THE PORTUGUESE CONQUEST
At the time of the Portuguese arrival in the Asian seas, Malacca, thanks to its strategic position on the strait bearing the same name, was a remarkable trading center for the trade and shunting of spices. At that time, Malacca was ruled by a Muslim Sultanate. The town extended its influence over a vast territory, which included the whole Malaya Peninsula. Its port was frequented by a multitude of ships and merchants from all the Asian nations of the time: Arabia, Persia, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Ceylon, and Bengal. In it were gathered and sold all the Asian spices: pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
After their arrival in India, the Portuguese soon became aware of the importance of the city. An expedition sailed to Malacca in 1509 but failed, and many of the Portuguese were captured and imprisoned by the Sultan.
In 1511, the ViceRoy of India, Afonso de Albuquerque, decided to organize an expedition destined to conquer Malacca. At the head of 1.100 - 1.200 men and 14 ships, Afonso de Albuquerque arrived in view of Malacca in June of 1511 and immediately demanded the rescue of the Portuguese that were taken prisoners in the 1509 expedition. The Sultan tried to gain time to strengthen the town defenses. He was well aware of the small number of Portuguese troops and was confident on his powerful army of 20.000 men and 2.000 guns.
After some days of preparations, on 10 August 1511, the Portuguese renewed the attack. Albuquerque had the assistance of some Chinese junks that were anchored in the port. The use of a junk offered by the Chinese merchants was decisive, as this junk was used as a bridgehead. This time the attack was successful and the Portuguese finally succeeded in establishing a bridgehead in the town.
There were then several days of siege in which the Portuguese bombarded the city. On 24 August 1511 the Portuguese again attacked only to discover that the Sultan had escaped. With Malacca now in Portuguese hands, they sacked the town, but following Albuquerque’s orders, they respected the property of those who sided with them.
B. W. Diffie and G. D. Winius in the book 'Foundations of the Portuguese Empire 1415-1580' write: 'the capture of Asia's greatest trading city by a mere 900 Portuguese and 200 Indians must rank as an event in the history of European expansion no less stunning than the better known conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernando Cortés'.
The gate to Albuquerque’s fortress 'A Famosa'. Here, the Vice Roy ordered the erection of a large stone monument inscribed with the names of the men having taken part in the exploit.
MALACCA A PORTUGUESE TOWN
Malacca was one of the three key-points, with Goa and Hormuz, which gave Portugal the control over the main Asiatic trade routes. After the conquest, Albuquerque immediately ordered the building of a fortress on the south side of the river. This fortress was called 'A Famosa' and it was finished in November 1511. Ruy de Brito Patalim was appointed Captain of the 'Fortaleza de Malacca' and about 500 Portuguese soldiers were left as garrison. Shortly thereafter, Albuquerque prepared the ships for the return with the Malacca’s booty. However, during the return voyage to Goa his ship 'Flor do Mar' sank during a storm and all the treasures fetched in Malacca’s were lost. Several Florentine merchants took part in the Portuguese enterprises in Asia. Amongst them, Giovanni da Empoli, was present in Malacca during the siege and the conquest. He described his experiences in an interesting letter to his father.
After the conquest of Malacca, Portugal’s policy in the Malaya Peninsula was either to establish alliances with local rulers or to convince the adjoining Kingdoms to accept Portuguese suzerainty.
From his base at Johore, the old Sultan of Malacca repeatedly attacked Malacca in 1517, 1520, 1521 and in 1525. At last, in 1583, a peace treaty was signed. Malacca was repeatedly under siege in 1550, 1567, 1571 and the main enemies were Johore and Atjeh (in Sumatra). In Malacca, Albuquerque established a new administration, minted a new currency and built a wooden chapel close to the fortress. Adjoining the fortress, a stone church dedicated to 'Nossa Senhora da Anunciada' was erected in 1521, and later to 'Nossa Senhora da Assumpção'. On 4 February 1558 this church was consecrated as a Cathedral. Many Portuguese 'Casados', mostly artisans, merchants or farmers, settled in Malacca.
