Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Eight Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Mahmud Syah (1488 - 1511)

After the death of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah who died in 1488, his son Raja Mahmud was appointed as the eight ruler of Melaka. He was called Sultan Mahmud Syah and was still a youth when he was appointed as the ruler. Hence Melaka was administered by Bendahara Paduka Tun Perak with the help of other senior officials. The senior officials of Melaka were Tun Tahir Seri Nara Diraja as the Chief Treasurer; Tun Mutahir as the Temenggung Seri Maharaja in charge of internal security; Hang Tuah as the Admiral in charge of the fleet of Melaka and Tun Kerutup Seri Bija Diraja as the Commander of the Land Forces.

Bendahara Paduka Tun Perak died in 1498 after having served four Melaka sultans, that is Sultan Muzaffar, Sultan Mansur, Sultan Alauddin and Sultan Mahmud. Sultan Mahmud then appointed Tun Perpatih Putih, brother of the late Bendahara Paduka Raja Tun Perak as the new Bendahara of Melaka and was known as Bendahara Putih.

When Sultan Mahmud grew up, he married his cousin, the daughter of the late Sultan Muhammad Syah, the Sultan of Pahang. They had two daughters and a son by the name of Raja Ahmad. When Bendahara Tun Perpatih Putih died, Sultan Mahmud appointed Tun Mutahir Tememggung Seri Maharaja, his mother?s brother who was the son of Tun Ali.

When Bendahara Tun Perpatih Putih died, Sultan Mahmud appointed Tun Mutahir Temenggung Seri Maharaja, his mother?s brother as the new Bendahara of Melaka with the title Bendahara Seri Maharaja and his son Tun Hasan became the Temenggung with the title Temenggung Tun Hassan.

The town of Melaka began to flourish and prosper with an influx of foreign traders after the appointment of Tun Mutahir. This was due to Bendahara Seri Maharaja?s efficient and wise administration and his ability to attract foreign traders to Melaka.

When Sultan Mahmud?s wife, the princess of Pahang died, he wanted to marry the beautiful princess who was believed to be living on Gunung Ledang (Mount Ophir). The princess stated the conditions required by her for the Sultan to marry her and they were a considerable amount of gold or silver and also a bowl of blood of the prince, Raja Ahmad. However, the Sultan then decided against the idea of marrying the princess. It is difficult to determine whether this story is true or a legend. However, it does exist in stories, which have been handed down by word of mouth by the Malays of Melaka and Johor.

During the reign of Sultan Mahmud Syah, Admiral Hang Tuah died of old age. He was given a state burial and buried in Tanjung Keling, Melaka. The Sultan then appointed Khoja Hasan, the son-in-law of Hang Tuah as the new Admiral of Melaka and was known as Admiral Khoja Hasan.

By about 1500, Melaka was at the height of its power and glory. Its city of Melaka was the capital of a great Malay empire, the chief center of trade in Indian cloth, Chinese porcelain and silk and Malaysian spices, and the headquarters of Muslim activity in the Malay Archipelago.

On 11th September 1509, during Sultan Mahmud?s reign in Melaka and Tun Mutahir was Bendahara, a Portuguese fleet comprising of five big ships led by Diego Lopez de Sequeira, reached the port of Melaka. The arrival of the Portuguese was an ill omen for the country because soon afterwards the decline and fall of the Malay Sultanate begun.

Seventh Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah (1477 - 1488)

After the death of Sultan Mansur Syah, his son Raja Hussain was installed as the seventh ruler of Melaka with the title Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah. He was still a youth at the time of his installation and was known for his strength and courage. At the beginning of Sultan Alauddin Riayat?s reign, Melaka was infested with thieves. There were reports of thefts every night. When the Sultan was informed of this, he was determined to get rid of the thieves by arresting and sentencing them so that his people could continued to have peace.

During Sultan Alaudin?s reign, several foreign rulers, one from the Moluccas Islands who were defeated by his enemies, one from Rekan and another from Terengganu called Telanai Terengganu, came to Melaka to pay homage to the Sultan and were welcomed by him. The Sultan was glad to receive the ruler of the Moluccas Islands owing to his extraordinary skill in playing sepak takraw or Malay basketball.

