The earliest evidence of human population in the area dates back to 35,000 BC from the nearby Niah Caves.
World War II
Realizing that war was imminent, the Brooke government, under Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, conducted preliminary work to establish airstrips at selected locations throughout the country. These airstrips would be located at Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri.
With no air or sea forces stationed in or around Sarawak, the British government encouraged the Brooke regime to adopt a "scorched earth policy" in the event of a Japanese attack. Later, schemes were developed to destroy the oil installations at Miri and Lutong. The Brooke government learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (on 7 December 1941) and quickly ordered the total destruction of the oil fields and airfields at Miri and Seria. Orders for the demolition of the refinery at Lutong and the oil wells reached the officer commanding at Miri on the morning of 8 December, and by that evening, the task was completed. The garrison, a company of the 2/15 Punjab Regiment, then left for Kuching by sea on 14 December. The Japanese captured the city on 17 December.
On 19 December 1941, a Dutch flying boat from Tarakan Island attacked the Japanese destroyer Shinonome, (Cdr. Hiroshi Sasagawa) of 1,950 tons off Miri; the ship was sunk along with her entire crew of 228. Another flying boat damaged a transport ship.
Miri was elevated to city status on 20 May 2005 and is the ninth city, and its local authority the tenth city council in Malaysia.
The Sarawak state government approved the then Miri Municipal Council's application for Miri to be elevated to a city and concurrently the Council to be upgraded as the Miri City Council on 20 May 2004. The federal government approved its application on 16 March 2005. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri (ceremonial head of state) of Sarawak issued an order on 12 May 2005 for the establishment