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Not much is currently known about Malaysia's ancient history, though stone age tools and human remains have been unearthed. It is known that, about 2,500 years before Christ, a people referred to as the Proto-Malays arrived from China, edging out the previous inhabitants. Over history, cultural influences included Indians, Siamese, and Arabs until today, the conglomeration is simply described as Malay, or Malaysian.
By about 1400 AD, Hinduism and Buddhism had taken hold of the culture, but around this time, the religion of Islam was introduced. The kingdom of Pahang, wherein lies Kuantan, was under the control of the coastal Srivijaya Empire. When this empire collapsed around 1000 AD, Pahang was claimed by Siam and later by neighboring kingdom, Malacca. In 1511, European invaders (namely, Portuguese) took control, but repeated invasions broke down their power and the early 17th century saw the return of Malacca's successor state, Johor.
No mention of Kuantan, as a municipality, is recorded until about 1850. It was originally known as Kampung Teruntum (Teruntum Village).
Today, Kuantan thrives as a tourist attraction, though fishing and lumber industries, as well as handicrafts (in particular, batik production)contribute its economy.