In 1488, after ruling Melaka for about eleven years, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah died at the age of thirty. He came to be known as Marhum Berdarah Putih or the White Blooded King and was buried at Pagoh near Muar. However, there was no information as to why Sultan Alauddin was buried in Pagoh, which was quite far from Melaka. It could possibly be that Pagoh had long been having connections with the Malay rulers of Melaka. There were also a few Malay rulers who were also buried in Pagoh.

The Sixth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Mansur Syah (1456 - 1477)

After the death of Sultan Muzaffar Syah, his son Raja Abdullah was appointed the sixth ruler of Melaka and was known as Sultan Mansur Syah. Sultan Mansur Syah married Tun Putih Nur Pualam, the daughter of Tun Ali and had a few sons and daughters. At the beginning of his reign in Melaka, Sultan Mansur Syah heard about Pahang, then known as Pura, with its large river, gold and widespread jungles, which was ruled by a Siamese royal family and under the control of the Siamese. He then decided to conquer it. The Sultan send a fleet containing two hundred boats, lead by Tun Perak and assisted by Tun Hamzah Datuk Bongkok, commander of the Land Forces and other military officials. On reaching Pahang, a battle broke out between the people of Pahang and Melaka. Pahang, which was then ruled by Maharaja Dewa Sura, was easily defeated by Melaka and the ruler was forced to flee to Upper Pahang following the Pahang River.

However, he was captured by the people of Melaka and handed over to Tun Ali. The Melaka fleet then returned to Melaka with victory and brought with then Maharaja Dewa Sura and his daughter, Wan Seri or Onang Seri who were handed over to Sultan Mansur Syah. This was the first time that the Melaka Sultanate conquered another state. The Sultan of Melaka appointed Tun Hamzah Datuk Bongkok to live in Pahang and administered it as his representative. Princess Waning Seri was converted to Islam and given the name Princess Lela Wangsa and married Sultan Mansur Syah. Besides Pahang, a few other states such as Inderagiri, Palembang, Jambi, Lingga and Tunggal also came under the control of Melaka.

During the reign of Sultan Mansur Syah, there were nine youths who were famous for their bravery and taken by the Sultan as his military officials. They were Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir, Hang Lekiu, Hang Ali, Hang Iskandar, Hang Hasan and Husain. Hang Tuah was the most intelligent and bravest among them. Therefore he was conferred the title Admiral or Laksamana by the Sultan and was known as Laksamana Hang Tuah.

When Sultan Mansur Syah visited Majapahit, he took along with him Laksamama Hang Tuah and his friends Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu to Majapahit. They were well received by the Ruler of Majapahit. During their stay there, the military officials of Melaka known for their prowess, especially Hang Tuah, showed their various skills especially their skill with weapons, which attracted the attention of the people and the ruler of Majapahit. The Ruler of Majapahit then married his daughter, Radin Galuh Cendera Kirana to Sultan Mansur Syah. She bored him a son called Radin Kelang, but died in his teens when he was stabbed by an amok in the town of Melaka. The Ruler of Majapahit also ceded Inderagiri and Siatan to the Sultan of Melaka, which further strengthened Melaka?s power over this territory.

The friendly diplomatic relations between China and Melaka culminated during the reign of Sultan Mansur Syah. The Sultan dispatched Tun Perpatih Putih as his envoy to China and carried a letter from the Sultan to the Emperor. Tun Perpatih succeeded in impressing the Emperor of China with the fame and grandeur of Sultan Mansur Syah that the Emperor decreed that his daughter Hang Li Poh should marry the Sultan. A senior minister of state and five hundred ladies in waiting accompanied the princess to Melaka After Hang Li Poh was converted to Islam, the Sultan married her and built a palace for her on the hill known ever afterwards as Bukit China or Chinese Hill.

Although Sultan Mansur has a high regard for Hang Tuah and his friends, there was an occasion when the Sultan was angry with Hang Tuah. It started with a slander that Hang Tuah was having an affair with one of the maids in the palace. The Sultan therefore ordered Tun Ali to kill Hang Tuah. However, Tun Ali considered Hang Tuah to be a man of extraordinary character and should not be disposed of. He then gathered his courage to lied to the Sultan. Instead of killing Hang Tuah, Tun Ali hid him in the remote village and prohibited Hang Tuah to leave the village. Tun Ali then informed the Sultan that he had killed Hang Tuah. When Hang Jebat, a close friend of Hang Tuah, learned that Hang Tuah had been killed, he became angry and outraged one of the maids in the palace. Although the Sultan had ordered Hang Jebat to be killed, no one dared to face him. It was at this time that the Sultan remembered Hang Tuah and said that if only he was alive, he would be able to defeat and killed Hang Jebat. Tun Ali then told the Sultan the truth, that Hang Tuah was not killed but hidden by him. The Sultan then ordered that Hang Tuah be brought out from his hiding place and was ordered to kill Hang Jebat. On the Sultan?s orders, and despite being close friends, a duel was fought between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat. The duel ended with the death of Hang Jebat at the hands of Hang Tuah.

