The Maritime Museum, by the banks of the Malacca River, is housed in the life-size replica of the Flor de la Mar, the Portuguese galleon which sank in the Malacca Harbour in the 16th century.
The written historiography collections with importance which had information about Malacca, “Letters from Alfonso de Albuquerque” in 7 volumes and the six Chroniclers - Joao de Barros, Diogo do Couto, Fernao Lopes de Castanheda, Gaspar Correia, Damiao de Goes and Manuel de Faria e Sousa. The document itself had information about what really happen to the ship Flor de La Mar.
On the Document 2 (1511), Portuguese Republic Ministry of Colonies Asia Joao de Barros, Chapter II, “What Alfonso went through along the route that he took fom Cochin to the island of Sumatra, where he was visited by the King of Pedir and Pasai and what else he did up to the time he arrived in Malacca”, Document no. 13 noted “ …together with other jewellery taken as spoils from Malacca and put on aboard the galleon Flor de La Mar, as we shall further on”.
The unfortunate event that bring Flor de La Mar to bottom of the sea stated on the Book Seven Of The Second Decade of Asia by Joao de Barros, “The Achievements of the Potuguese in the exploration and conquests in the lands and seas of the east, after Alfonso de Albuquerque’s departure from Malacca to his entry into the red sea” Document no. 224, “ Above all they had to brave the fury of the storms at sea and the danger of the sandbanks near the coasts….”, Document no.225, “The truth of this we are going to see in the notable example of Alfonso de Albuquerque, who left Malacca with his galleons filled with trophies. Sailed as far as the Kingdom of Aru at the end of the region called Timia Point in Sumatra. There at night his galleon was dashed against a hidden reef and broke up into two parts with the poop in one section and the prow in the other, because the ship was old and the seas heavy”.
Alfonso indeed inside the ship and his men unable to get aid from other ships that sails along with them. By the following morning, Pero de Alpoem, a captain from another ship called “Trindade”, gave aid for the shipwrecked men in a ship’s boat and save them from tragic fate. During the period of danger, Alfonso had many precious things in his ship but the only “precious things” he saved was a little girl, the daughter of one of his slaves, while standing on a raft he held the child in his arms – the only things that he saved from among the rich spoils he had obtain from Malacca which were in his galleon. The great loss of Alfonso which is refers to his honor on the ship were the two lions hollowed iron, fine piece of craftsmanship and artistry, which the emperor of China had sent as gift to the Sultan of Malacca.
Another interesting note on the event was the mutiny by the Javanese workers, on a Junk in the company of Jorges Nunes de Leao, the junk did not steer along the right course and entered the port of Aru, where the Javanese and the natives robbed it. Alfonso did go the wreck site with seeking help of Captain Jorge Bothello by using a ship Carravel type and enquire the natives who dived for pearls to dive the wreck site. However, the natives near the coastal area of Pasai might have robbed most of the cargo.
There were more than 10 ships involved in the Malacca invasion by the Portuguese in 1511, to name few, Flor de La Mar, Trindade, Anunciada, Santo Antonio, Santa Cruz, Bretao, Taforeia, Enxobregas, Cambaia, Santa Caterina, Joia, Santiago and Sao Joao. The Portuguese were the first pioneering Europeans to established empire in Southeast Asia by the invasion of Malacca , August 1511 througout 130 years before the Dutch did. Alfonso de Alburquerque died in 1515, where he left behind the legacy of navigations and established Portuguese maritime control from the Persian Gulf to Malacca, to the great enrichment of the monarchy.
However, some questionable speculations about The Flor de La Mar cargoes: where did it really go? Where all the treasures of Malacca Sultanate that had been robbed? If the ship were broke into two parts, why nowadays people claim that they knew and found the wreck?
If we calculate for 500 years including the changing of tides, currents and based on the unstable geographical of Sumatera, is the ship still there? Just for comparison, the Fort Santiago at Malacca A’ Famosa fortress if we look at the picture closely we see that the sea is near the fort but 500 years later when compare to the picture, it is about 5 kilometers out from the cultural sites. Now look at the Sumatera coastal area and think again. More research is needed so that the cultural heritage of Malaysia, Indonesia and Portugal will be preserved.
Phil-Sherman William @ Mohd. Sherman bin SauffiMaritime Archaeological Museum
'Frol De La Mar' There are many styles of the name for this wreck, 'Flor De La mar' Frol de La Mar' and 'Flor do Mar' all of which mean 'Flower of the Sea' Albuquerque himself in a letter to the King of Portugal calls it the 'Frol De La Mar' so I use this one.
