HISTORY OF MELAKA
Malacca is well known for its historical uniqueness. The history of Malacca began when Parameswara, a royal prince from Palembang was involved in the struggle for the throne of Majapahit government towards the end of the 14th century.
Once he was defeated by Majapahit, he ran for protection to Temasek which was then dominated by the Siamese. After being evicted out of Temasek by the colonists from Siam, in 1396, he and his followers withdraw to Muar and later to Sungai Ujong before stopping by at Bertam which is close to the Melaka river estuary.
Upon arrival in Bertam, he witnessed his hunting dog being kicked by a white mouse deer. He was so impressed with the bravery of the white mouse deer and decided to set up a state there.
He asked about the name of the tree which he was leaning under and his followers had replied by stating that it was the Melaka tree. Therefore he decided to name his state after that tree.
Parameswara had made the right choice as Malacca is strategically located amid the Straits of Malacca banks which connect China to India and the East, making it a really suitable venue as a trading centre. The arrival of Arabic traders as well as traders from the East and West had developed Malacca as a bustling entrepot with hundreds of ships stopping by every year.
Parameswara embraced Islam through a scholar from Jeddah in 1414 and that was the starting point for the development of Malacca as the premier commercial centre and spreading of Islam in this region. Malacca continued to be known as the Malay trading centre in the East.
Among the commodity goods available in Malacca were silk and porcelain from China, cloths from Gujerati and Coromandel in India, camphor from Borneo, sandalwood from the East, nutmeg and cloves from Moluccas, gold and black pepper from Sumatera as well as tin from Malaya.
However, Malacca's fame had begun in line with the situation whereby the European nations began to expand their influence to the Eastern continent and Malacca was among the port cities which attracted their attention. In 1509, Diego Lopez De Squera from the Portuguese Royal Armada was the first Portuguese fleet to arrive in Malacca. After the repeated attacks in 1511, Malacca was finally captured by the Portuguese force headed by Alfonso d' Albuquerque.
Sultan Mahmud Syah, the Malacca ruler at that time, retreated to Johore and once he stepped foot there, the Malays attempted to attack the Portuguese again but failed. One of the reasons for the Portuguese strength was the construction of the A' Famosa fort as their defensive bastion.
The A' Famosa Fort had furthermore strengthen the Portuguese grip over Malacca for the next 130 years. Until the year 1641, when Malacca fell into the hands of the Dutch through attacks and fierce battle between the two parties. Malacca City was almost destroyed and within one and a half century, the Dutch managed to rebuild and developed it as a military base due to its strategic location in controlling the Straits of Malacca.
In 1795, during the Napoleonic War, Malacca was handed over to the British East India Company temporarily to avoid from being captured by the French. Malacca was returned to the Dutch in 1818, through the Venice Agreement. Through the Anglo-Dutch Agreement or London Agreement 1824 which separated the British and Dutch colonial areas, the British regain control of Malacca and the northern area of the straits and Singapore while the Dutch at the southern part of the straits (the Indonesian Archipelago).
From 1826 onwards, Malacca was administered by the British East India Company which was based in India. In 1827, the Straits Settlements (Malacca, Penang and Singapore) had become British colonies and was placed under the administration of the central government in London. The British sustained its power in the Malay states right up until the outbreak of World War II.
After the Japanese military surrendered in 1945, the British resumed its control in Malaya until the Federation of Malaya was finally declared an independent nation by Y.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaya on 31 August 1957.