Malacca was the territory of
Malacca that, for 130 years
(1511–1641), was a Portuguese colony.
1.1 The capture of Malacca
1.2 A Portuguese port in a hostile region
1.3 Chinese military retaliation against Portugal
1.4 Chinese boycott and counterattacks
1.5 Dutch conquest and the end of Portuguese Malacca
2 Fortaleza de Malaca
Malacca Town during the Portuguese Era
4 Portuguese immigration
5 Portuguese administration of Malacca
6 See also
According to the 16th-century Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de
Erédia, the site of the old city of
Malacca was named after the
Phyllanthus Emblica (
Malacca Tree or Pokok Melaka), fruit-bearing
trees along the banks of a river called Airlele (Ayer Leleh). The
Airlele river was said to originate from Buquet China (present-day
Bukit Cina). Eredia cited that the city was founded by Permicuri (i.e.
Parameswara) the first King of
Malacca in 1411.
The capture of Malacca
Further information: Capture of
The news of Malacca's wealth attracted the attention of Manuel I, King
Portugal and he sent Admiral
Diogo Lopes de Sequeira
Diogo Lopes de Sequeira to find
Malacca, to make a trade compact with its ruler as Portugal's
representative east of India. The first European to reach
Southeast Asia, Sequeira arrived in
Malacca in 1509. Although he was
initially well received by Sultan Mahmud Shah, trouble however quickly
ensued. The general feeling of rivalry between Islam and
Christianity was invoked by a group of
Goa Muslims in the sultan's
court after the Portuguese had captured Goa. The international
Muslim trading community convinced Mahmud that the Portuguese were a
grave threat. Mahmud subsequently captured several of his men, killed
others and attempted to attack the four Portuguese ships, although
they escaped. As the Portuguese had found in India, conquest would be
the only way they could establish themselves in Malacca.
In April 1511,
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque set sail from
a force of some 1200 men and seventeen or eighteen ships. The
Viceroy made a number of demands—one of which was for permission to
build a fortress as a Portuguese trading post near the city. The
Sultan refused all the demands. Conflict was unavoidable, and after 40
days of fighting,
Malacca fell to the Portuguese on 24 August. A
bitter dispute between Sultan Mahmud and his son Sultan Ahmad also
weighed down the Malaccan side.
Following the defeat of the
Malacca Sultanate on 15 August 1511 in the
capture of Malacca,
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque sought to erect a permanent
form of fortification in anticipation of the counterattacks by Sultan
Mahmud. A fortress was designed and constructed encompassing a hill,
lining the edge of the sea shore, on the south east of the river
mouth, on the former site of the Sultan's palace. Albuquerque remained
Malacca until November 1511 preparing its defences against any
Malay counterattack. Sultan Mahmud Shah was forced to flee Malacca.
A Portuguese port in a hostile region
Malacca City: Intramuros Anno 1604" by Manuel Godinho
As the first base of European Christian trading kingdom in Southeast
Asia, it was surrounded by numerous emerging native Muslim states.
Also, with hostile initial contact with the local Malay policy,
Malacca faced severe hostility. They endured years of
battles started by Malay sultans who wanted to get rid of the
Portuguese and reclaim their land. The Sultan made several attempts to
retake the capital. He rallied the support from his ally the Sultanate
of Demak in
Java who, in 1511, agreed to send naval forces to assist.
Led by Pati Unus, the Sultan of Demak, the combined Malay–Java
efforts failed and were fruitless. The Portuguese retaliated and
forced the sultan to flee to Pahang. Later, the sultan sailed to
Bintan Island and established a new capital there. With a base
established, the sultan rallied the disarrayed Malay forces and
organized several attacks and blockades against the Portuguese's
position. Frequent raids on
Malacca caused the Portuguese severe
hardship. In 1521 the second Demak campaign to assist the Malay Sultan
Malacca was launched, however once again failed with the
cost of the Demak Sultan's life. He was later remembered as Pangeran
Sabrang Lor or the Prince who crossed (the
Java Sea) to North (Malay
Peninsula). The raids helped convince the Portuguese that the exiled
sultan's forces must be silenced. A number of attempts were made to
suppress the Malay forces, but it wasn't until 1526 that the
Portuguese finally razed Bintan to the ground. The sultan then
retreated to Kampar in Riau, Sumatra where he died two years later. He
left behind two sons named Muzaffar Shah and Alauddin Riayat Shah II.
