The state of Perak is Peninsular Malaysia’s second largest at 21 sq. km wide. The name ‘Perak’, which means silver, was gleaned from the glittering tin ore found in abundance.
Perak's modern-day history began when Sultan Muzaffar Shah I, a descendent of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca, became the state's sultan in 1528. In 1848, it became prominent when Long Jaafar discovered tin in Larut, Taiping. This was a big boost to Perak's economy, and started the era of tin mining.
But tin brought with it the attentions of the resource-searching British who took the opportunity to intervene in Perak through the signing of the Pangkor Treaty in 1874 after a riot in Larut. Perak was then plunged into the British's Residential system, and the administration of the autocratic James W.W. Birch as Perak's first British Resident.
Birch's administration of the state ended in tragedy for both him and the locals, with an uprising led by the local Datuk Maharaja Lela against Birch in 1875. This was thankfully followed by a peaceful and fruitful period of administration by the charismatic Hugh Low, Perak's second British Resident. The Second World War then saw the state occupied by the Japanese army, until after the war before becoming independent along with the rest of Malaysia in 1957.
Today, Perak has shifted from being a busy commercial area for tin to a diverse manufacturing state. Agriculture is one of Perak’s main industries, especially those concerning rubber, coconut and palm oil. Tourism is fast catching on as more and more people discover Perak’s hidden gems in the form of natural attractions and cultural sights.