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Malacca is also the name of the largest village on Car Nicobar, the northernmost of the Nicobar Islands.
Map of Malacca in Peninsular Malaysia
Map of Malacca in Peninsular Malaysia

Malacca (or Melaka in Malay) is a state of Malaysia, located in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. The state's capital is also called Melaka or Malacca.

Although the first Malay sultanate started in Malacca, the state has no Sultan today. Instead, the head of state is the Governor or Yang Di-Pertuan Negeri, who is appointed by the head of state, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consulting the Chief Minister of Malacca. Currently, the Governor of Malacca is Tun Datuk Seri Utama Mohd. Khalil b. Yaakob, the former Minister of Information of Malaysia. While, the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister of the state is YAB Datuk Seri Hj. Mohd Ali b. Mohd Rustam.



Baba-Nyonya House in Malacca, Malaysia
Baba-Nyonya House in Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca was founded by Parameswara, a Srivijayan prince who left Sumatra in 1396. He converted to Islam in 1414, thus creating a Sultanate of Malacca in order to further his enmity with the Majapahit Empire. What started as a fishing village then grew into the most important port in the region, serving as a stopping point for China-India trade during the two monsoon periods. Because of its strategic location, Malacca was an important outpost for Zheng He's spectacular exploration fleet.

A cultural result of the vibrant trade was the expansion of the Peranakan people, who spread to other major settlements in the region.

Malacca was occupied on August 24th 1511 by the Portuguese viceroy of India, Alfonso d'Albuquerque and became a strategic base for Portuguese expansion in the East Indies. The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier spent several months in Malacca in 1545, 1546 and 1549. In 1641 the Dutch defeated the Portuguese to capture Malacca with the help of the Sultan of Johore.

Malacca was ceded to the English in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. From 1826 to 1946 Malacca was governed, first by the British East India Company and then as a Crown Colony. It formed part of the Straits Settlements, together with Singapore and Penang. After the dissolution of this crown colony, Malacca and Penang became part of the Malayan Union, which later became Malaysia.


Malacca is on the southwest coast of the Malay peninsula opposite Sumatra, with the states of Negeri Sembilan to the north and Johor to the east.

Land area 1650 sq km
Population (2001) 648,500
State Capital Malacca (town)


A majority of the people are Malays. There is still a Eurasian minority of Portuguese descendants with Catholic denomination in Malacca, who speak an ancient Portuguese dialect called Cristao. Even to this very day many of the ancient traditions passed down since the Portuguese occupation are still practised, i.e. "Intrudu" (water festival), "branyu" (wedding traditional dance), "santa cruz" (a yearly fiesta of street celebrations).

Malacca also has many Overseas Chinese, called the Peranakan, many of whom settled in Malacca during the heyday of the India-China trade . There are several Chinese temples and buildings in the city of Malacca and its surroundings. A story tells of a beautiful Chinese princess named Hang Li Poh 汉丽宝, who was encorted by Zheng He to Malacca to be wed to the Sultan Mansur Shah. In order to keep the princess from homesickness, an entourage of five hundred maidens (and their attendants) were sent in her company by order of the Chinese king. According to local legend, these maidens eventually married locally and settled in an area called Bukit Cina or Chinese Hill in Malacca. It is not clear whether this story had any historical bearing, however it is more likely that the Chinese who settled are Malacca are either traders or sailors. One thing for certain is that Malacca was often used as a port of call during Zheng He's many voyages from China.

A small group of local Indians, known as the Chitty, can be also found.


Stadhuys, Malacca
Stadhuys, Malacca
  • A Famosa fortress
  • Bukit China cemetery
  • Cheng Hoon Teng temple
  • Christ Church
  • Dutch Square
  • Saint Francis Xavier Church
  • Hang Jebat mausoleum
  • Hang Kasturi mausoleum
  • Independence Memorial
  • Kampong Hulu mosque
  • Kampong Keling mosque
  • Poh San Teng temple
  • Sri Poyyatha temple
  • St. John Fort
  • St. Paul Fort
  • Ruins of St. Paul Church - where Saint Francis Xavier was temporarily buried from March 22, 1553 to December 11, 1553
  • St. Peter Church
  • Sultan's well
  • Tranquerah mosque
  • Victoria Fountain


  • Tampin , a town 30km north of Malacca town, is the nearest train station that serves Malacca.
  • The North-South highway in Malaysia's closest exit to Malacca is the Ayer Keroh exit.
  • Malacca has a bus station with regular bus services to Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and other places in Malaysia.
  • Malacca also has an airport which mainly serving chartered flights from around the region.

Related articles

External link

  • Official Melaka government website
  • Malacca's Colonial Past

Last updated: 02-06-2005 18:13:43
Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12