Fortaleza de la Malacca -The Fortress of Malacca

First and foremost, I think I should apologize to my readers for boring you with my post lately. I’m turning my blog into a somewhat history class… but then again, I can’t help it. I’ve always been fascinated with history, relics and monuments. And if I were to have my way and there’s someone out there who is willing to fund my travels… I would have backpack around the entire world to see the ancient wonders left by men of dead civilization.

Anyway, today, I’d like to talk about the Fortaleza de la Malacca… or in English… The Fortress of Malacca. (Did you know that the entire Malacca was actually huge fortress surrounding the the city? Well, yeah, now you know)

According to the writing of the Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Erédia who lived in the middle of the 16th century, the site of the old city of Malacca was named after the Myrobalans, fruit-bearing trees along the banks of a river called Airlele (Ayer Leleh). The Airlele river was said to originate from Bukit Cina. Eredia dictated that the city was founded by Permicuri (Parameswara) the first King of Malacca in 1411.

Following the defeat of Malacca in 15 August 1511 in the Capture of Malacca (1511), Afonso de Albuquerque sought to erect a permanent form of fortification in anticipation of the counterattacks by Sultan Mahmud Shah to reclaim his land.

A fortress was designed and constructed encompassing a hill, lining the edge of the sea shore, on the south east of the river mouth, on the former site of the Sultan’s palace that was destroyed during the battle in order to conquer the city.

There are 4 gateways build for the city. They are: Porta de Santiago, (The Port of Santiago), The gateway of the Custom House Terrace, Porta de Santo António and Porta de São Domingos.

Among these four gateways, only two were in common use and open to traffic, the Gate of Santo António linking to the suburb of Yler (modern day Hilir) and the western gate at the Custom House Terrace, giving access to Tranqueira (modern day Tengkera) and its bazaar.

After almost 300 years of existence, in 1806, the British, unwilling to maintain the fortress and wary of letting other European powers taking control of it, ordered its slow destruction. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles visiting Malacca in 1810. The only remnants of the earliest Portuguese fortress in Southeast Asia is the Porta de Santiago, now more commonly known as the A Famosa Fortress.

Here lies an explanation about the fortress. It says: The only remains of the ancient fortress of Malacca build by Alfonso D’ Albuqueque and by him named Famosa. 1511. Near this stood the Bastion of Santiago.

This is Porta de La Santiago… locally known as The Fortress of Santiago/Fort of Santiago.

While below, the fort on the hill is the famous and once majestic A Famosa.

And nearby, there was remains of Bastion de Santiago.

Another part of the Bastion of Santiago

Seeing all of these remains makes me think… that human are so fragile… their civilization could be easily destroyed in time… and only those who emerge victory would write the history of humankind, which is often biased, and only half truth.

Cleffairy: Consider this…nobody is great as Him up above. Everything could be erased in the history of mankind, but the knowledge about He shall remain.


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