Below is the history of both Malaysia and the Petronas Towers. The two are combined so we can understand the Petronas Towers’ place in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian history.
3500 BC – Stone Age settlements occurred occasionally at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. This location is now the center of the modern city of Kuala Lumpur.
800 BC – The Hindu and Buddhist based Sumatran Srivijaya civilization was controlling the Malaysian peninsula.
1000 BC – A legendary Hindu-Malay kingdom known as Gangga Negara existed in the area of Kuala Lumpur.
1200 – Sultan Muzaffar Shah I of Kedah, which is the territory 100 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur, became the first Malaysian peninsula ruler to convert to Islam.
1400 – The Sultanate of Malacca used to control the peninsula area including Kuala Lumpur.
1511 – The Portuguese defeated the sultanate and took over the control of the coastal areas in the Malaccan straits.
1542 – Portuguese traders from Goa, India built a replenishment station at Penang, which is an island 300 kilometers north of the coastline that lies east of the Kuala Lumpur location.
1592 – Sir James Lancaster became the first Englishman to explore the east coast of the Straits of Malacca, which are 40 kilometers east of Kuala Lumpur’s inland location.
1641 – The Dutch took over the control of the Malaccan Straits area from the Portuguese.
1650 – Chinese, Indian, Arabian and European trading ships started passing regularly through the Straits of Malacca on their way to spice centers to the west. Pirates plagued commercial shipping in the area.
1750 –Scattered Orang Asli homesites dotted the Klang and Gombak river confluence area. The name Kuala Lumpur, which means “muddy confluence” in Bahasa Melayu, became the most commonly used.
1826 – British signed a secret treaty with the king of Siam through which they gain ownership of Penang by acknowledging Siamese ownership of several northern Malaysian territories.
1829 – Three hundred kilometers south to Kuala Lumpur, at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula, Sir Stamford Raffles arranged an accord with local ruler Tengku Hussein to establish a trading post at Singapore.
1857 – Many new tin mines were established around Ampang, near Kuala Lumpur.
1860 – A large Orang Asli community used to thrive around the rowdy Chinese tin miner’s camp on the Kuala Lumpur site.
1868 – Politician Yap ah Loy brought first municipal organization to Kuala Lumpur.
1874 – The British government convinced the Sultan of Selangor to accept a British Citizenship.
1880 – The British administrative seat was moved inland from Klang to Kuala Lumpur.
1885 – Many wooden buildings in Kuala Lumpur were replaced with brick structures.
1887 – The first Moorish Islamic Buildings were erected in Kuala Lumpur.
1896 – The Federated Malay States were formed with British protection and Kuala Lumpur was the first capital. The federation included just the four Malaysian states nearest Kuala Lumpur.
1896 – Under the guidance of the British Resident Frank Swettenham, the Selangor Turf Club was founded to present horse races on the current site of the PETRONAS Towers.
1909 – The Bangkok Treaty between England and Siam gave the English a new territory in the Malaysian peninsula.
1948 – The Federated Malay States evolved into the Federation of Malaya, with the addition of many un-federated Malaysian states and the previously British Straits Settlements.
1957 – Malaya gained its independence from England and the Federation of Malaya was formed, with Kuala Lumpur as its capital.
1963 – The Federation of Malaysia was formed, including Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo and Sarawak. Singapore left the Federation in 1965.
1970 – The Malaysian Federation state of Selangor ceded Kuala Lumpur to the federation government.
1981- Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad began his term as Prime Minister of Malaysia, a period which lasted until 2003 and saw the rapid modernization of the Malaysia’s economy.
1988 – The Sarawak Transportation Company bought 255 acres of exhausted mining land on which to relocate the Selangor Turf club off the future PETRONAS Towers site.
1989 – Queen Elizabeth II visited Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur.
1990 – The design competition for the Kuala Lumpur City Center redevelopment project was won by the American firm Klages, Carter, Vail & Associates.
1991 – PETRONAS became a partner in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre re-development project.
1991 – International design competition for the two towers was held. Eight firms submit proposals. César Pelli and Associates’ design for the two towers were declared as the winners of the competition.
1992 – The last race was held at the Selangor Turf Club and the land was vacated.
1993 – Excavation for the PETRONAS Towers foundations began.
1994 – Construction on the PETRONAS Towers began.
1998 – The first tenants began moving into the PETRONAS Towers.
1998 – The newly formed Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first performance, in the PETRONAS Towers’ Dewan Filharmonik concert hall.
1999 – The PETRONAS Towers held their dedication ceremony on August 31 with Prime Minister and principal Kuala Lumpur redevelopment advocate Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad presiding.
1999 – The planned city of Putrajaya was constructed twelve kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur and the federal government was relocated there, but Kuala Lumpur remained the country’s capital.
2005 – The PETRONAS Towers were evacuated for the second time in their history due to a small fire in the Cineplex. As with the first evacuation, which was for a bomb scare in 2001, no injuries were reported.
2007 – Skyscraper climber Alain Robert climbed up the outside freehand to the 60th floor of Tower Two where he was arrested by police, just as he was 10 years earlier when he climbed to the 60th floor of Tower One.
2009 – Skyscraper climber Alain Robert managed to elude police and finally climbed to the top of Tower Two.