Gold, Diamonds, Rubies, Ornate golden figurines with eyes, tongue, teeth, and nails made out of precious stones. Some accounts say that there was 60 tonnes of booty on board when she sank, there are no known manifests of the cargo yet uncovered or disclosed, but think about this? 2000 pieces of precious items were taken from the Sultanate of Malacca's palace alone, it took three days of ferrying cargo back and forth to the Frol De La Mar and two other ships to load all the precious cargo, think about this to? Some of the artifacts were gifts from the king of Siam (Thailand) to the king of Portugal, but most of the cargo was from Malacca? The richest seaport in Asia at that time, As one of Albuquerque's personal secretaries puts it when speaking about the loss, and I quote: On that moment the nau broke in two by the deck and sunk. And with it was lost a great treasure in gold and precious stones, greater as never before in India and never again in the future. :End quote
Here's another quote from one of his secretaries:
Aboard these ships was the rich plunder of Malacca the most rich objects ever seen, which the Governor brought on this trip intending to offer them to D. Maria, the Queen, and to the King himself. I personally heard from him that he was carrying a four leg trepeccedila d'assentar (table) in which the queen of malaca used to take her meals, that worth eighty thousand cruzados, for such was the value offered by the captains, even the merchants of Malacca offered him three hundred thousand cruzados just for its precious stones. And he was also carrying four sitting lions made of gold, and vatildeos (by being hollow) they held perfumes inside, and they used to be in the chamber of the king of Malacca, their eyes, tongue, teeth and nails were made of precious stones, and their value was estimated in two hundred thousand cruzados; besides these precious objects there were other but smaller items, about which, I saw him [the Governor] swear, to the Santiago's habit he was wearing, that all the presents for the King, once in Lisboa, would worth one conto of gold.
A salvage attempt, South East Asia Salvage. (S.E.A.S)
Here is a quick overview of the S.E.A.S. attempt at salvaging the Frol De La Mar, this was written by one of the divers on the project, and despite all the press releases and stories rumored about the Frol De La Mar being found, This is the truth? and i quote.
(1). 1989 a group of Australian and American treasure salvers along with Indonesian businessman Tjetty form 'South, East, Asia, Salvage'. Mr. Paul Martino being the owner.
(2). Clues South, East, Asia, Salvage, had to work with, (1). The ship was lost on a rock or reef on the coast of Sumatra just opposite the kingdom of Daru, (2). Survivors had managed to reach the river Pacem. (3). The ships final resting place was that the rock (reef) was within a cannon shot from shore.
(3). Two principal survey points being established as Tamiang, and Pasai, approximate distance between them, 60 miles. Decision is made to survey the entire 60 miles between between the two main survey points.
(4). May 1989 surveys begin, two and one half months later the items found are several old anchors, A Chinese junk rudder, A steamship propeller, A sunken W.W.II wreck of which a gas mask, brass wheel, and some bottles were found.
(5). March 1990 a decision is made to abandon the tamiang area and move north to Pasai.
(6). March 8th 1990 surveys begin around Karang Timau.
(7). March 15th 1990 S.E.A.S. hires Archaeologist Robert Marx who claims to have the location of the Frol De La Mar.
(8). March 25th 1990 a ten meter long piece of wood is found, it is believed to be from the Frol De La Mar.
(9). March 26th 1990 two hundred meters southwest of tengah reef a large magnetometer reading is registered, Marx claims it is ferrous metal from the Frol De La Mar, dives with the hand held maggy reveal nothing. Airlifting begins and a hole is dug 14 feet deep and 10 feet wide, Nothing Found?. Airlifting is abandoned and surveys continue.
(10). August 1st 1990 digging continues with a clamshell at the site 200 meters southwest of tengah reef, three months later all that is found is some bottles and wood, No treasure. On tengah reef itself a few ballast stones were found.
(11). October 29th 1990 Survey and salvage is abandoned on the Frol De La Mar and since no one has ever returned.