When Melaka became more prosperous and trade flourished, Sultan Mansur Syah build a large and beautiful palace at the foot of Melaka Hill. The palace was the pride of the Malay government as it not only reflected the wealth, prosperity and power of Melaka, but also embodied the excellence and special characteristics of Malay architecture. The palace was built by Malay carpenters under the instructions of Tun Perak. However, a disaster took place. The palace was burnt down not long after Sultan Mansur Syah resided in it. Fortunately, a few palace officials managed to enter the palace to save valuables from inside it. Later, Sultan Mansur Syah ordered that a new palace be built which was big and as beautiful as the former palace. The Sultan resided in it when it was completed.

Melaka reached the height of its glory as an empire during the reign of Sultan Mansur Syah. It was not only wealthy and prosperous as result of its trade, but it had turned a number of states in the Archipelago into its imperial dependencies. The ruler of such states would come to Melaka after they were installed to obtain the blessing of the Sultan of Melaka. Rulers who been overthrown came to Melaka to solicit the Sultan?s aid and in recovering control of their territory. One such example was when Sultan Zainal Abidin, the Ruler of Pasai was toppled by his own relatives, he came to Melaka and pleaded with Sultan Mansur Syah to help him get back his throne. The Sultan then sent an armed force to Pasai, which defeated its men and he then installed Zainal Abidin as the Ruler of Pasai again. Although this victory did not ensure the loyalty of the Ruler of Pasai to Melaka, it did demonstrate the competence and peace of the Sultan of Melaka, as well as the attitude of mutual support, which existed among leaders and governments.

The political strength of Melaka was demonstrated in an incident when Raja Mohammad, the son of Sultan Mansur Syah was accidentally hit with a rattan ball by Tun Besar, the son of Tun Perak. The ball hit Raja Mohammad?s headgear and knocked it down to the ground. In anger, Raja Mohammad immediately stabbed and killed Tun Besar, whereupon some of Tun Besar?s kinsmen retaliated and wanted to kill Raja Mohammad. However, Tun Perak managed to restrain them from such an act of treason by saying that he would no longer accept Raja Mohammad as the Sultan?s heir. As a result of this incident, Sultan Mansur Syah ordered his son out of Melaka and had him installed as the Ruler in Pahang. This incident illustrated Tun Perak?s loyalty to the Sultan, the Sultan?s fairness to his people, his love for his son, the punishment of the guilty and the power of the Sultan who commanded absolute obedience.

Melaka achieved its glory during the reign of Sultan Mansur Syah. Many traders and merchants from different countries came to Melaka to trade. Melaka also became the center for the spread of Islam in the Malay Archipelago. Several states in the Malay Peninsula, the Riau-Lingga islands and Sumatra came under Melaka. They were Pahang, Sungai Ujung, Jeram, Langat, Inderagiri, Palembang, Jambi, Lingga, Tungkal, Siantan, Brunei, Bentan, Kampar and Siak.

However while Melaka was at the peak of its splendour, Sultan Mansur Syah died in 1477 after reigning Melaka for twenty one years. He was well known as one of the Malay rulers who contributed much to uphold Malay sovereignty.

Fifth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Muzaffar Syah (1446 - 1456)

Raja Kassim, the son of Sultan Muhammad Syah with Tun Wati was appointed as the fifth ruler of Melaka when Sultan Abu Syahid passed away. He was known as Sultan Muzaffar Shah. When he was appointed the ruler of Melaka, he ordered his senior officials to put into effect the royal customs, traditions and prohibitions introduced by his late father. Sultan Muzaffar Shah married the daughter of Seri Amar Diraja who was the Prime Minister then and had a son by the name of Raja Abdullah.

When Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (I) passed away, the Sultan appointed Tun Perpatih Serdang, son of the late Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (I) as the Bendahara of Melaka and was called Seri Wak Raja (II). However, Seri Wak Raja (II) committed suicide by poisoning himself when he misunderstood that Sultan Muzaffar Shah was angry with him. The late Bendahara Seri Wak Raja (II) left a daughter, Tun Kudu and two sons, Tun Perak and Tun Perpatih Putih and Sultan Muzaffar Shah later married Tun Kudu. Tun Perak who was not holding any post in Melaka was sent by Sultan Muzaffar Shah to be the headman of Kelang. Seri Nara Diraja acted as Bendahara of Melaka.

A looming threat from Ayuthia, the capital of Siam, became a reality in the form of an attack on Melaka by land in 1446. Tun Perak brought men from Kelang to help Melaka repel the Siamese. His good sense and leadership qualities attracted the attention of the Sultan, whose desire to see Melaka prosper made him appoint Tun Perak as the Bendahara.

Tun Perak?s rise to political prominence created a tension between him and Tun Ali. Since his two favourite leaders were at odds, which could caused a split among the people, Sultan Muzaffar Shah had a discussion with Tun Ali, who was an elderly widower. Tun Ali agreed to keep on the condition that he was allowed to marry Tun Kudu, the Sultan?s consort. Sultan Muzaffar Syah agreed to divorce his consort in the interest of political stability and Tun Kudu also agreed, for the peace of the nation, to marry Tun Ali. The sacrifices of Tun Kudu and Sultan Muzaffar Syah were not in vain. Tun Ali and Tun Perak became good friends and supported each other in working for the development of Melaka. It was not long before Tun Ali himself asked the Sultan to appoint Tun Perak as Bendahara. The Sultan then appointed Tun Perak as the Bendahara with the title ?Paduka Raja? around the year 1456.

The Government of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, wanted to conquer Melaka atlhough an earlier attack by land had ended in defeat for the Siamese. In 1456, during the reign of King Boromo Trilokanat, they planned a naval attack on Melaka. The government of Melaka, when it learned of Ayuthai?s intentions, put its naval forces in readiness and decided to repel the attack near Batu Pahat. The forces were commanded by Tun Perak and assisted by Tun Hamzah, a warrior by the nickname Datuk Bongkok. A fierce fight broke out between the two sides and this was the first engagement Melaka had faced. Nevertheless, they were more superior in skill and knowledge and their ships succeeded in driving off the Siamese, pursuing them to Singapore and forcing them to return home. Melaka?s victory in this battle gave it new confidence to devise strategies for extending its influence throughout the Archipelago. The defeat of Siam brought political stability to Melaka and enhanced its reputation in South East Asia. However, Sultan Muzaffar Syah died after the Siamese?s attack in 1456.

Fourth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Abu Syahid (1445 - 1446)

After the death of Sultan Muhammad Syah in 1445, Raja Ibrahim, his son by the Princess of Rokan was appointed as the fourth ruler of Melaka and he was called Sultan Abu Syahid. Tun Ali was made the Chief Treasurer of Melaka with the title Seri Nara Diraja to replace his grandfather Seri Nara Diraja Tun Perpatih Besar. Although Sultan Abu Syahid was the ruler of Melaka, the real ruling power of Melaka was held by Raja Rokan, the cousin of his mother who came to stay in Melaka during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Syah. During this period, Melaka seem to be ruled by Raja Rokan who was always with Sultan Abu Syahid. Owing to this, the senior officials of Melaka disliked Raja Rokan. Raja Rokan prohibited Raja Kassim, the son of the late Sultan Muhammad Syah with Tun Wati to stay in the palace. Raja Kassim was forced to leave the palace and led the life of a fisherman. His uncle, Tun Ali and no one else, really cared about him and protected him against any threat.

As a result, Raja Kassim then conspired with his uncle Seri Nara Diraja against Raja Rokan. Their plan received good response from the people of Melaka who disliked Raja Rokan and Seri Nara Diraja and Raja Kasim tricked the Bendahara of Melaka to be on their side. The attack was carried out in the night at the palace between the followers of Sultan Abu Syahid and the people of Melaka brought by Raja Kasim, the Bendahara and Seri Nara Diraja Tun Ali. During the attack Raja Kasim and Seri Nara Diraja Tun Ali tried to take Sultan Abu Syahid away from Raja Rokan but failed to do so. When Raja Rokan was stabbed by one of the attackers, he quickly stabbed Sultan Abu Syahid in retaliation. As a result, both the Sultan and Raja Rokan were finally killed in the attack in 1447. Sultan Abu Sayid?s death, although not planned beforehand, was an important development in the history of Melaka, because it actually ensured continuity and political stability in Melaka.

