History of Pahang
Evidence for nomadic tribes living in the Pahang area go back to the Mesolithic Era. In more modern times, the tin and gold deposits of the Tembeling River attracted the marine traders of the Srivijaya empire in the eighth and ninth centuries, and Pahang covered most of the southern half of the Malay Peninsula.
After the Srivijaya empire collapsed, around the 1000, Pahang was claimed first by Siam, and then by Sultanate of Malacca. Pahang was fought over by the Portuguese, the Dutch, Johor, and Aceh for most of the 16th century. During this time, its population was mostly killed or enslaved, its rulers murdered and its economy ruined. After the decline of Aceh in the mid-17th century, Pahang came under the rule of Johor. However, Sultans of Pahang, descended from the Malacca and the Bendahara Johor royal dynasties, have ruled the state almost continuously from 1470, and gradually recovered a great degree of autonomy.
From 1858 to 1863, Pahang was fought over in a civil war between the two sons of the reigning Bendahara. The war ended when Wan Ahmad was proclaimed the new sultan in 1887, but his role from that point onward was largely ceremonial, as the British forced him to sign a treaty bringing the country under control of a British Resident.
In 1896, Pahang joined Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan in the Federated Malay States. This evolved into the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.
Over centuries ago, Pahang was called differently. Based on the Chinese record, the Chinese known Pahang by the name Phang or Pahangh. A Chinese writer called it as Pang-Hang, Pang-Heng, Pong-Fong, Phe-Hang, Pang-Kang and others.
In 1225, Choa Ju-Kua wrote the book 'Chu-Fan-Chi'. He wrote that amongst the states invaded by San-Fo-Chi was one called Peng-Keng, i.e. Pahang. The Arabs and Europeans at that time called it as Pam, Pan, Phang, Paam, Poa, Paon, Phamm, Paham, Fanhan, Phang and Pahagh. G.R Tibbets, a historian who commented the story written by Mas'udi thought that Fanjab (in Mas'udi's book) was Pahang. He preferred to call it Fanhan, Panghang/Panhang, rather than Fanjab.
Certain people said that the name 'Pahang', originated from the language of a Siamese aborigines tribe, meaning 'ore'. The aborigines used to live here and opened up several mining areas, especially in Sungai Lembing. According to an old Malay story, at the place near the Pahang River, on the opposite side of Kampung Kembahang, a large 'mahang' tree fell across the river, thus the name 'Pahang' originated. The word pahang in Malay means 'very bad smell'.