Muzaffar Shah was invited by the people in the north of the peninsula
to become their ruler, establishing the Sultanate of Perak. Meanwhile,
Mahmud's other son, Alauddin succeeded his father and made a new
capital in the south. His realm was the
Johor Sultanate, the successor
Several attempts to remove
Malacca from Portuguese rule were made by
the Sultan of Johor. A request sent to
Java in 1550 resulted in Queen
Kalinyamat, the regent of Jepara, sending 4,000 soldiers aboard 40
ships to meet the
Johor sultan's request to take Malacca. The Jepara
troops later joined forces with the Malay alliance and managed to
assemble around 200 warships for the upcoming assault. The combined
forces attacked from the north and captured most of Malacca, but the
Portuguese managed to retaliate and force back the invading forces.
The Malay alliance troops were thrown back to the sea, while the
Jepara troops remained on shore. Only after their leaders were slain
Jepara troops withdraw. The battle continued on the beach and
in the sea resulting in more than 2,000
Jepara soldiers being killed.
A storm stranded two
Jepara ships on the shore of Malacca, and they
fell prey to the Portuguese. Fewer than half of the
managed to leave Malacca.
In 1567, Prince Husain Ali I Riayat Syah from the Sultanate of Aceh
launched a naval attack to oust the Portuguese from Malacca, but this
once again ended in failure. In 1574 a combined attack from Aceh
Sultanate and Javanese
Jepara tried again to capture
Malacca from the
Portuguese, but ended in failure due to poor coordination.
Competition from other ports such as
Johor saw Asian traders bypass
Malacca and the city began to decline as a trading port. Rather
than achieving their ambition of dominating it, the Portuguese had
fundamentally disrupted the organisation of the Asian trade network.
Rather than a centralised port of exchange of Asian wealth exchange,
or a Malay state to police the Strait of
Malacca that made it safe for
commercial traffic, trade was now scattered over a number of ports
amongst bitter warfare in the Straits.
Chinese military retaliation against Portugal
Malacca tin coins of King Emmanuel (1495-1521) and John III
(1521-1557) period were discovered during an excavation near the
Malacca River mouth by W. Edgerton, Resident Councilor of
Fernão Pires de Andrade
Fernão Pires de Andrade and Tomé Pires
Malacca Sultanate was a tributary state and ally to Ming
Dynasty China. When
Malacca in 1511, the Chinese
responded with violent force against the Portuguese.
Following the attack, the Chinese refused to accept a Portuguese
The Chinese Imperial Government imprisoned and executed multiple
Portuguese diplomatic envoys after torturing them in Guangzhou. A
Malaccan envoy had informed the Chinese of the Portuguese seizure of
Malacca, which the Chinese responded to with hostility toward the
Portuguese. The Malaccan envoy told the Chinese of the deception the
Portuguese used, disguising plans for conquering territory as mere
trading activities, and told his tale of deprivations at the hands of
Malacca was under Chinese protection and the
Portuguese invasion angered the Chinese.
Due to the Malaccan Sultan lodging a complaint against the Portuguese
invasion to the Chinese Emperor, the Portuguese were greeted with
hostility from the Chinese when they arrived in China. The Sultan's
complaint caused "a great deal of trouble" to Portuguese in China.
The Chinese were very "unwelcoming" to the Portuguese. The Malaccan
Sultan, based in Bintan after fleeing Malacca, sent a message to the
Chinese, which combined with Portuguese banditry and violent activity
in China, led the Chinese authorities to execute 23 Portuguese and
torture the rest of them in jails. After the Portuguese set up posts
for trading in China and committed piratical activities and raids in
China, the Chinese responded with the complete extermination of the
Ningbo and Quanzhou Pires, a Portuguese trade envoy,
was among those who died in the Chinese dungeons.
However, with gradual improvement of relations and aid given against
Wokou pirates along China's shores, by 1557 Ming China finally
agreed to allow the Portuguese to settle at
Macau in a new Portuguese
trade colony. The Malay Sultanate of
Johor also improved relations
with the Portuguese and fought alongside them against the Aceh
Chinese boycott and counterattacks
Chinese traders boycotted
Malacca after it fell under Portuguese
control, some Chinese in
Java assisted in Muslim attempts to reconquer
the city from
Portugal using ships. The
Java Chinese participation in
Malacca was recorded in "The Malay Annals of Semarang and
Cerbon". The Chinese traders did business with the Malays and
Javanese instead of the Portuguese.