(12). 1992 South. East. Asia. Salvage. Dissolves
Magazine article exposed (Skin Diver Mag. March 92)
In the march 1992 issue of Skin Diver Magazine was front page news '80 Billion dollar Treasure' lost and found, inside was a four or five page article which described the conquests of Albuquerque and his fellows on the sea road to the orient, and the conquest of 'Malacca' the richest seaport in Asia for that time. Very well written and the history was well researched, theres only one thing? They never found the wreck, have a look at this book. 'Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in South East Asia' by Tony wells, there a section devoted to the truth of the search for the 'Flor Do Mar' . also in the Skin diver mag article it had pictures of porcelain figurines and a Golden statue? Rumor has it the picture of the golden figure was snapped outside of the antique shop where they were looking at it? rumor also has it that the porcelain figurines were also obtained from an antique shop?.
Now how could these items have escaped Mr. Tony Wells the author of the book above and a diver on the project, he claims never to have seen them come up from the seabed, as do all the other divers on the project, as well as the Indonesian Government. There never was any kind of solid evidence that they had even remotely located the Frol De La Mar.
More research (A different point of view)
;First things first? Lets take a closer look at the research S.E.A.S. had to work with, (1) The ship was lost on a rock or reef on the coast of Sumatra just opposite the kingdom of Daru. (2). Survivors had managed to reach the river Pacem. (3)The ships final resting place was that the rock or reef was within a cannon shot distance from shore.
(1). As far as I know and from the research I had seen and from that that was published in shipwrecks and sunken treasure in south east Asia by Tony Wells who was a diver on the project, Nobody really knew where the kingdom of Daru was (one account even says that it,s on the west coast of sumatra), they assumed that it was the modern day Teluk Aru which is just south of their no.1 survey point (Tamiang) well the modern day Teluk Aru is not where the Historical kingdom of Daru was located.
(2). The survivors had managed to reach the river Pacem, well again we have a misunderstanding because it was assumed that the river pacem corresponded to the Pasai river, the name Pasai doesnt always corospond to Pacem. it depends on the chronicler.
(3). The ships final resting place was within a cannon shot distance from shore?( not according to the eyewitness, he says they were surrounded by shoals a alot further than a cannon could fire. ) Ive been researching this wreck for five years (as of 1997) and not once have I come across any records that say she sank a cannon shot distance from shore, a cannon shot from shore is very close? its not consistent with the eyewitness.
(4). The last piece of research was the 'X marx the spot' map supplied by their acting Archaeologist Mr. Robert Marx, this map actually had on it 'Aqui Seperdo De Alfonso De Albuquerque' which translates to 'Here Lies Alfonso De Albuquerque' at the northeast end of Sumatra where they clamshelled for months and found nothing. (Tengah Reef). After that One would think that after this something was wrong with the map, 'There Is' the X is several miles south east of diamond point which puts them well offshore, if currents were running north they wouldn’t have reached land..
Final Note: In March of 98 an Eyewitness account was located, unfortunately it brings some disappointing news?
The account says that the Frol De La Mar sank in 4 fathoms of water (24 feet). This vessel was said to have the highest of both fore and aft castles of Albuquerque's fleet and comparable to that of the Chinese junks, if this is the case then I would assume that they were in between 20-30 feet high, well if she sank in the depth that was said (and this would fit because all along the northeast coast of Sumatra close to shore these kind of depths would be found) then chances are that this wreck was still visible from the surface and very accessible to the local divers of that area, reports also state that when she sank she later broke into two parts so she probably ended up laying on her side, if so she would only lie 5-10 feet below the surface and still very accessible to the local pearl divers, so you would have to assume that most of the cargo would have been salvaged, also there is an account that says the son in law of the King of Aru (the King of Bata) after the sinking became very wealthy. but there was also a junk with them that was forced into the shore and that it was carrying large amounts of plunder because they couldn’t fit it all on the Frol.
Here are some reason why I would continue: she certainly would not be worth what most people think, but you have to think about this, when she sank she broke into two pieces, I would assume that a lot of the cargo would have spilled out onto the seabed, and when she sank according to the eyewitness she immediately filled with water thus not very accessible to the Portuguese, although im sure that most of the cargo was salved by the locals think about this.
(1). She sank in a high current area, 2 knots plus and in a storm
(2). Most of the northeast coast of Sumatra is very muddy and has zero visibility water
(3). The bottom is comprised of mud and sand, the smaller cargo would have sank into it very quickly, especially in a storm.
