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Palau Tioman Island is the largest of the 64 islands that make up its region. An ancient native legend states that the island is really the body of a powerful and beautiful dragon, Sri Gumom, who made the gods angry when she made the journey to visit her sister, Gunung Linga, whom they had forbidden her to see. During her flight the gods turned Sri Gumom into a boulder and she fell from the sky, landing in the ocean to become the island of Tioman. It is from Sri Gumom that island gets it wild beauty, and its uneven surface and twin mountains (looking like dragon's horns) do seem to suggest the outline of a dragon's body.
In truth, Tioman is a volcanic island. Proof of human inhabitants there dates as far back as the 11th Century, and it has been inhabited by people from many lands over the centuries. In its early days it served as a resting place for Arab sailors headed to Asia, and in fact has always been a stopping point for ships to rest and reload throughout its history.
Tioman was taken over by the Chinese during the Song Dynasty and was fought over briefly by European nations looking to strengthen their trading power during the 1800's. For a time Tioman also became a dangerous area, taken over by pirates in the early 19th Century who were known for kidnapping and murder. Ships avoided the area for many years until it was taken over by the British in the late 1800's.
After several decades of peace, Tioman was invaded by the Japanese during World War II who wanted to use it as a base, but they were soon defeated by allied forces, unable to complete the airport they had begun to build.
Today Tioman is very diverse, reflecting the many cultures who have called it home.