Dutch conquest and the end of Portuguese Malacca
Further information: Battle of
By the early 17th century, the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (Dutch:
Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) began contesting Portuguese
power in the East. At that time, the Portuguese had transformed
Malacca into an impregnable fortress, the Fortaleza de Malaca,
controlling access to the sea lanes of the Straits of
Malacca and the
spice trade there. The Dutch started by launching small incursions and
skirmishes against the Portuguese. The first serious attempt was the
Malacca in 1606 by the third VOC fleet from Holland with
eleven ships, commanded by Admiral
Cornelis Matelief de Jonge
Cornelis Matelief de Jonge that led
to the naval battle of Cape Rachado. Although the Dutch were routed,
the Portuguese fleet of Martim Afonso de Castro, the Viceroy of Goa,
suffered heavier casualties and the battle rallied the forces of the
Johor into an alliance with the Dutch and later on with
the Aceh Sultanate.
Around that same time period, the
Sultanate of Aceh
Sultanate of Aceh had grown into a
regional power with a formidable naval force and regarded Portuguese
Malacca as potential threat. In 1629,
Iskandar Muda of the Aceh
Sultanate sent several hundred ships to attack Malacca, but the
mission was a devastating failure. According to Portuguese sources,
all of his ships were destroyed and lost some 19,000 men in the
The Dutch with their local allies assaulted and finally wrested
Malacca from the Portuguese in January 1641. This combined
Dutch-Johor-Aceh efforts effectively destroyed the last bastion of
Portuguese power, reducing their influence in the archipelago. The
Dutch settled in the city as Dutch Malacca, however the Dutch had no
intention to make
Malacca their main base, and concentrated on
building Batavia (today Jakarta) as their headquarters in the orient
instead. The Portuguese ports in the spice-producing areas of Mollucas
also fell to the Dutch in the following years. With these conquests,
the last Portuguese colonies in Asia remained confined to Portuguese
Daman and Diu
Daman and Diu in
Portuguese India and
Macau until the 20th
Fortaleza de Malaca
Present day Porta de Santiago.
The early core of the fortress system was a quadrilateral tower called
Fortaleza de Malaca. Measurement was given as 10 fathoms per side with
a height of 40 fathoms. It was constructed at the foot of the fortress
hill, next to the sea. To its east was constructed a circular wall of
mortar and stone with a well in the middle of the enclosure.
Over the years, constructions began to fully fortify the fortress
hill. The pentagonal system began at the farthest point of the cape
near south east of the river mouth, towards the west of the Fortaleza.
At this point two ramparts were built at right angles to each other
lining the shores. The one running northward toward the river mouth
was 130 fathoms in length to the bastion of São Pedro while the other
one ran for 75 fathoms to the east, curving inshore, ending at the
gate and bastion of Santiago.
From the bastion of São Pedro the rampart turned north east 150
fathoms past the Custom House Terrace gateway ending at the
northernmost point of the fortress, the bastion of São Domingos. From
the gateway of São Domingos, an earth rampart ran south-easterly for
100 fathoms ending at the bastion of the Madre de Deus. From here,
beginning at the gate of Santo António, past the bastion of the
Virgins, the rampart ended at the gateway of Santiago.
Overall the city enclosure was 655 fathoms and 10 palms (short) of a
Four gateways were built for the city;
Porta de Santiago
The gateway of the Custom House Terrace
Porta de São Domingos
Porta de Santo António
Of these four gateways only two were in common use and open to
traffic: the Gate of Santo António linking to the suburb of Yler and
the western gate at the Custom House Terrace, giving access to
Tranqueira and its bazaar.
After almost 300 years of existence, in 1806, the British, unwilling
to maintain the fortress and wary of letting other European powers
taking control of it, ordered its slow destruction. The fort was
almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir
Stamford Raffles visiting
Malacca in 1810. The only remnants of the
earliest Portuguese fortress in Southeast Asia is the Porta de
Santiago, now known as the A Famosa.
Malacca Town during the Portuguese Era
Outside of the fortified town centre lie the three suburbs of Malacca.
The suburb of Upe (Upih), generally known as Tranqueira (modern day
Tengkera) from the rampart of the fortress. The other two suburb were
Yler (Hilir) or Tanjonpacer (Tanjung Pasir) and the suburb of Sabba.
The Fort of Tranquera at
Malacca by Carl Friedrich Reimer, 1786.
Tranqueira was the most important suburb of Malacca. The suburb was
rectangular in shape, with a northern walled boundary, the straits of
Malacca to the south and the river of
Malacca (Rio de Malaca) and the
fortaleza's wall to the east. It was the main residential quarters of
the city. However, in war, the residents of the quarters would be
evacuated to the fortress. Tranqueira was divided into a further two
parishes, São Tomé and São Estêvão. The parish of S.Tomé was
called Campon Chelim (Malay: Kampung Keling). It was described that
this area was populated by the Chelis of Choromandel. The other suburb
of São Estêvão was also called Campon China (Kampung Cina).
