Malacca History

Malacca
Malacca Flag

Malacca situated in the Southern part of Malaysia bordering with Johor and Negeri Sembilan States. Has a reputation as the first international city and the oldest World Heritage Site in Malaysia. This is the place the first official diplomatic relationship and foreign affair started with the foreign country.This is where the first Malay Sultanate began holding the reins of Malaysia today. Here also is the fall of the first Malay Sultanate Kingdom after Portuguese colonized Malacca in 1511. Malacca has the longest and interesting history to share with the world.

Brief Background

Malacca has area coverage about 1668km square with 790,136 population become the second smallest states in Malaysia after Perlis. Total population by Ethnic group Malays 64.12%, Chinese 25.25%, Indian 6%, Others 0.48% and non citizen 4.15%. Malacca can be access by road only. NO airlines and train service to Malacca.

Malacca History

MalaccaMalacca history has been established long before Pareswara comes in Malacca. Malacca was known as Whu Shu among the Chinese sailors. Whu Shu in Chinese means a big island. Chinese trading ship stopover in the island to get a fresh water and firewood before continue their journey. Besides resting waiting for Monsoon wind pushing them to their destination, the island also the places where local seafaring people offer dried salted fish to Chinese sailor exchange with somethings such porcelain or silk. Estimated about 20 to 30 seafaring people inhabit coastal Malacca. The barter trading already found much earlier before the exist of Kingdom.

Pareswara The First Sultan of Malacca

Pareswara is a Hindu Prince from Palembang, Sumatra descended from King Sailendra. He was married to Princes of Majapahit situated in Eastern Jawa. He assumed the position from his father as ruler of Srivijaya few months before the death of Hayam Wuruk. Pareswara has high ambitions are not happy with his position lower than the ruler of the Majapahit. After the death of Hayam Wuruk, Majapahit Kingdom suffered collapse due to the conflict to find Hayam Wuruk succession. Split within the Majapahit leadership giving the opportunity to Pareswara to declare Independent of Srivijaya Kingdom from Majapahit.

In the year 1391, Parameswara held a consecration ceremony. In this ceremony, he declared himself as the Mighty King to take the title Emperor of Three Continents. Angry with Pareswara action the Javanese people decided to attacked the Srivijaya kingdom. Worried about his safety Pareswara and his followers had fled to Temasek (Singapore Island). At that time, Temasek Island was controlled by Ayudhya Kingdom. In Temasek Pareswara become the ruler of the island after killed the leader of the island cause he was an attack by Ayudhya army.

In 1398, Pareswara and his follower had fled again to Muar, Johor. He continues travel to Sening Hujung later to Sungai Bertam Malacca. While resting under the Malacca tree, witnessed a strange incident where his hunting dog has been kicked and pushed into the river by a deer. On early day, it’s very common for local people to believe with myth and legends as a reference or hint. After the incident, Pareswara decided to found a new kingdom it’s called Malacca in conjunction the name of Malacca Tree. Pareswara arrival in Malacca has been welcomed by local residents. Pareswara also been accepted as the heir to the Empire of Srivijaya enabled him to establish the first Malacca Malay Kingdom.

MalaccaThe found of first Malay Sultanate of Malacca by Pareswara was coincidental during a massive movement of Chinese Naval in southeast Asia, India and Northeast Africa. While Emperor Yung Long become a second founder of Dynasty Ming, he emphasized on military relationship with other country. Emperor Yung Lo sent few Imperial delegation to the country has diplomatic relationship and offering protection to coastal country as Malacca. The Imperial delegation was led by Admiral Yin Ling follow by Admiral Cheng Ho. In 1403, Admiral Yin Ching became the first Imperial delegation arrival in Malacca, Admiral Cheng Ho did six stops in Malacca within 29 years. The main idea Chinese Emperor offer the protection is for the safety and convenient of Chinese traders.

Malacca Sultan List

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  • Parameswara (Sultan Iskandar Syah) 1400 – 1414
  • Sultan Mahkota Iskandar Syah 1414 – 1424
  • Sultan Muhammad Syah 1424 – 1444
  • Parameswara Dewa Syah 1444 – 1445

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  • Sultan Muzaffar Syah 1445 – 1459
  • Sultan Mansor Syah 1459 – 477
  • Sultan Aluddin Riayat Syah 1477 – 1488
  • Sultan Mahmud Syah 1488 – 1511

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The Success of Malacca Port

Malacca became the first international city in Malaysia and Entrepot even without produce any product. The port became the center of the collection local product from surrounding Malay archipelago such Benten Aceh, Ambon, Makassar and Palembang for distribution to foreign traders.

Factor to the Advancement of Malacca Port

The succession of the port because the political atmosphere in Southeast Asia, including the measures taken by Pareswara. In addition to the protection provided by the Chinese Emperor to Malacca, no other power in the Malay Archipelago would ensure the safety and facilitate the trading activity.