(4). The cargo was comprised of Gold, Diamonds, Rubies, jars of gold dust, etc. small items (easily sinking into the seabed)
All this being the case chances are that when the wreck occurred is was a violent one and strong enough to break the vessel into two pieces, so it probably cracked a few chests open as well and onto the seabed, and being in a very high current area with a muddy and sandy bottom as well as in the stormy season, the cargo or what was left that would not be easily seen and was covered quickly by mud and sand. I would say that there is in all probability a third of the cargo left. The Frol De La Mar has been reported to be the richest shipwreck to sink in that part of the world, and by reading some of the stories written you would think so to. So what would be left to this day is only speculation based on available information, common sense, and a definite will to survive in this industry. I personally think that its worth going after and that all involved would profit to a satisfactory degree, its a fantastic story of Portuguese conquest, and it all happened nearly 500 years ago.
A galleon was a large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by the nations of Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. Whether used for war or commerce, they were generally armed with demi-culverin.
Galleons were an evolution in the caravel and carrack (also a nao or nau: Spanish and Portuguese respectively for "vessel"), for the new great ocean going voyages. A lowering of the forecastle and elongation of the hull gave an unprecedented level of stability in the water, and reduced wind resistance at the front, leading to a faster, more maneuverable vessel. The galleon differed from the older types primarily by being longer, lower and narrower, with a square tuck stern instead of a round tuck, and by having a snout or head projecting forward from the bows below the level of the forecastle. In Portugal at least, carracks were usually very large ships for their time (often over 1000 tons), while galleons were mostly under 500 tons, although the Manila galleons were to reach up to 2000 tons. Carracks tended to be lightly armed and used for transporting cargo, while galleons were purpose-built warships, and were stronger, more heavily armed, and also cheaper to build (5 galleons could cost around the same as 3 carracks) and were therefore a much better investment for use as warships. There are nationalistic disputes about the origin of the galleon, which are complicated by its evolutionary development, but each Atlantic sea-power developed types suited to their needs, while constantly learning from their rivals.
The galleon was powered entirely by sail, carried three to five masts, with a lateen sail continuing to be used on the last (usually third) mast. They were used in both military and trade applications, most famously in the Spanish treasure fleet, and the Manila Galleons. In fact, galleons were so versatile that a single vessel may have been refitted for wartime and peacetime roles several times during its lifespan. The galleon was the prototype of all three or more masted, square rigged ships, for over two and a half centuries, including the later full rigged ship.
The principal warships of the opposing English and Spanish fleets in the 1588 confrontation of the Spanish Armada were galleons, with the modified English "race built" galleons developed by John Hawkins proving decisive, while the capacious Spanish galleons, designed primarily as transports for long ocean voyages, proved incredibly durable in the battles and in the great storm on the voyage home; most survived.
Galleons were constructed from oak (for the keel), pine (for the masts) and various hardwoods for hull and decking. Hulls were usually carvel-built. The expenses involved in galleon construction were enormous. Hundreds of expert tradesmen (including carpenters, pitch-melters, blacksmiths, coopers, shipwrights, etc.) worked day and night for months before a galleon was seaworthy. To cover the expense, galleons were often funded by groups of wealthy businessmen who pooled resources for a new ship. Therefore, most galleons were originally consigned for trade, although those captured by rival nations were usually put into military service.
Because of the long periods often spent at sea and poor conditions on board, much of the crew often perished during the voyage; therefore advanced rigging systems were developed so that the vessel could be sailed home by an active sailing crew a fraction of the size aboard at departure.
The most distinguishing features of the galleon include the long beak, the lateen-rigged mizzenmasts, and the square gallery at the stern off of the captain cabin. In larger galleons, a fourth mast was added, usually a lateen-rigged mizzen, called the bonaventure mizzen. At sea, during the battle of the Spanish Armada, for example, English ships were distinguished by the red St George's Cross flying on all masts, except the Tudor rose was flown on the main-mizzen mast.
With the evolution from the galleon to the ship of the line, the long straight beak-head became curved, shorter and more upright, jib sails were added, and eventually the lateen-rigged mizzenmast was replaced with square sails and a spanker sail. As the practice of boarding was reduced, the fore and aft castles became shorter to improve maneuverability.
The galleon continued to be used until the early 18th century, when better designed and purpose-built vessels such as the fluyt, brig and the ship of the line rendered it obsolete for trade and warfare respectively.
The oldest English drawings
The oldest known scale drawings in England are in a manuscript called "Fragments of Ancient Shipwrightry" made in about 1586 by Mathew Baker, a master-shipwright. This manuscript, held at the Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, provides an authentic reference for the size and shape of typical English galleons built during this period. Based on these plans, the Science Museum, London has built a 1:48 scale model ship that is an exemplar of galleons of this era.