Erédia described the houses as made of timber but roofed by tiles. A
stone bridge with sentry crosses the river
Malacca to provide access
Malacca Fortress via the eastern Custome House Terrace. The
centre of trade of the city was also located in Tranqueira near the
beach on the mouth of the river called the Bazaar of the Jaos
(Jowo/Jawa i.e. Javanese).
In the present day, this part of the city is called Tengkera.
The district of Yler (Hilir) roughly covered Buquet China (Bukit Cina)
and the south-eastern coastal area. The Well of Buquet China was one
of the most important water sources for the community. Notable
landmarks included the Church of the Madre De Deus and the Convent of
the Capuchins of São Francisco. Other notable landmarks included
Buquetpiatto (Bukit Piatu). The boundaries of this unwalled suburb
were said to extend as far as Buquetpipi and Tanjonpacer.
Tanjonpacer (Malay: Tanjung Pasir) was later renamed Ujong Pasir. A
community descended from Portuguese settlers is still located here in
present-day Malacca. However, this suburb of Yler is now known as
Banda Hilir. Modern land reclamations (for the purpose of building the
commercial district of Melaka Raya) have, however, denied Banda Hilir
the access to the sea that it formerly had.
The houses of this suburb were built along the edges of the river.
Some of the original Muslim Malay inhabitants of
Malacca lived in the
swamps of Nypeiras tree, where they were known to make Nypa (Nipah)
wine by distillation for trade. This suburb was considered the most
rural, being a transition to the
Malacca hinterland, where timber and
charcoal traffic passed through into the city. Several Christian
parishes also lay outside the city along the river; São Lázaro, Our
Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Hope. While Muslim Malays inhabited the
farmlands deeper into the hinterland.
In later periods of Dutch, British and modern day Malacca, the name of
Sabba was made obsolete. However, its area encompassed parts of what
is now Banda Kaba, Bunga Raya and Kampung Jawa; and the modern city
centre of Malacca
The Portuguese also shipped over many
Orfãs d'El-Rei to Portuguese
colonies overseas in Africa and India, and also to Portuguese Malacca.
Orfãs d'El-Rei literally translates to "Orphans of the King", and
they were Portuguese girl orphans sent to overseas colonies to marry
Portuguese administration of Malacca
Malacca was administered by a Governor (a Captain-Major), who was
appointed for a term of three-years, as well as a Bishop and church
dignitaries representing the Episcopal See, municipal officers, Royal
Officials for finance and justice and a local native
administer the native Muslims and foreigners under the Portuguese
Rui de Brito Patalim
Jorge de Albuquerque (1st time)
Jorge de Brito
Nuno Vaz Pereira
Afonso Lopes da Costa
Garcia de Sá
Garcia de Sá (1st time)
Jorge de Albuquerque (2nd time)
Pero de Mascarenhas
Pero de Faria
Portuguese Settlement, Malacca
^ a b c d e Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia since
c. 1300, 2nd Edition. London: MacMillan. p. 23.
^ a b Mohd Fawzi bin Mohd Basri; Mohd Fo'ad bin Sakdan; Azami bin Man
(2002). Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah Sejarah Tingkatan 1.
Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. p. 95.
^ a b Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia since c.
1300, 2nd Edition. London: Macmillan. pp. 23–24.
^ Kenneth Warren Chase (2003). Firearms: a global history to 1700
(illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 142.
ISBN 0-521-82274-2. Retrieved 14 December 2011. The Portuguese
spent several years trying to establish formal relations with China,
but Melaka had been part of the Chinese tributary system, and the
Chinese had found out about the Portuguese attack, making them
suspicious. The embassy was formally rejected in 1521.
^ Nigel Cameron (1976). Barbarians and mandarins: thirteen centuries
of Western travelers in China. Volume 681 of A phoenix book
(illustrated, reprint ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 143.
ISBN 0-226-09229-1. Retrieved 18 July 2011. envoy, had most
effectively poured out his tale of woe, of deprivation at the hands of
the Portuguese in Malacca; and he had backed up the tale with others
concerning the reprehensible Portuguese methods in the Moluccas,
making the case (quite truthfully) that European trading visits were
no more than the prelude to annexation of territory. With the tiny sea
power at this time available to the Chinese
^ Zhidong Hao (2011).
Macau History and Society (illustrated ed.).
Hong Kong University Press. p. 11. ISBN 988-8028-54-5.