Third Ruler of Melaka : Seri Maharaja (Raja Tengah ) or Sultan Muhammad Syah

In 1424, after the death of Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah, his son that is, Raja Tengah who was also known Radin Tengah was made the third ruler of Melaka. In 1424, Raja Tengah and his wife made their first visit to China to inform the Emperor of China about the death of his father and his succession to the throne. In 1433, Raja Tengah together with his wife, children and younger brother called Radin Bala with a royal party of 228 people left for China with Admiral?s Cheng Ho fleet. They stayed in China for two years. From the year 1434, the Chinese empire began to change its policy, ceasing to have a keen interest in other countries including those in South East Asia.

During the reign of Raja Tengah, a religious Muslim Man known as Saiyid Abdul Aziz came to Melaka to spread the teaching of Islam. The ruler of Melaka together with his senior officials and the Malays of Melaka listened to his teachings. He also proposed that Raja Tengah used the Muslim name of Sultan Muhammad Syah.

Not long after, Sultan Muhammad Syah appointed several senior officials with responsibilities for internal administration. Among them were a ?Bendahara?, called Seri Wak Raja; the younger brother of the ruler, Radin Amin was made the Prime Minister and given the title Seri Amar Diraja. Tun Perpatih Besar, the son of Tun Perpatih Permuka Berjajar of Singapore was made the Chief Treasurer with the title Seri Nara Diraja. Seri Nara Diraja married the daughter of Seri Wak Raja and had a daughter named Tun Rana Sandari.

Mani Purindan, a wealthy man from India visited Melaka with a fleet of seven ships and was well received by Sultan Muhammad Syah who regarded his status as that of a minister. Mani Purindan then became the son-in-law of Seri Nara Diraja when he married his daughter Tun Ratna Sandari. They had a son by the name of Tun Ali and a daughter named Tun Wati. Tun Wati was later married to Sultan Muhammad Syah and had a son named Raja Kasim. The Sultan later married the daughter of the Ruler of Rokan and had a son called Raja Ibrahim. Although Raja Ibrahim was younger than Raja Kasim, he was made successor to the throne of Melaka by the Sultan at the request of his mother the Princess of Rokan, the Queen of Melaka. It was also during Sultan Muhammad?s reign that Tun Ali, the son of Mani Purindan was appointed Chief Treasurer of Melaka with the title Seri Nara Diraja to replace his grandfather Seri Nara Diraja Tun Perpatih Besar.

Besides appointing some senior officials, Sultan Muhammad Syah was the first ruler of Melaka to introduce customs and traditions and also prohibitions regarding royal status in Melaka. Among the customs and traditions were the use of umbrellas, presiding in court, paying homage, visiting and departing envoys, conferment of titles, royal departures, royal audience, royal banquet, royal departure to the mosque and ?Hari Raya?.

Among the prohibitions introduced on the commoners by Sultan Muhammad Syah included the use of yellow materials, building a house or boat, wearing the kris, gold, jewelleries and attire that can be worn by commoners. Anyone who did not comply with these prohibitions would be fined ?a kati five? or ?denda pati?. The customs and prohibitions that were introduced by Sultan Muhammad Syah were still being used by the present Malay rulers but have been more relaxed.

In 1444, Sultan Muhammad Syah died after reigning Melaka for twenty years. He left behind two sons that is, Raja Kasim, the son of Tun Wati and Raja Ibrahim, the son of the Princess of Rokan.

Second Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah (1414 ? 1424)

When Parameswara died in 1414, he was succeeded by his son Raja Ahmad who was also known as Raja Besar Muda who became the second ruler of Melaka. He was called Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah. He made two visits to China during his reign to gain recognition from the Chinese Emperor and to further strengthened his position as the ruler of Melaka.

Melaka continued to prosper under Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah. Two tin mining areas were found in the northern part of Melaka and were guarded by royal officials. Tin was used as money in the state. Most of the Chinese junks, which stopped at Melaka, had to pay duty. Charcoal and resin were produced from the forests of Melaka. Sago palms could be found in the orchards of Melaka and the estuaries and beaches in Melaka were lined with palm trees known as nipah palm. Various kinds of plants such as banana, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, yam, pineapple, potatoes were grown and other varieties of vegetables such as onions, ginger, mustard, gourds and watermelons were also grown. Domestic animals such as ducks, chicken, buffaloes and goats were reared. However, buffaloes and goats were not common because of the high price then.