  1. Malacca Strategic Position – located in the middle of the trade route between India and China. The Port naturally protected from Northeast and Northwest Monsoon winds
  2. Malay archipelago is rich in natural resources such Herbs and Spicy
  3. Efficient and Organized Administrator –
  4. Efficient Tax Collection System

When the Port opened, it is not only a transit point for ships waiting for change the Monsoon wind, but also a place for shelter and fair trade. Pareswara built a Trade Bazaar beside Malacca Rivers and accommodation near to center of town for traders. Besides that underground warehouse was built by Pareswara to protect merchandise for theft and fire. Politic stability and fair trade policy attracted traders from all over the Archipelago to Malacca, China, India, Africa and from Arabia.

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Chinese Traders
  • Silk and Satin
  • Porcelain
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Cotton
  • Copper
  • Tea
  • Opium

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Indian Traders
  • Cloth
  • Jewelry
  • Brass ware
  • Tapestries

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Arab Traders
  • Pearl
  • Perfumes
  • Incense
  • Weapon
  • Opium called “Madak”

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Malay Archipelago Traders
  • Sandalwood
  • Tumeric
  • Pepper
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Gambir
  • Tin
  • Rice

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Before The Arrival of Portuguese

Harmony and equality trade practiced by the previous Sultan untenable by Sultan Mahmud Shah. His most major drawback is not paying attention to the states administrator and its colony territories. This opportunity is used by administration officials to be corrupt and split between administration officials. Recognizing the difficulty to restore the situation like normal, he handed the throne to his son Sultan Ahmad Shah. He was young and inexperienced to govern the kingdom in turmoil, failed to restore the situation cause of weakening Malacca state government.

Portuguese in Malacca

MalaccaPortuguese only knows about the existence of Malacca port on their first visit to Goa in India in the year 1498. By the year 1506, the information about the port wealth already been known by some higher authority in Lisbon. As a safety measure, the first attempt Portuguese to Malacca by using the Muslim merchant vessels. In the year 1505, two Portuguese sailors named Francisco Pereira and Estevão de Vilhena together with translator sailed to Malacca. On the way, they were attacked by the local Muslim group during a stop at the Coromandel Coast and forced them to return.

In 1508, the Portuguese decides to send a fleet directly to Malacca from Lisbon headed by Diogo Lopes de Sequieira. The fleet arrives in Malacca in September 1509. At the beginning, of their arrival was warmly welcomed by the Sultan Mahmud Shah (the last Sultan) and trade agreements have been made with the local government. But a good relationship cannot be sustained because of pressure from the traders from Java and Gujaret. As a result of the pressure, the Sultan Mahmud had to cancel an agreement with the Portuguese.

Sultan and Bendahara (treasurer) agreed to a plan to kill Diogo Lopes de Sequira and followers in a dinner event. But the plan was leaked by a predominantly female Persian. A result of the incident a few Portuguese soldiers were killed and captured by Sultan Malacca force Diogo Lopes de Sequira returns to Goa, India leaving behind some men in captivity and lost trading goods.

Portuguese in Goa cannot act immediately as they were not fully capture the Goa city. On March 1511, a fleet headed by Alfonso de Albuquerque with eighteen ship and 1000 soldier sailed to Malacca. Alfonso demands the release of Portuguese men in the prison, they are allowed to build the fortress and all their trading goods that been seize must be return.

Negotiations between the Portuguese and the Sultan last for several days. Before arriving to Malacca, the Portuguese captured merchant vessels from Gujarat. Portuguese aggressive action is worrying Sultan would threaten the position of the trade ship. Sultan who looks like agree with Alfonso demand, but does not make any actions, Alfonso suspected the Sultan tried to delay the time to get help from outside.

On 25, July 1511, with support from some Chinese and Indian traders, Portuguese launch the first strike by invaded the bridge connecting to the center of the city, but Portuguese not able to depend it due sustained attack by local people. On 8 or 9 of August Portuguese come back by destroying the bridge and systematic bombed the city. On August 25, 1511, Malacca officially fell to the Portuguese . Sultan Mahmud Shah had fled to Muar. In 1513, Sultan Mahmud moved to Pahang and later to Bentan. Sultan Mahmud, who was so frustrated with the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese kill his son Sultan Ahmad Shah for failing to undertake his task to defend Malacca

Between 1515 to 1519, Sultan Mahmud launched five attacks on the Portuguese fort. The last attempt was made in 1523 where Sultan Mahmud besieged the Portuguese fort to restrict the supply of food, but the effort failed. In 1526, the Portuguese launched a counter-attack lead to the Sultan and his followers retreated to Kampar Sumatra. The death of Sultan Mahmud in 1528 causing the Malay Sultanate of Malacca became paralyzed and vanishing. After the fall of the merchant traders were no longer coming to Malacca port. Instead, they trade to the port of Aceh.

The fall Malacca into Portuguese ended the era of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca, the kingdom only in power for 111 years.