In 1532, the Confraria da Misericórdia was founded and a beautiful wooden hospital for the poor was also built. The church also started a school. Active missionary work began in 1545 with the arrival of St. Francisco Xavier. In 1552 was set up the 'Camara' (Municipal Council) of Malacca.
In 1602-1603 the Dutch blockaded Malacca by sea, but this was only a first timid attempt.
The last siege of Portuguese Malacca begun in June 1640 when a combined Dutch-Johore fleet of 1.500 Dutchmen, 1.500 Malays, 12 Dutch ships, 6 sloops and 40 Johore vessels was sighted off the Malacca port. The siege was extremely hard and nearly 1.500 Dutchmen lost theirs lives. After five months of siege, the Portuguese defenders were without gunpowder and with a severe scarcity of food. Despite the difficulties, under the command of Dom Manuel de Sousa Coutinho, which was sick, they were able to hold out the siege. At the time of the Dutch attack in June 1640, there was, in Malacca, a garrison of about 50 Portuguese soldiers, more than 300 Portuguese 'Casados' with their families and 2.000 or 3.000 Mestiços and Native inhabitants. On 14 January 1641, Dutch commander Willmsoon Kartekoe ordered the last desperate assault. The Portuguese defenders made a fierce final resistance in the Fortaleza Velha and the Dutch were finally driven back.
Detail of the gate of 'A Famosa' where the Portuguese made the last attempt to resist the Dutch attack.
In desperation, the Dutch commander offered to the Portuguese honourable terms of surrender. The brave (and dying) Portuguese commander accepted the generous terms. Dying two days later, he was buried by the Dutch with military honours in the church of São Domingo. The city of Malacca was thus in Portuguese hands from 24 August 1511 till 14 January 1641.
- Fernandis, Gerard 'Save our Portuguese heritage conference 95 Malacca, Malaysia'
The descendants of the Portuguese of Malacca still today speak Creole Portuguese (Papia Kristang), they are Christians and have Portuguese surnames. The Eurasian community has 12,000 members in the Malaya Peninsula.
The Portuguese called Ilha das Naus (Pulau Java or Pulau Melaka) a small island outside the harbour of Malacca.
MUAR: a Portuguese fort in Malay Peninsula
The Portuguese had a second fort in Malay Peninsula, this fort was in Muar, and it now vanished.
The actual name should be Pueek ( 05.09N -97.13E ).
Malacca (Malay: Melaka, dubbed as The Historical State or Negeri Bersejarah amongst locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south. The state's capital is Malacca Town. This historical city centre has been listed as a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 7 July 2008.
Although Malacca was once one of the oldest Malay sultanates, the state has no Sultan today. Instead, the head of state is the Yang di-Pertua Negeri or Governor.
The offshore Pulau Besar, Pulau Upeh and Tanjung Tuan are also parts of Malacca.
Malacca has a population of 759,000 as of 2007, being composed of:
* Malays: 57%;
The major towns of Malacca are Malacca Town, Alor Gajah, Masjid Tanah, Jasin, Merlimau, Batu Berendam and Ayer Keroh.
Sultanate of Malacca
According to a popular legend, Parameswara was resting under a gray tree near a river while hunting, when one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer. In self-defence, the mouse deer pushed the dog into the river. Impressed by the courage of the deer, and taking it as a propitious omen of the weak overcoming the powerful, Parameswara decided on the spot to found an empire on the very place that he was sitting. He named it 'Melaka' after the tree under which he had taken shelter. Another version of the story says that Parameswara chose the name 'Malacca' from the Tamil word 'mallakka' which means upside down or on ones back. Old illustrations of the scene where the mousedeer kicks the dog shows the dog falling on its back into the river, hence the inspiration. Parameswara converted to Islam in 1414 and changed his name to 'Raja Iskandar Shah'. In collaboration with allies from the sea-people (orang laut) the wandering proto-Malay privateers of the Straits, he established Malacca as major international port by compelling passing ships to call there, and establishing fair and reliable facilities for warehousing and trade. Mass settlement of Chinese, mostly from the imperial and merchant fleet occurred during the reign of Parameswara, occurred in the vicinity of the Bukit China ('Chinese Hill') area, which had among the best Feng Shui (geomancy) in Malacca then. Sultan Iskandar Shah died in 1424, and was succeeded by his son, Sri Maharaja also called Sultan Muhammad Shah.