* São João Baptista nicknamed Botafogo, the most powerful warship when launched (1534) by the Portuguese; became famous during the conquest of Tunis, where it was commanded by Infante Luís, Duke of Beja.
* Adler von Lübeck the largest ship of its day when launched in 1566.
* The Manila galleons, Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco in New Spain (now Mexico); (1565 - 1815).
* San Salvador, flagship vessel in the João Rodrigues Cabrilho's 1542 exploration of present day California in the United States.
* Golden Hind, the ship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe 1577 -1580
* Ark Raleigh, the ship was designed and built by Sir Walter Raleigh. It was later chosen by Lord Howard, admiral of the fleet to be the flagship of the English fleet in the fight against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and was summarily renamed the Ark Royal.
* Revenge, a galleon built in 1577, the flagship of Sir Francis Drake in the Battle of the Spanish Armada in 1588, was captured by a Spanish fleet off Flores in the Azores in 1591 and sank while being sailed back to Spain.
* São Martinho, the Portuguese galleon, the flagship of Duke of Medina Sidonia, commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armada.
* Triumph, the largest Elizabethan galleon; flagship of Sir Martin Frobisher in the Battle of the Spanish Armada
* San Juan Bautista (originally called Date Maru, 伊達丸 in Japanese). She crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan to New Spain in 1614. She was of the Spanish galleon type, known in Japan as Nanban-Sen (南蛮船).
* Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, a Spanish Galleon which was also nicknamed "Cacafuego" for its strong cannon. It was captured by Sir Francis Drake in 1578 and all its treasures were brought to England. It was holding treasures mined in one year by the Spanish in the Americas.
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 state of Malacca covers an area of 1,650-sq. km. or 0.5 percent of the whole area of Malaysia. The state is divided into 3 districts, that is Central Melaka (Melaka Tengah) (314 km²), Alor Gajah (660 km²), and Jasin (676 km²). Malacca is located on the southwestern coast of Malay Peninsula opposite Sumatra, with the state of Negeri Sembilan to the north and Johor to the east. Malacca is also situated roughly two-thirds of the way down the West coast, 148 km south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia and 245 km north of Singapore and commanding a central position on the Straits of Malacca. The state capital Malacca Town is strategically located between the two national capitals (of Malaysia and Singapore respectively) and is linked with excellent roads and highways. Malacca is yet to have its own train station, though the terminal at Tampin, Negeri Sembilan is easily accessible. It has a domestic airport terminal located in Batu Berendam.
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%;
* Chinese: 32%, including the Peranakan community;
* Indians, including the Chitty people: a sizeable minority;
* Kristang, people with partial Portuguese ancestry: a small community.
* Dutch Eurasians, Eurasians with Dutch ancestry: a minority within the Malacca Eurasian community.
The major towns of Malacca are Malacca Town, Alor Gajah, Masjid Tanah, Jasin, Merlimau, Batu Berendam and Ayer Keroh.
Sultanate of Malacca
The precise origins of Malacca are disputed. It appears that Malacca was founded by Parameswara, a Srivijayan prince of Palembang who fled Sumatra following a Majapahit attack in 1377. He found his way to Malacca c. 1400 where he found a good port accessible in all seasons and on the strategically located narrowest point of the Malacca Straits.
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.
Malacca Harbor in 1831.
In April 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque set sail from Goa to Malacca with a force of some 1200 men and seventeen or eighteen ships. It became a strategic base for Portuguese expansion in the East Indies. Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Malacca took refuge in the hinterland, and made intermittent raids both by land and sea, causing considerable hardship for the Portuguese. In the meantime the Portuguese built the fort named A Famosa to defend Malacca (its gate is all that remains of the ruins at present). 'In order to appease the King of Ayudhya' (Siam, of which Malacca was a part) 'the Portuguese sent up an ambassador, Duarte Fernandes, who was well received by Ramathibodi.' in 1511.Finally in 1526, a large force of Portuguese ships, under the command of Pedro Mascarenhas, was sent to destroy Bintan, where Sultan Mahmud was based. Sultan Mahmud fled with his family across the Straits to Kampar in Sumatra, where he died two years later.
Maritime Museum, Malacca
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.
