The natural warmth of Malaysians is legendary; wherever one goes, the friendliness and hospitality of the people would prove to be a very special experience. Malaysia is paradise. Its sun-drenched eaches, enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna, forest retreats and magnificent mountains are among the best in this region. Many visitors have discovered Malaysia's other attractions: a shopping haven, a versatile conference venue, an incentive destination, an adventure land and much more.
The arrival of Europeans in Malaysia brought a dramatic change to the country. In 1511, the Portuguese captured Malaka and the rulers of the Melaka Sultanate fled south to Johor where they tried to establish a new kingdom. They were resisted not only by the Europeans but by the Acehnese, Minangkabau and the Bugis, resulting in the sovereign units of the present-day states of Peninsular Malaysia. The Portuguese were in turn defeated in 1641 by the Dutch, who colonized Melaka until the advent of the British in the Dutch exerted any profound influence on Malay society. The British acquired Melaka from the Dutch in 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen in Sumatra. From their new bases in Malaka, Penang and Singapore, collectively known as the Straits settlements, the British, through their influence and power, began the process of political intergration of the Malay states of Peninsular Malaysia.
After World War II and the Japanese occupation from 1941-45, the British created the Malayan Union 1946.This was abandoned in 1948 and the Federation of Malaya emerged in its place. The Federation gained its independence from Britain on 31 August 1957.In September 1963, Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and initially Singapore united to form Malaysia, a country whose potpourri of society and customs derives from its rich heritage from four of the world's major cultures - Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Western.
(taken from www.about-malaysia.com)