Malaysia

Malacca

Malacca City is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Malacca. It is the oldest Malaysian city on the Straits of Malacca, having become a successful entrepôt in the era of the Malacca Sultanate. The present-day city was founded by Parameswara, a Sumatran prince who escaped to the Malay Peninsula when Srivijaya fell to the Majapahit. Following the establishment of the Malacca Sultanate, the city drew the attention of traders from the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia, as well as the Portuguese, who intended to dominate the trade route in Asia. After Malacca was conquered by Portugal, the city became an area of conflict when the sultanates of Aceh and Johor attempted to take control from the Portuguese.

Following a number of wars between these territories, Aceh declined in influence while Johor survived and expanded its influence over territory previously lost to Aceh in Sumatra when Johor co-operated with the Dutch who arrived to establish dominance over Java and Maluku Islands. However, due to royal internal strife between the Malay and Bugis, the Johor-Riau Empire was divided into the sultanates of Johor and Riau-Lingga. This separation became permanent when the British arrived to establish their presence in the Malay Peninsula. The Dutch, who already felt threatened in the presence of the British, began conquering the Riau-Lingga Sultanate along with the rest of Sumatra, while Johor came under British influence following the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

When the British succeeded in extending their influence over the Malay Peninsula, the city soon became an area of development under the Straits Settlements as part of the British Empire. The development and burgeoning prosperity were, however, halted when the Japanese arrived in World War II and occupied the area from 1942 to 1945. During the occupation, many of the city’s residents were taken and forced to construct the Death Railway in Burma (present-day Myanmar). After the war, the city was returned to the British and remained as the capital of Malacca. The status as a capital remained until the formation of Malaysia in 1963, and in 2008 it was listed, together with George Town of Penang, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its long history.

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