Melaka – the history

Melaka – the history

What makes Melaka interesting is its privatol role in the history of SE Asian colonialism. In 1511, the Portuguese arrived and displaced the local sultans. 130 years later the Dutch evicted the Portuguese and imposed a trade monopoly. And then in the late 18th century the British took over the administration.

The prize was a port bridging the east and west, a trading post between the spice islands and the European markets, ensuring Melaka, during the Dutch period, became one of the wealthiest ports on the planet. Today, it’s hard to believe. Melaka is a city of 0.8 million people, but looked to us like an industrial and trading backwater. It’s a tale of two cities; the British always preferred their other port down the Malacca Straits – Singapore.

This is the only bit that remains of the A’Famosa Portuguese fort. Much of it was blown up by Farquhar, the Scottish rival of Raffles, until the latter stepped in to stop it
Up on the hill, the Portuguese built church dating back to 1521, still evokes colonial splendour. But it’s now just a shell and fronted by a British built lighthouse
We enjoyed going around a distinctive Straits Chinese (or Baba-Nonya) home. These Chinese first settled in Melaka back in the 1400s, and have added many Malay customs to their heritage

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