Before The Arrival of Dutch

The main goal Dutch come to Asia:-

  1. Dominate the spice trade
  2. Dominate cloth trade in India
  3. Dominate Tin trade in Malay State

Before the establishment of Dutch East India Company, Dutch traders already organized trading activity with spice supplier in Malay Archipelago. In 1595 the first Dutch ship arrival to do a direct trading from its source. The huge profit from the expedition encourages Dutch to established Dutch East India Company or VOC. In 1603, the first permanent trading post was set up in Banten West Jawa, in 1611 Batavia was chosen as second trading post for VOC.

Dutch in Malacca

Malacca Dutch in the beginning, not interested to attack Portuguese in Malacca. However due to strong trade competition with Portuguese, British and others western powers. Dutch under East India Company has to act quickly to defend their investment. Dutch fear Malacca will be conquered by others western powers and controlling the movement of the ship in Malacca Strait to Batavia.

At the time, Portuguese has transforms Malacca as a fortress that cannot be impenetrable.Three efforts was made by Dutch to eliminate Portuguese powers. The first in 1597, second try in 1602. The third attempt Dutch team up with Johor Kingdom besieged the Portuguese fort. Barriers to entry of food done by the people of Johor in the river and remote areas while the Dutch control of the coastal area. During the siege, both parties exchange cannon fire destroying the Hospital, Church and the fortress wall. Malaria disease outbreak among both soldier and wet season demoralize both parties mood for fighting.

At 10am 14 January 1641. Portuguese raises the white flag admitted losing to Dutch after ruling Malacca for 130 years. Although the Dutch does not intend to make Malacca as the administrative center and main port, they stay in Malacca for 180 years. Dutch has a different policy than the Portuguese. Dutch officials are not encouraged to marry with local women. Dutch also prefers to use the service‘s traders from China than from India because intermarriage within the Portuguese army with Indian women. Restriction ​​on the Portuguese society in which they are not permitted to have its own church, restricted movement and priests are not allowed to conduct a religious ceremony.

As Portuguese, Dutch also involved in the conflict with another local kingdom surrounding Malay Archipelago such the war with Raja Haji a Bugis warrior. Raja Haji had a good connection with Dutch until 1782. Dutch failed to fulfill their promises to share the spoils of the English ship as agreed. Raja Haji reacts attacking the Dutch in Malacca. Dutch hit back by early morning ambush Raja Haji position in the Teluk Ketapang cause the huge fatalities on both sides and the death of Raja Haji.

British in Malacca

Two crucial wars with Bugis people in 1755 – 1758 and 1783 to 1784 cause the Dutch lose it influence in the area and also sapped the assets of East India Company. British at the same time just won an Anglo-Dutch war against Dutch and successful influenced some local ruler to support them.

In 1795, the Dutch Revolutionary Patriot Movements invited the French Revolutionaries group attacking the King of Netherlands, forced William of Orange fled to England to get a protection. To prevent the Dutch colony fell to the other Western powers, King Orange wrote a special instruction letter to all Dutch Administration Governor in overseas to handed over power to the British. The letter was known as Kew letter because its was written by King of Orange from Dutch House at Kew Palace.

According to Treat of Vienna in 1814, Malacca supposed to be returned back to Dutch in 1818 but it’s revert back to British in 1824 following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty 1824. This Agreement is made to resolve the dispute that emerged after the 1814 Anglo-Dutch Treaty. Among the important conditions of this treaty were: – Netherlands to recognize the position of English in Singapore and Penang, Netherlands will surrender Malacca to the British and in return the British would give Bencoolen (Bengkulu)  to the Netherlands.

Under the British controlled, the city became quiet without much activity happen. British more concentrate to develop Penang and Singapore as their trading Port. Malacca became part of Federation of Malaya in 31st August 1957.

List of Attraction and Things To Do in Malacca

As the state that been colonized for 446 years by Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japan. Almost all places of interest in Malacca is history oriented such an old Church, Administrative Offices, traditional Houses, Museum and food. Get a tour guide if tourist plan to do a day trip to Malacca or stay for a night.

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List of Malacca World Heritage Site

  1. Stadhuys Building
  2. Queen Victoria Fountain
  3. Jonker Street
  4. Heeran Street
  5. Porta De Santiago
  6. Saint Paul Church
  7. Saint John Fort
  8. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
  9. Sam Poh Kong Temple
  10. Tenkera Mosque
  11. Kampung Hulu Mosque
  12. China Town
  13. Saint Peter Church
  14. Saint Xavier Church

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Other Attractions in Malacca

  1. Malacca River Cruise
  2. Mini Malaysia
  3. Maritime Museum Malacca
  4. Replica of Sultan Malacca Palaces
  5. Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
  6. Menara Taming Sari
  7. Food::-
    1. Stingray Asam Pedas
    2. Laksa
    3. Asam Laksa
    4. Chicken Rice Ball
    5. Cendol
    6. Coconut Shake
    7. Pineapple Tart
    8. Nyonya Kueh

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