Melaka was surrounded by a wall built along the shore. There were four entrances to the wall with guards placed at each entrance. The fenced fortress was built in the town of Melaka in which were several stores were used as the state?s treasury and state?s supply.

Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah with his wife, son and senior officials paid a second visit to China. During this visit, the Sultan of Melaka appealed for help from the Chinese Emperor against Siamese aggression. Therefore in October 1419, the Emperor of China sent his envoy to warn the Siamese ruler not to harass Melaka. Relationship between the Emperor of China and the Sultan of Melaka were further strengthened by sending envoys to China, which were led by the Melaka princes in the years 1420, 1421 and 1423. In 1424, Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah passed away.

First Ruler of Melaka : Parameswara 1394-1414

Parameswara was a prince of Palembang. In 1930 he married a daughter of the Majapahit Emperor and became a vassal of the his father-in-law. Not long after he threw off his allegiance to the Majapahit Emperor, who at once sent warriors to drive him out of Sumatra. Parameswara fled to Tumasek, which was actually old Singapore with his family and followers. During this time Singapore was ruled by a Malay chief from Patani, who was appointed by the ruler of Siam. The Malay Governor treated Parameswara well, but Parameswara killed the Governor a few days later and made himself Chief of Singapore and the neighboring islands. Parameswara ruled Singapore for about five years as a sort of pirate captain.

During the middle of the 14th century, the Siamese who were expanding their territorial power in the north of the Malay Peninsula as far as the state of Pahang, failed to extend their powers to Singapore although attempts were made to attack Singapore. This was because the kingdom of Majapahit at that time was at the peak of its strength and power and was feared by other kingdom in the Malay Archipelago. Several states along the Straits of Melaka including Tumasik or Singapore, as it is now known were under the control of Majapahit. A Javanese fleet from Majapahit attacked Singapore during Parameswara?s reign of Singapore. After defeating Singapore, the Javanese returned to Java. Owing to this, it was believed that the attack made by the Javanese from Majapahit on Singapore did not result in the downfall of the kingdom of Singapore and Parameswara?s flight from Singapore but had however, continued to rule it in its declining condition.

When Parameswara failed to establish a kingdom at two places in Muar, that is, Biawak Busuk and Kota Buruk, he led his followers to a place known as Sening Ujung or now known as Sungei Ujong. He continued his journey from here until he came to the mouth of the Bertam River where he founded Melaka and became the first ruler around the year 1394. However, during this time, Parameswara was still a Hindu. Hence a Malay kingdom was therefore established in Melaka to continue the existence of the Malay kingdom of Singapore which had fallen.

After Melaka was founded, Parameswara began to develop the place and ordered his men to cultivate the lands with banana, sugar cane, yam and other crops for food. Parameswara himself carried on trade in Melaka. Within a short period of time, news about the town of Melaka begun to spread all over Malaya, Sumatra, Java and India which resulted in a large number of traders coming to trade in Melaka. Two years after Parameswara founded Melaka, the population had soared to two thousand.

Not long after, news about Melaka becoming a center of trade and commerce reached China. Yung-Lo, the Emperor of China who reigned from 1402 till 1424 send his envoy known as Ying Ching to Melaka in 1405. Yin Ching?s visit opened the way for the establishment of friendly relations between Melaka and China. Chinese merchants began calling at the port of Melaka and they can be said to be among the first traders to set up bases here. When the envoy of Melaka paid homage to the Emperor of China, the emperor praised Parameswara and acknowledged him as the rightful ruler of Melaka. Emperor Yung Lo then presented Parameswara with a seal, silk and a yellow umbrella as a symbol of royalty and also a letter appointing Parameswara as the ruler of Melaka. Melaka was then recognized as a kingdom by the Emperor of China. The envoy returned to Melaka together with a fleet led by Admiral Cheng Ho who was the first Chinese man to sail and explore the areas in the southern region.

It was during Parameswara?s reign that a large number of Javanese, Indians, Chinese, Burmese and other foreigners came to settle in Melaka. In 1409, Parameswara was converted into a Muslim and adopted the name Parameswara Iskandar Syah. Two years later, in 1411, Parameswara Iskandar Syah himself, his wife and son with a royal party of 540 people left for China with Admiral Cheng Ho to pay homage to Emperor Yung Lo.

