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Perlis was originally a part of the older kingdom of Kedah, which was conquered by Thailand in 1821. After the restoration of the Sultan of Kedah to his throne in 1842, the Thais kept Perlis as a vassal state.
In 1905, Perlis obtained from Thailand the services of a European advisor to help in the administrative and financial affairs of the state. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred control of Perlis from Thailand to Britain, and a British advisor was appointed to administer the state. A formal treaty between Britain and Perlis was only signed in 1930.
In World War II, the Japanese occupation forces handed Perlis back to Thailand. After the war, Perlis again came under British protection until Perlis gained independence from Britain with the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.
Archeological evidence of ancient man has been found in Perlis. Gua Bintong has provided details of Hoabinhian culture dating back 5,000 years, while pottery and stone tools (adzes) from the late Neolithic era were found not only in Gua Bintong, but also during excavation works for the new Kota Kayang Museum.
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