A History of Pahang

W. A. LINEHAN (b. 1892 – d. 1955) was appointed Secretary to the British Resident of Perak and in 1938, appointed Director of Education, Straits Settlements and Adviser on Education for the Malay States. Linehan retired from the Civil Service in 1948 and on 19 January 1949, was re-employed as Director of Museums, Federation of Malaya, a post he held until 1951.

Volume 18 of the Silverfish Malaysian Classics Series

Silverfish Books (Re-edited Edition, 2020)
217 pages including Endnotes


In stock

A History of Pahang by W. Linehan presents a relatively straightforward narrative of political and administrative changes, political personages, conflicts and events, and certain economic transformations in the Malay state of Pahang during the prehistoric period, the pre-Malacca period, prior to and during its incorporation into a wider British imperial system. Pahang, the largest of the Malay States, has an area of 14,000 square miles with a long sea-board on the China Sea. It is bounded on the north by Trengganu and Kelantan, on the west by Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, and on the south by Johore. Before the rise of Malacca, the kingdom of Pahang embraced the whole of the southern part of the Peninsula. Majapahit used the name Pahang to designate the Malay Peninsula – an indication of the importance of this ancient State.

In the 16th century, the southern boundaries of the country extended to Sedili Besar, and on the west, it touched Rembau and Selangor. To the north and west Pahang is encircled by hills. Its main water-systems, the high-ways of communication in the past, are the river Pahang and its tributaries, and the Kuantan, the Bëbar, the Rompin, and the Endau. The country to the south-west between the head-waters of the Bëra and the Muar, where the ancient overland route between the east and the west of the Peninsula passed, is only 180 feet above sea-level. The low-lying nature of the land at this point and the breadth and sluggishness of the Bëra, over part of its course an elongated marsh, have led to the conjecture that at one time this stream formed the bed of the Pahang river which then flowed, not, as now, east into the China sea but west into the Straits of Malacca. It has been pointed out that the sharp bend in the Pahang river near Kuala Bëra suggests river-capture by a stream flowing into the China sea. Colour is lent to the conjecture by old maps of the 16th and 17th centuries which show a river flowing between Muar and Pahang.

There were many variations of the name Pahang. The Chinese chronicler Chau Ju-Kua knew it as Pöng-föng. According to the continuation of Ma Tuan lin’s Cyclopedia, Pahang was called Siëm-lao thási. By Arabs and Europeans, the country was styled Pam, Pan, Paam, Paon, Phaan, Phang, Paham, Pahan, Pahaun, Phaung or Pahangh.

Pahang is the Khmer word for “tin”: the tin mines at Sungai Lembing were worked in prehistoric times; it is possible that the name of the country was derived therefrom. Berthelot identifies the river Pahang with Ptolemy’s Attabas. The proto-Malay Jakun of the Bebar says that their fore-fathers called the country Mahang. According to Malay legend, across the river at Kampong Kembahang where the present stream of the Pahang parts company with the Pahang Tua, in ancient times stretched a huge mahang tree from which the river and country derived their name.


Chapter I. Prehistoric Pahang and the Aboriginal Tribes
Chapter II. The Pre-Malaccan People
Chapter III. The Malacca Rulers of Pahang to 1590 A.D.
Chapter IV. Sultan Abdul-Ghafur
Chapter V. Pahang the Province of the Bendaharas (Period 1699-1806)
Chapter VI. The Rule of Bendahara Ali (1806-1857)
Chapter VII. The Civil War (1857-1863)
Chapter VIII. The Selangor War
Chapter IX. Engku Muda Mansur. The Missions of Swettenham and Clifford (1874-1887)
Chapter X. The British Agency
Chapter XI. Early Years of the Protectorate (1888-1891)
Chapter XII. Revolt of the Orang Kaya of Semantan


Weight0.314 kg
Dimensions20.6 × 14.2 × 1.2 cm





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