Built in 1864 by Yap Ah Loy, a Kapitan Cina (Chinese Captain), as the Portuguese called the leaders of the Chinese enclaves under their dominion. Yap Ah Loy was Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur from 1868 to 1885.
KL was born in the 1850s when the Malay Chief of Klang sent Chinese workers upriver to open a tin mine. From the 1880s, under British rule, the city developed quickly with brick buildings. Pasar Peni, the wet market, stood at the centre of town. The Chinese thrived south of this square, while the Malay lived north. The British administration clustered around the Padang.