The prosperity of Malacca attracted the invasion of the Siamese. Attempts in 1446 and 1456, however, were warded off by Tun Perak, the then Bendahara (a position similar to Prime Minister). The development of relations between Malacca and China was at that time a strategic decision to ward off further Siamese attacks.
Because of its strategic location, Malacca was an important stopping point for Zheng He's spectacular fleet. To enhance relations, Hang Li Po, allegedly a princess of the Ming Emperor of China, arrived in Malacca, accompanied by 500 attendants, to marry Sultan Manshur Shah who reigned from 1456 until 1477. Her attendants married the locals and settled mostly in Bukit China (Bukit Cina).(See Zheng He in Malacca).
A cultural result of the vibrant trade was the expansion of the Peranakan people, who spread to other major settlements in the region.
During its prime Malacca was a powerful Sultanate which extended its rule over the southern Malay Peninsula and much of Sumatra. Its rise helped to hold off the Thai's southwards encroachment and arguably hasten the decline of the rival Majapahit Empire of Java which was in decline as Malacca was rising. Malacca was also central in the spread of Islam in the Malay Archipelago.
It soon became clear that Portuguese control of Malacca did not mean they now controlled Asian trade that centred around it. Their Malaccan rule was severely hampered by administrative and economic difficulties. Rather than achieving their ambition of dominating Asian trade, the Portuguese had fundamentally disrupted the organisation of the network. The centralised port of exchange of Asian wealth exchange had now gone, as was a Malay state to police the Straits of Malacca that made it safe for commercial traffic. Trade was now scattered over a number of ports amongst bitter warfare in the Straits.
The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier spent several months in Malacca in 1545, 1546 and 1549. In 1641 the Dutch defeated the Portuguese to capture Malacca with the help of the Sultan of Johore. The Dutch ruled Malacca from 1641 to 1795 but they were not interested in developing it as a trading centre, placing greater importance to Batavia (Jakarta) in Indonesia as their administrative centre. However they still built their landmark better known as the Stadthuys or Red Building.
Malacca was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen on Sumatra. From 1826 to 1946 Malacca was governed, first by the British East India Company and then as a Crown Colony. It formed part of the Straits Settlements, together with Singapore and Penang. After the dissolution of this crown colony, Malacca and Penang became part of the Malayan Union, which later became Malaysia.
The Chief Minister's Department is the administrative pillar of the State Government, and is responsible for the overall administration of the State, as well as its political interest. The administrative complex houses the Chief Minister's office, as well as the office of the State Secretariat. For administrative purposes, Malacca is divided into three districts under separate jurisdiction:
* Malacca Central District & Land Office
These offices render various services and facilities to the people in their daily lives.
Malacca holds up several modern shopping complexes to attract more visitors to the state. Examples include Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre at Plaza Mahkota (City Centre), Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall (which is situated on the historical field of Padang Pahlawan, where Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj announced the independence day of the Federation Of Malaya), Melaka Mall Shopping Complex (formerly known as Kotamas Shopping Complexe) and Plaza Melaka Raya at the Taman Melaka Raya.
Malacca also has its very own hypermarket and departmental store. A few examples include Parkson Departmental Store (Mahkota Parade and Melaka Mall), Jusco Supermarket and Departmental Store (Ayer Keroh and coming soon near Melaka Sentral), Tesco Hypermarket and Giant Hypermarket at Bachang Utama; also a Supermarket at (Mahkota Parade).
Apart from tourism, Malacca is also a manufacturing centre for products ranging from food and consumer products, through high-tech weaponry and automotive components to electronic and computer parts. There are at least 23 industrial estates that houses some 500 factories from the United States, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore.
The state is much sought after for medical education with the establishment of the Melaka Manipal Medical College in Bukit Baru. It has produced many doctors who are serving the country or working abroad since its inception in 1997.
