The term British Malaya loosely describes a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Unlike the term "British India", which excludes the Indian princely states, British Malaya is often used to refer to the Malay States under indirect British rule as well as the Straits Settlements that were under the sovereignty of the British Crown. Before the formation of Malayan Union in 1946, the territories were not placed under a single unified administration. Instead, British Malaya comprised the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, and the Unfederated Malay States.
Under British rule, Malaya was one of the most profitable territories of the Empire, being the world's largest producer of tin and later rubber.
The Malayan Union was dissolved and replaced by the Federation of Malaya in 1948. It became fully independent on 31 August 1957. On 16 September 1963, the federation, along with Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore, formed a larger federation called Malaysia.