Selangor’s heritage runs over a century before the period of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca. Records show of a meeting held in Selangor in the 14th century between two Malay leaders, Tun Jana Khatib and Tuan Jajahan Buguran with the ruler of Singapore, Paduka Seri Maharaja.
Apart from being in the literary works during the Majapahit Empire in the 14th century, the Klang River was already recognised by the maritime by a Chinese mariner, Admiral Cheng Ho.
Selangor was the main producer and trade centre of tin. Chinese labourers were brought in to work in the tin mines. The Klang River played an important role as a main port for the export of tin to western traders.
In 1850, Raja Abdullah was appointed as Klang’s administrator. He leased Klang to two foreign traders for tax collection.
The son of Chief Raja Mahdi refused to pay tax to the foreigners. In 1867, Raja Mahdi gained the support of the Sumatran Malays who had resented the Bugis. Raja Mahdi’s supporters conquered Klang and the Civil War began.
The Chinese miners, led by Ghee Hin and Hai San were also feuding over control of the tin mining. They joined forces with opposing Malay chiefs. Ghee Hin supported Raja Mahdi, while Hai San went with Tengku Kudin and Yap Ah Loy, the influential third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur.
The war caused economic turmoil and loss of mining investments, forcing the Sultan of Selangor to accept a British Resident in 1874. The war ended and the British handed Kuala Selangor to the charge of Tengku Kudin.
The British rule in Malaya and a British Resident limited the powers of the Sultan and state chiefs. In 1909 a Federal Council was formed, stripping away the powers of the Malay ruler except for when they were required to provide superficial advice to the British officers such as on matters pertaining to Malay religion and customs. The ruler of Selangor and others pulled out from the Federal Council, causing the British to relinquish larger control to the Sultans. This continued until the Japanese occupied West Malaya in 1941.