The state also has a twin campus of Multimedia University which is located in Bukit Beruang. The campus currently attracts many foreign students, especially from the Middle East and Africa, through its computer and engineering programmes. The university also features degree programmes in fields like robotics, bio-instrumentation and law. Most of the student population of Multimedia University is drawn from its foundation programmes, also known as the Alpha Programmes.
Malacca also has several public universities and colleges such as Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Lendu, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, UTeM (previously known as Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia, KUTKM) located in Ayer Keroh, Kolej Yayasan Melaka (KYM), Bukit Baru and Kolej Teknologi Islam Antarabangsa Melaka (KTIAM).
Malacca has its own boarding school called Sekolah Menengah Sains Muzaffar Syah Melaka. The intake of students to this school is based on the Ministry of Education of Malaysia. Usually students with great achievement will be chosen to enter this school. Students normally come from this state, Negeri Sembilan, Johor or from the Klang Valley.
Hospitals in Malacca state are listed below:
* Government hospitals
Currently, both these government hospitals serve as teaching hospitals for Melaka Manipal Medical College.
* Private Hospitals
The Malays who are the original settlers of Malacca since 1400, form the largest community. The Malaccan Malays are rich in culture from their daily life to the building arts. The famous Malacca Steps or Tangga Melaka are common in front of many Malay houses in Malacca.
Two of the most important museums in Malacca are the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum.
Malacca is well-known for its food. Most notable of all is the traditional Malay dishes like ikan asam pedas, sambal belacan and cencaluk.
Belacan, a Malay variety of shrimp paste, is prepared from fresh tiny shrimp of a species known as geragau in Malay. These are mashed into a paste and Dried in little mashed lumps, then pounded again and formed into large balls, dried again for a week or so, wrapped in plastic and stored for future use. It is in this form that most of these blachan balls are sold .Belacan is used as an ingredient in many dishes, or eaten on its own with rice. A common preparation is sambal belacan, made by mixing belacan with chilli peppers, minced garlic, shallot paste and sugar and then fried. The aroma from the frying mixture can be unpalatable to Westerners who have not become accustomed to it, but is an absolute delight to the Asian connoisseur. Melaka is also famous for satay celup. Raw fish and meat are skewered onto sticks which is then cooked in a peanut sauce. The satay celup is often self service where you pay for individual sticks.
There is also Nyonya-Baba cuisine which is a mixture of Chinese (mostly southern Hokkien or Fujian influence), Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, British and Malay cooking with most dishes being spicy in nature. Interesting dishes of the Peranakan include Itek Tim (a soup containing duck and salted vegetables), Ayam Pong Teh (chicken casserole with salted brown-bean sauce which is usually served with potatoes) as well as the famous Nyonya Laksa. Chicken Rice Ball is another dish popular with domestic Chinese tourists.
Malacca's ethnic Portuguese population are the descendants of Portuguese colonists from the 16th and 17th centuries. Even to this day, many of the ancient traditions passed down since the Portuguese occupation are still practised, i.e. 'Intrudu' from portuguese word 'Entrudo' (a water festival that marks the beginning of Lent, the Catholic fasting period), 'branyu' (traditional dance), 'Santa Cruz' (a yearly Festival of street celebrations).
The Portuguese colonists contributed dishes like Devil's Curry and Portuguese egg tarts to the town's already rich cuisine. Ikan Bakar (roasted fish) restaurants in Umbai, Serkam and Alai are also popular.
Malacca has a bus station, Melaka Central which has air-conditioned waiting areas and separate areas for buses plying the town routes and for buses plying the intertown routes with regular bus services to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and other places in Malaysia. Batu Berendam Airport in Batu Berendam mainly serves chartered flights from around the region. It also serves as a flight school for Malaysia Flying Academy. It is now refurbished into a brand new international Airport for the state of Melaka.
The Ayer Keroh exit at the North-South highway is the main entry to Malacca. There are two additional exits along the North-South highway, namely the Simpang Ampat and Jasin exits
Popular historical attractions
In order to attract more tourists to Malacca, the State government has built a number of museums to house its rich cultural heritage.
Key people from Malacca
* Tun Ghafar Baba, Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister (1986-1993), UMNO Vice-President (1962-1987), Malacca Chief Minister (1959-1963)
Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
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