Retrieved 14 December 2011. Pires came as an ambassador to Beijing to
negotiate trade terms and settlements with China. He did make it to
Beijing, but the mission failed because first, while Pires was in
Beijing, the dethroned Sultan of
Malacca also sent an envoy to Beijing
to complain to the emperor about the Portuguese attack and conquest of
Malacca was part of China's suzerainty when the Portuguese
took it. The Chinese were apparently not happy with what the
Portuguese did there.
^ Ahmad Ibrahim; Sharon Siddique; Yasmin Hussain, eds. (1985).
Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian
Studies. p. 11. ISBN 9971-988-08-9. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
in China was far from friendly; this, it seems, had something to do
with the complaint which the ruler of Malacca, conquered by the
Portuguese in 1511, had lodged with the Chinese emperor, his
^ John Horace Parry (June 1, 1981). The discovery of the sea.
University of California Press. p. 238. ISBN 0-520-04237-9.
Retrieved 14 December 2011. In 1511 ... Alboquerque himself sailed ...
Malacca ... The Sultan of
Malacca fled down the coast, to
establish himself in the marshes of Johore, whence he sent petitions
for redress to his remote suzerain, the Chinese Emperor. These
petitions later caused the Portuguese, in their efforts to gain
admission to trade at Canton, a great deal of trouble
^ John Horace Parry (June 1, 1981). The discovery of the sea.
University of California Press. p. 239. ISBN 0-520-04237-9.
Retrieved 14 December 2011. When the Portuguese tried to penetrate, in
their own ships, to Canton itself, their reception by the Chinese
authorities—understandably, in view of their reputation at
Malacca—was unwelcoming, and several decades elapsed before they
secured a tolerated toehold at Macao.
^ Ernest S. Dodge (1976). Islands and Empires: Western Impact on the
Pacific and East Asia. Volume 7 of Europe and the World in Age of
Expansion. U of Minnesota Press. p. 226. ISBN 0-8166-0853-9.
Retrieved 18 July 2011. The inexusable behavior of the Portuguese,
combined with the ill-chosen language of the letters which Pires
presented to the celestial emperor, supplemented by a warning from the
Malay sultan of Bintan, persuaded the Chinese that Pires was indeed up
to no good
^ Kenneth Scott Latourette (1964). The Chinese, their history and
culture, Volumes 1–2 (4, reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 235.
Retrieved 18 July 2011. The Moslem ruler of Malacca, whom they had
dispossessed, complained of them to the Chinese authorities. A
Portuguese envoy, Pires, who reached Peking in 1520 was treated as a
spy, was conveyed by imperial order to Canton
^ Wills, John E., Jr. (1998). "Relations with Maritime Europe,
1514–1662," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume 8, The Ming
Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 2, 333–375. Edited by Denis Twitchett,
John King Fairbank, and Albert Feuerwerker. New York: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-24333-5, 343-344.
^ C. Guillot; Denys Lombard; Roderich Ptak, eds. (1998). From the
Mediterranean to the China Sea: miscellaneous notes. Otto Harrassowitz
Verlag. p. 179. ISBN 3-447-04098-X. Retrieved 14 December
2011. Chinese authors have argued, the Malacca-Chinese were not
treated too favorably by the Portuguese ... it is generally true that
Chinese ships tended to avoid
Malacca after 1511, sailing to other
ports instead. Presumably these ports were mainly on the east coast of
the Malayan peninsula and on Sumatra. Johore, in the deep south of the
peninsula, was another place where many Chinese went ... After 1511,
many Chinese who were Muslims sided with other Islamic traders against
the Portuguese; according to The Malay Annals of Semarang and Cerbon,
Chinese settlers living on northern
Java even became involved in
counter-attacks on Malacca. Javanese vessels were indeed sent out but
suffered a disastrous defeat. Demak and Japara alone lost more than
^ Peter Borschberg, National University of Singapore. Faculty of Arts
and Social Sciences, Fundação Oriente (2004). Peter Borschberg, ed.
Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka area and adjacent regions (16th to
18th century). Volume 14 of South China and maritime Asia (illustrated
ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 12. ISBN 3-447-05107-8.
Retrieved 14 December 2011. still others withdrew to continue business
with the Javanese, Malays and Gujaratis...When the Islamic world
considered counter-attacks against Portuguese Melaka, some Chinese
residents may have provided ships and capital. These Chinese had their
roots either in Fujian, or else may have been of Muslim descent. This
group may have consisted of small factions that fled Champa after the
crisis of 1471. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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