In 1414, Parameswara passed away and was believed to be buried on top of a hill in Tanjung Tuan, which was also known as Cape Rachado. Parameswara had turned Melaka into a flourishing trading center during his twenty years reign in Melaka. He also established a strong relationship with the Emperor of China by sending six envoys to China.


Prehistoric Period
Malaysia comprises the Malay Peninsula, the southern most tip of the Asian mainland, and the states of Sabah and Sarawak, situated 530 kilometers further east across the South China Sea in Northern Borneo.

Malaysia?s prehistory begins with the earliest known traces of human habitation around 40 millenniums ago, and extend through the prehistoric period to the founding of Melaka Sultanate in the 1400, the date commonly used as the starting point of the historic era. Because so much has been written about Melaka, that the long period preceding it, that is the prehistory period has been overshadowed.

The study of early history in Malaysia has been affected by two factors, that is the physical geography and the climate. Researchers have tended to concentrate their research either on the Peninsula or the states of Sabah and Sarawak resulting in an incomplete research on the overall prehistory of Malaysia. The climate of Malaysia which is torrid and the dense rain forests have left few artifacts other than earth wares and stones and metal tools remain from the earlier periods. Most of these, including burials have been found in the protected environment of caves. The only surviving architectural remnants are the stone foundations of the 5th to the 13th century buildings from the kingdom period in Kedah and from Santubong in Sarawak.

The earliest evidence of human occupation in Sarawak is a 38,000-year-old skull from the Niah Caves whereas the earliest evidence from the Peninsula is an 11,000-year-old skeleton from Gua Gunung Runtuh in Perak. The oldest artifacts are Paleolithic stone stools from Kota Tampan, Perak, dated back to 34,000 years ago, while the earliest Borneon artifacts are stone tools from Tingkayu, Sabah produced between 28,000 and 18,000 years ago. Hunter-gatherer lifestyles changed dramatically about 5,000 years ago when they acquired the knowledge of producing polished stone tools and earth ware. Evidence of Neolithic culture can be found either on its own, or at Mesolithic sites, including the Niah caves in Sarawak, Gua Cha in Kelantan and Gua Kechil in Pahang.

Peninsular Metal Age sites are also concentrated in the north with the exception of the discovery of a bronze bell in Muar, Johor. East coast discoveries were often situated near gold sources, while those on the west coast were near tin sources. Metal Age culture is also represented by iron items, including long-shafted tools known to the Malays as tulang mawas, or ape?s bones, which have been found only in Peninsular Malaysia. The presence of bronze ware from North Vietnam provides the first tangible evidence of long distance seafaring and the establishment of maritime trade links with mainland Southeast Asia. Indian beads found at Metal age sites such as Kuala Selinsing (200 BCE ? 900 CE) and Changkat Menteri (1-800 CE) both located in Perak are proof of trade ties with South Asia.

Protohistoric Malaysia

The earliest confirmed kingdom in Kedah?s Bujang Valley dates from the 5th century, while a polity was established at Santubong, Sarawak and another at Chi tu in Kelantan in the 7th century. During the 8th to the 14th centuries, settlements were established in Johor, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. Diplomatic ties with China and trade with China, India and other governments in Southeast Asia were established during the early kingdom period. Relics found at the Bujang Valley, the Kinta Valley of Perak and at Santubong showed evidence that Hindu and Buddhist influence had a great impact on the Malaysian culture up to the 14th century. During the same period, megalithic culture was evident in the Bernam Valley of Perak and in Sabah and Sarawak. While Dongson style existed where bronze drums were found in remote areas, communities still practiced Stone Age culture. The first confirmed evidence of a polity, which had embraced Islam, comes from an inscribed stone dated 1301, which was found in Terengganu.