Malacca is administered by its State Assembly and Executive Committee (EXCO). The State Assembly represents the highest authority in the state and decides on policy matters. The EXCO is responsible to the State Assembly and comprises members who are appointed every five years by the political party in power. It is headed by the Governor (Yang Di-Pertua Negeri) who is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of 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
* Alor Gajah District & Land Office
* Jasin District & Land Office
These offices render various services and facilities to the people in their daily lives.
The tourism and manufacturing sectors are the two most important sectors in the state economy. Malacca has adopted as its slogan, 'Visiting Malacca Means Visiting Malaysia' ('Melawat Melaka Bererti Melawati Malaysia'). It is rich in cultural heritage and bears several places of historical interest.
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.
Malacca has given birth to numerous successful Malaysians who have achieved immense success in Malaysia and abroad.
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
o Melaka General Hospital
o Jasin District Hospital
Currently, both these government hospitals serve as teaching hospitals for Melaka Manipal Medical College.
* Private Hospitals
o Putra Hospital (formerly known as Southern Hospital, owned by the state government)
o Pantai Ayer Keroh
o Mahkota Hospital (opposite Mahkota Parade)
The historic centre of Malacca was inscribed on the World Heritage List on 7 July 2008 together with George Town, the capital of Penang.
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.
Pulau Sebang at Alor Gajah district, a town 30 km north of Malacca town, is the nearest train station that serves Malacca. There were railway tracks from Pulau Sebang to Malacca before World War II but were dismantled by the Japanese during the war for the construction of the infamous Burmese Death Railway. It was never rebuilt after the war though traces of the line remain.
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
* Fort A Famosa: Constructed by the Portuguese in 1511, it suffered severe structural damage during the Dutch invasion. The plan by the British to destroy it was aborted as a result of the intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808.
* St. John's Fort: Reconstructed by the Dutch in the third quarter of the 18th century, the cannons in this fort point inwards towards the mainland because at that time, the threat to Malacca was mainly from inland rather than the sea.
* St. Peter's Church: Constructed in 1710 under the Dutch administration, the church is the oldest Catholic church in Malaysia. Its facade and decorative embellishment is a mix of both eastern and western architecture. Its bell was delivered from Goa in 1608.
* St. Paul's Church: Constructed by the Portuguese captain, Duarte Coelho, this church was named 'Our Lady of The Hill', but was later turned into a burial ground by the Dutch for their noble dead, and renamed 'St. Paul's Church'. Currently the church is part of the Malaccan Museums Complex. The body of St. Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily before it was taken to Goa, India.
* Christ Church: Constructed in 1753, the structure reflects original Dutch architecture. The building houses hand-crafted church benches, jointless ceiling skylights, a copper replica of the Bible, a headstone written in the Armenian language, and a replica of 'The Last Supper'.
* Francis Xavier Church: This Gothic church was built by a French priest, Rev. Fabre, in 1849, to commemorate St. Francis Xavier who is also known as the 'Apostle of the East'. St. Francis Xavier is credited for his Catholic missionary work in Southeast Asia during the 16th century.
* Stadthuys: Constructed in 1650 as the residence of the Dutch Governor and his deputy, the structure reflects Dutch architecture. It is today the 'Museum of History and Ethnography'. The museum exhibits traditional wedding clothes and artifacts of Melaka, dating back to its days of glory.
* Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat): This street is famous for its antique goods. It is also famous for its carnival-like atmosphere during weekend nights.
* Portuguese Square Perhaps the right phrase to infer strong affinity to Portugal would be 'Mini Lisbon'. Located within the Portuguese Settlement, the square is the culmination of Portuguese culture in its full splendour and colours.
* Cheng Hoon Teng: Oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia.
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
The following is a list of historically significant as well as well-known contemporary personages who are either born in Malacca, or otherwise, significantly linked to the history of Malacca:
* Tun Ghafar Baba, Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister (1986-1993), UMNO Vice-President (1962-1987), Malacca Chief Minister (1959-1963)
* Ibu Zain, was a pioneer for Malay women (Srikandi) in education, nationalist and politics in Malaysia.
* Shirley Geok-lin Lim, award winning novelist, writer and Professor of English, University of California at Santa Barbara
* Maria Jane Dyer a.k.a. Maria Jane Taylor, born in Malacca in 1837, pioneer missionary to China, daughter of Samuel Dyer and Maria (Tarn) Dyer, she became the wife of James Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission.