Some say that the word Kelantan comes from a modified version of the word gelam hutan, which is a swamp tea tree, also known as cajuput. The Siamese gave this area the name Klantan during the times when they were controlling it. Some people believe that the word Kelantan comes from the Kolaam Thana name which is Indian in origins, meaning Land of Kolaam. In time, this name became Kelantan, which fit much better with the language spoken by people from the area.

Kelantan’s history goes back in time quite a bit, with settlements found here which date to the prehistoric times. The early history of Kelantan has links with the Khmer Empire, Funan Kingdom, Sri Vijaya, Siam and Majapahit. During the 15th century, Kelantan’s ruler, Raja Kumar, got his independence from Siam and this area was quite an important trade centre at the time.

The state of Kelantan became a vassal to Malacca Sultanate in 1499. When Malacca fell, in 1511, the area known as Kelantan became divided and the small lords which owned it paid tribute to the Patani, a Kingdom from the Malay peninsula.

In the second part of the 18th century, a Patani warlord called Long Yunus managed to unify the Kelantan area. In 1800, his son succeeded him and his name was Long Muhammad, but ruled under the name Sultan Muhammad I. When this ruler died without having any kids, a civil war broke out, for control over the throne. The winner was a nephew of his, which managed to win in 1835, when he became Sultan Muhammad II. He had an alliance made with Siam, which allowed him to create a Kelantan state which had a basis in Kota Bharu.

In 1909, a treat between the Siamese and the English was signed and the Thais gave up any claims they had over a number of territories, including Perlis, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan. In the end Kelantan became one of the states of Malay and it had a British Adviser.

The Japanese invaded this province first when they came to Malaya, in 1941, on December 8. Kelantan was ruled by Siam once again while it was occupied by the Japanese but it was taken back by the British when Japan was defeated.

In 1948, on February 1st, Kelantan entered the Malaya Federation. In 1957, on August 31, these states got their independence. In 1963 Kelantan became a Malaysian state.