. It is of great importance for agriculture, settlement and rail and road links between the north-eastern and south-western parts of the Federation.
The climate is influenced by the proximity to the equator and the alternate expiration of the monsoons. Temperatures are remarkably high in all months of the year (significantly above 200) with an annual excursion of a few degrees; rainfall is fairly well distributed throughout the year and on the south-western side it falls mainly in the period in which the sea monsoon expires (summer semester), on the north-eastern one when the land monsoon expires (winter semester). The spatial distribution of them varies greatly from part to part; but, while in the southern section, from the lower elevations, the rains are less abundant, also because the monsoon reaches it after crossing nearby Sumatra and leaving some of its humidity on this island, in the north-east they fall in greater quantities in winter and are largely due to the winter monsoon which is very violent and particularly rainy there. However, the most sprayed section is that of the north-west, especially on the slopes of the hills exposed to the summer monsoon, which receive 4-5 m of rain per year (with a maximum of over 6 m near Taiping).
The spontaneous vegetation consists of a luxuriant forest that persists on the ridges and on most of the eastern side, along which the crops are practiced only at the coast and in some valley furrows, while deforestation has been almost complete along the western coastal strip. , where the forest has given way to hevea plantations and various food crops (coconut palm, oil palm, rice, pineapple).
The population of the Federation is made up of over 50% Malaysians, about 38% Chinese and 11% Indians and Pakistanis, to which are to be added about 17,000 Europeans and small groups of Negritos (Semang, Senoi, Sakai) scattered in the forests. The Malays prevail, but they are devoted to agriculture, while the Chinese are devoted mostly to trade, crafts and are employed in the mines; so that their distribution is closely related to the economy of the individual regions. In the state there is a great mix of cultures, customs and religions, since the Chinese are Buddhists, the Malaysian Muslims, the Indians Hindus. Alongside them there are 172,000 Catholics. Only a tenth of the population lives in urban centers, among which Georgetown, on the island of Penang, stands out (see table) hevea, Malacca, port on the homonymous strait, which was the first European settlement (1511) in the peninsula. Other centers, besides those mentioned in the following table, with populations exceeding 10,000 residents they are: Bandar Maharani (32,228 residents), Bandar Penggaram (26,506), Port Swettenham (11,300), Telok Anson (23,055), Butterworth (21,255 residents).
The population and development of the region date back to very recent times, when the cultivation of the rubber plant (hevea brasiliensis) began and the presence of rich tin deposits was recognized. The cultivation of hevea it dates back to the last two decades of the last century, but it only spread on a large scale starting from 1910, with the great development of motoring. These plantations have attracted numerous workers from the Malaysian world and China to the peninsula. The considerable influx of Chinese (78,000 in 1880, but 360,000 in 1927 to a maximum of 403,000 in 1937) complicated the ethnic and social structure of the region. Although in the years of the economic crisis and during the wars some hundreds of thousands have returned to their countries of origin, nevertheless their number is very high, especially in the centers of the southern section (Kuala Lumpur). They clearly predominate on the island of Singapore.
The increase in residents has led as a consequence to a significant change in the agrarian structure of the country, as it has imposed the need to spread some food plants, in order to feed them at least in part with local products. Currently the agricultural area is only 15% of the territorial one: 2/3 of it are occupied by hevea plantations and the rest is mainly reserved for rice (15%) and coconut palm (13%). The oil palm is also rapidly gaining ground. An important crop is also that of pineapple, introduced in 1880 in Singapore and subsequently widespread in Johore and Selangor: it gives a conspicuous production partly destined for export (1,000,000 q. Per year) through the port of Singapore.. The hevea covers the tenth part of the agricultural area and is particularly widespread on the western side, and in particular in the territory of Malacca and Selangor, and gives an annual production of about 7,000,000 q of rubber, mostly directed towards the USA, the United Kingdom, the USSR and other industrial countries of Europe. The state’s mineral resources are substantial; but, while the deposits of iron (Kelantan, Trengganu) and coal (Selangor), which is of poor quality, are negligible, those of cassiterite acquire a very special importance. This mineral is found in the granites (primary deposits) that make up the backbone of the peninsula, and especially in the ridge dominated by Mount Korbu, and in abundance in alluvial soils (secondary deposits).