Early Settlement

Malaysia was one of the earliest homes of Man. Stone implements found at Lenggong in Perak and the remarkable finds in the Niah Cave of Sarawak provide evidence of this. The earliest of the present day inhabitants of Malaysia are the Orang Asli of the Peninsula and people such as the Penan of Sarawak and the Rungus of Sabah. Their presence in the country probably dates back to over 5,000 years. These early settlers were probably the pioneers of the movement of people southwards from China and Tibet through mainland Southeast Asia and the Malay Peninsula to the Indonesian Archipelago. The first Malay settlers or the Proto-Malays had probably established themselves here by 1the year 1000. They represented the second and third wave of this movement. This movement was followed by other waves of immigrants such as the Deutero?Malays over the next few centuries. They came equipped with more advanced farming techniques and new knowledge of metals. The Malay peoples also spread out into the islands of the archipelago, settling down into small self-contained communities that gave rise to the complex and variegated ethnic pattern of Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malays of the Peninsula had their closet affinities with the Malays of Sumatra, and for centuries the Straits of Melaka did not form a dividing line between the two nations but served as a corridor linking different parts of the same family. The Malays together with the Orang Asli make up the indigenous peoples of Malaysia today, and are classified as ?sons of the soil? or Bumiputera. Despite the considerable differences between the various Bumiputera groups, they all share certain characteristics, which are the hallmarks of the indigenous culture of Southeast Asia. These characteristics are rooted in an agrarian-maritime economy and reflected in a village society where leadership was largely through consensus. Although the culture of the Malays in particular can to be overlaid by Hinduism and then pervaded by Islam, elements of this basic culture still persist.

Ancient Malay Government

The ancient Malay Sultanate of Melaka was a sultanate whose rein of government was entirely in the hands of the rulers and the Malay officials. The Malay rulers of Melaka originated from Singapore that was after the defeat of the Malay kingdom of Singapore by the Siamese. The Malay Sultanate of Melaka lasted for little over a century, stretching from the end of the fourteenth century to the early part of the sixteenth century that is from 1394 to 1511. Under the reign of the Malay rulers, Melaka was not only a prosperous trading town but also the center for the spread of Islam for the whole of the Malay Archipelago. After the decline of the Seri Vijaya and Majapahit Empires at the end of the fourteenth century, it was Melaka, which raised and maintained Malay rule in the Malay Archipelago. Political stability and a just legal system attracted traders from all over the Archipelago to Melaka. Traders from China, Indian sub-continent, Pegu in Burma and Arabia came to Melaka to trade.

First Ruler of Melaka : Parameswara 1394-1414
Second Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Megat Iskandar Syah (1414 ? 1424)
Third Ruler of Melaka : Seri Maharaja (Raja Tengah ) or Sultan Muhammad Syah
Fourth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Abu Syahid (1445 ?1446)
Fifth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Muzaffar Syah (1446 ? 1456)
The Sixth Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Mansur Syah (1456 ? 1477)
Seventh Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah (1477- 1488)
Eight Ruler of Melaka : Sultan Mahmud Syah (1488 ? 1511)

1511 - 1945

The Coming of the Portuguese (1511 ? 1624)
Dutch captured Melaka from the Portuguese (1641 ? 1824)
The Surrender of the Portuguese to the Dutch (1641 - 1824)
The Surrender of Melaka to the British By The Dutch (1824 - 1941 )
The Founding of Penang ( 1786)
James Brooke in Borneo ( 1841 - 1863)
The Federated Malay States (1896)
The Unfederated Malay States
System of Communications
Health and Medical Services
World War I (1914 till 1918)
World War II (1941 till 1945)

1946 - 1957

British Military Administration
The Formation of the Malayan Union
Federation of Malaya
Malayan Independence

1958 - 1969

Formation of Malaysia
Confrontation with Indonesia
Malaysian Political System
13 May 1969 Incident


Tun Abdul Razak took over as Prime Minister upon the retirement of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj on the 22 September 1970. The economic prosperity achieved in the 1970s enabled the administration of Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn who took over on thhe death of Tun Razak in 1976 to make considerable progress towards these ends. Malaysia also established a more independent foreign policy which lead to the founding of ASEAN in 1967. Malaysia also recognised Communist China in 1974 and identifying the nation with non-aligned countries of the third world.

The New Economic Policy was given a fresh impetus under the premiership of Tun Hussein Onn. The National Unit Trust or Amanah Saham Nasional was was introduced to allow bumiputera to invest in shares. This Unit Trust was controlled by National Equity Corporation or Permodalan Nasional Berhad.


The 1980s brought new political directions and economic challenges. Dato?Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who took over the premeiership from Tun Hussein Onn on 17th July 1981 initiated a bold policy of heavy industrialization such as the national car project, oil refineries and a steel industry.

The National Car

The national car project first started as a joint venture between Perusahaan Otomobil National Berhad(PROTON), HICOM berhad, Mitsubushi Motor Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation. On 9th July 1985, the first Proton saga was manufactured. The Proton car became the best selling car in the local passenger car for both the Malaysian and overseas markets since 1990

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