The area developed quickly in the 19th century when tin was discovered. The mines attracted large numbers of settlers, particularly Chinese. Feuds began between the different groups of Chinese immigrants and became so bitter that in the early 1870s, the British intervened and assumed control of the town. Taiping was the capital for the districts of Larut, Matang and Selama in Perak. Before 1937, Taiping was the capital of the state of Perak and the center of a long and drawn out war resulting in a change of rulership for the state. Taiping used to be known as Klian Pauh - Klian meaning mine while Pauh is a type of small mango. Before the arrival of the British, the district (known in its earlier days as The Larut Settlement) was governed by the Minister of Larut, Dato' Long Jaafar (and later by his son Ngah Ibrahim) who was empowered by the Sultan of Perak at that time, to govern that territory.
Long Jaafar has been historically credited with the discovery of tin in Larut in 1848. According to legend, Long Jaafar had an elephant named Larut and he used to take this elephant with him when journeying between Bukit Gantang and Lubok Merbau. One day the elephant went missing and when the elephant was eventually found three days later Long Jaafar noticed tin ore embedded in the mud that was on the elephant's legs. It is said that this was how Larut got its name. Eventually in 1850, Larut district was bestowed upon Long Jaafar by Raja Muda Ngah Ali and the Chiefs of Perak: the Temenggong, Panglima Bukit Gantang, Panglima Kinta, Syahbandar and Seri Adika Raja. Some time later, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Abdullah, died in 1857 and a series of succession disputes ensued. Unhappy with the abuse and favoritism of various royalties, rival Malay camps took sides with one or the other of the two great Chinese secret societies present in there at the time.
Long Jaafar established and developed his administrative center at Bukit Gantang and made Kuala