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Indonesia History - Malacca Sultanate - 1400-1824

The founder of the Sultanate of Malacca was Parames'vara, a native of Palembang and the husband of a princess of Majapahit. Parames'vara was probably ethnically Javanese himself, but he was at the same time `a native of Palembang. Failing to seize power in Palembang after the death of Hayam Wuruk (1389), he took refuge at Tumasik (Singapore) and killed its Malay chief, a vassal of the Siamese kingdom ruling there at the time. After reigning a few years, he was driven out of Singapore by the Siamese. He and his court fled first to Muar, then to Bertam, and finally to Malacca where a permanent kingdom was established.

According to the Code of Malacca, "Be it known, oh person, seeking information respecting these usages, that the genealogy of the sovereigns of Malacca from the time of Sultan Secunder Shah Zualkarnein (Alexander the Great), who ruled over all mankind, is continued down to the present time, through Sultan Iscander Shah, the first king, who founded the city of Malacca, and assumed the title of Sultan Mahomed Shah, the shadow of Allah in this world.

"He was the first monarch who embraced Islam, and established forms of government for kings, ministers, and nobles, with instructions for the administration of the kingdom.* To him succeeded Baghinda Sultan Mozuffer Shah; Mansur Shah, Petara Baghinda, Sultan Ali uddin Riayet Shah, down to Petara Baghinda Sultan Mahmud Shah, Lord of the faithful, the shadow of God upon earth, whose commands have been handed down as models and guides for kings in the administration of government."

Malacca was a very ancient Sultanate dating from even before the Muhammadan religion reached the Straits of Malacca. The Sultans of Malacca, before they were driven out of that place by the Portuguese, who were succeeded by the Dutch, may be said to have been the dominant power over the Malay peninsula, the Archipelago, and the eastern parts of Sumatra, although each of the states and territories beyond the immediate neighbourhood of Malacca was occupied and governed by its own chiefs under different titles ; independent within their own provinces, but feudatory or tributary to the sovereignty of the Sultan of Malacca.

The state of Johore is a case in point. Although the first authentic records date only from the days of the Portuguese conquest, yet there are occasional historical glimpses of the Sultanate of Malacca as far back as the earlier part of the thirteenth century, when the then reigning Sultan, Mahmud Shah, adopted the faith of Islam.

After the defeat of Malacca by the Portugese in 1511 Sultan Ahmed and the court fled to the south and eventually established a polity which embraced Johor and the island groups of Riau and Lingga in modern Indonesia. Subsequently his successors retreated still further southwards to the island of Rhio, and finally to Lingga. As the sultanic power gradually declined, the most northerly states of the peninsula first, and finally those to the south, one by one naturally grew really independent, became tributary to one another, or formed treaties with the European powers of the time.

Thus the hereditary Temenggong, or chief of Johore, virtually became an independent ruler. Johore took an important part in the one hundred and forty years' struggle for Malacca between the Portuguese and the Dutch. At that time the seat of Malay Government was established at Johore Lama, on the Johore river. Up to 1773 the Negri Sembilan or Nine States were feudatory to Johore, but afterwards they petitioned for and obtained a chief of their own from Menangkabau.

When, in 1795, the Dutch in their turn were driven out of Malacca, they forcibly took possession of the Carimons and several other islands then under Johore. At the restoration of the Dutch possessions at the peace, they were still allowed to retain these islands; and when, in 1819, the grandfather of the Sultan, and the then and last titular Sultan of Johore, ceded Singapore to the British, Johore rule became virtually confined to the mainland.

In 1824 the British and Dutch split the Malacca Sultanate into two, leaving one half on the Dutch side and the other on the British side. By the treaty of 1855 the British acknowledged the de facto administrative.'right of the Temenggong, and the capital was again removed to Johore Bahru, or New Johore. In 1868 the title of Maharaja was assumed by the present ruler, and this was again changed to that of Sultan by the Treaty of 1885, thus restoring the old Malacca title.

It might be said, in speaking of territorial rights, "Then why did not the Negri Sembilan possess Malacca?" Again the Sultans of Malacca and of Menangkabau were apparently closely related, the Negri Sembilan settlers acknowledging the Sultanate of Malacca supreme, as it was, in the Malay Peninsula, and when this Sultanate was driven by the Portuguese to settle in Johor, they acknowledged the ancient Sultans of Johor.




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Page last modified: 18-04-2012 19:22:41 ZULU