Miri (Jawi: ميري; Chinese: 美里; pinyin: Méilǐ) is a coastal city in northeastern Sarawak, Malaysia, located near the border of Brunei, on the island of Borneo. The city covers an area of 997.43 square kilometres (385.11 sq mi), located 798 kilometres (496 mi) northeast of Kuching and 329 kilometres (204 mi) southwest of Kota Kinabalu. Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak, with a population of 234,541 as of 2010. The city is also the capital of Miri District of the Miri Division. Before Miri was founded, Marudi was the administrative centre of the northern region of Sarawak. Miri was founded in 1910 when the first oil well was drilled by Royal Dutch Shell. The discovery of an oil field in Miri has led to rapid development of Miri town. Miri became the administrative centre of the northern region of Sarawak by 1929. During World War II, the Miri oil fields were destroyed by the Brooke government to sabotage Japanese operations in Southeast Asia but to no avail; Miri town was the first landing point of Japanese troops in Borneo. The subsequent Japanese occupation led Miri to become a target of Allied air raids which caused the destruction of oil refinery facilities in Miri. The petroleum industry continued to be a major player in the city's economy after the war. Oil exploration has moved offshore since the 1950s, but subsequently new inland oil fields were found in 1989 and 2011. In 1974, the formation of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas led to co-operation between Petronas and Shell on oil exploration in the Miri region. In 2005, Miri became the 10th city in Malaysia to be granted official city status, the first non-state capital city to be bestowed such status. Miri is the main tourist gateway to the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gunung Mulu National Park; Loagan Bunut National Park; Lambir Hills National Park; Niah National Park and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef National Park. The Gunung Mulu National Park with its Sarawak Chamber, which is the largest known cave chamber in the world by area, remains one of the favourite ecotourism destinations in Miri. Miri is also the birthplace of the Malaysian petroleum industry. Other major industries in the city include timber, oil palm and tourism.
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