Monday, January 11, 2010

Early Malaya

Early History

Archaeological remains have been found throughout peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. The Semang, an ethnic Negrito group, have a deep ancestry within the Malay Peninsula, dating to migration from Africa over 50,000 years ago. They are considered an indigenous people to the area.

The Senoi appear to be a composite group, with approximately half of the maternal DNA lineages tracing back to the ancestors of the Semang and about half to later ancestral migrations from Indochina. Scholars suggest they are descendants of early Austronesian-speaking agriculturalists, who brought both their language and their technology to the southern part of the peninsula approximately 5,000 years ago. They united and coalesced with the indigenous population.

The Aboriginal Malays(Proto Malay, also known as Melayu Asli or Melayu Purba) are more diverse. Although they show some connections with island Southeast Asia, some also have an ancestry in Indochina around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, about 20,000 years ago.

Anthropologists support the notion that the Proto Malays originated from what is today Yunnan, China. This was followed by an early-Holocene dispersal through the Malay Peninsula into Southeast Asia.


The ancient Hindu kingdom in SEA were mainly city state, located at the coastal areas or along the river banks. Most of the hinterland are forest and uninhabited or thinly inhabited. The state were mainly towns, villages,or even tribal, geographical borders or national identity are blurred. They are also mainly trading centers.

Ptolemy showed the Malay Peninsula on his early map with a label that translates as "Golden Chersonese". He referred to the Straits of Malacca as Sinus Sabaricus. From the mid to the late first millennium, much of the Peninsula as well as the Malay Archipelago was under the influence of Srivijaya(Hindu kingdom from Sumatra).

The Hindu Kedah Sultanate(Kedah, Perlis-formerly under Kedah)
The Chinese and Indians established kingdoms in the area in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE—as many as 30, according to Chinese sources. Kedah—known as Kedaram, Cheh-Cha (according to I-Ching) or Kataha, in ancient Pallava or Sanskrit—was in the direct route of invasions of Indian traders and kings. Rajendra Chola, the ancient Tamil emperor who is now thought to have laid Kota Gelanggi to waste, controlled Kedah in 1025. His successor, Vira Rajendra Chola, had to put down a Kedah rebellion to overthrow the invaders. The coming of the Chola reduced the majesty of Srivijaya, which had exerted influence over Kedah, Pattani and as far as Ligor.

Buddhist Kindom of Ligor(Kelantan, Trengganu)
The Buddhist kingdom of Ligor(now Thailand) took control of Kedah shortly after. Its king Chandrabhanu used it as a base to attack Sri Lanka in the 11th century, an event noted in a stone inscription in Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu and in the Sri Lankan chronicles, Mahavamsa. During the first millennium, the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted Hinduism and Buddhism and the use of the Sanskrit language. They later converted to Islam.

Hindu Sri Vijaya Kingdom
Between the 7th and the 13th century, much of Peninsular Malaysia was under the Srivijaya empire, which was centred in Palembang on the island of Sumatra(now Indonesia). Following that, a wider Majapahit empire, based on Java island, had influence over most of Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and the coasts of Borneo island.

Hindu Malacca Sultanate
In the early 15th century, Parameswara, a prince from Palembang, Sumatra(now Indonesia)from the once Srivijayan empire, established a dynasty and founded the Malacca Sultanate. Conquest forced him and many others to flee Palembang. Parameswara in particular sailed to Temasek to escape persecution. There he came under the protection of Temagi, a Malay chief from Patani who was appointed by the King of Siam as Regent of Temasek. Within a few days, Parameswara killed Temagi and appointed himself regent. Some five years later he had to leave Temasek, due to threats from Siam. During this period, a Javanese fleet from Majapahit attacked Temasek.

Parameswara headed north to found a new settlement. At Muar, Parameswara considered siting his new kingdom at either Biawak Busuk or at Kota Buruk. Finding that the Muar location was not suitable, he continued his journey northwards. Along the way, he reportedly visited Sening Ujong (former name of present-day Sungai Ujong) before reaching a fishing village at the mouth of the Bertam River (former name of the Malacca River). Over time this developed into modern-day Malacca Town. According to the Malay Annals, here Parameswara saw a mouse deer outwitting a dog resting under a Malacca tree. Taking this as a good omen, he decided to establish a kingdom called Malacca. He built and improved facilities for trade.

Islamic Malacca Sultanate
According to a theory, Parameswara became a Muslim when he married a Princess of Pasai and he took the fashionable Persian title "Shah", calling himself Iskandar Shah. There are also references that indicate that some members of the ruling class and the merchant community residing in Malacca were already Muslims. Chinese chronicles mention that in 1414, the son of the first ruler of Malacca visited the Ming emperor to inform them that his father had died. Parameswara's son was then officially recognised as the second ruler of Malacca by the Chinese Emperor and styled Raja Sri Rama Vikrama, Raja of Parameswara of Temasek and Melaka and he was known to his Muslim subjects as Sultan Sri Iskandar Zulkarnain Shah or Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah. He ruled Malacca from 1414 to 1424.

Pahang Sultanate(1470)
Pahang was under Malacca Sultanate prior to 1470.
(i)The first Sultan was Sultan Muhamad Shah (1469-1475), the prince of the Sultan of Malacca. His descendants continued to hold the throne of Pahang for more than 200 years. The last from the family was Sultan Mahmud Shah, who died in 1699.
(ii)Bendahara Johor royal dynasties(1699-?)
Following his death, power was taken by the family of Bendahara Tuan Habib Abdul Majid, Padang Saujana. They established the independent influence of Riau-Lingga.

After the decline of Aceh in the mid-17th century, Pahang came under the rule of Johor.

Post Malacca Sultanates(Perak,Johor)
In 1511, Malacca was conquered by Portugal, which established a colony there. The sons of the last Sultan of Malacca established two sultanates elsewhere in the peninsula — the Sultanate of Perak to the north, and the Sultanate of Johor (originally a continuation of the old Malacca sultanate) to the south. After the fall of Malacca, three nations struggled for the control of Malacca Strait: the Portuguese (in Malacca), the Sultanate of Johor, and the Sultanate of Aceh. This conflict went on until 1641, when the Dutch (allied to the Sultanate of Johor) gained control of Malacca.

Trengganu Sultanate(1724)

Terengganu practiced a Hindu–Buddhist culture combined with animist traditional beliefs for hundreds of years before the arrival of Islam. Under the influence of Srivijaya, Terengganu traded extensively with the Majapahit Empire, the Khmer Empire and especially the Chinese. Terengganu was the first Malay state to receive Islam, as attested to by a stone monument dated 1303 with Arabic inscriptions found in Kuala Berang, the capital of the district of Hulu Terengganu. Terengganu became a vassal state of Melaka, but retained considerable autonomy with the emergence of Riau-Johor.

Terengganu emerged as an independent sultanate in 1724. The first Sultan was Tun Zainal Abidin, the younger brother of a former sultan of Johor, and Johor strongly influenced Terengganu politics through the 18th century.

Selangor Sultanate(1740)

Selangor was ruled by the Sultanate of Malacca until 1511. In 1680 Selangor experienced mass immigration by Bugis, a group of settlers from Sulawesi. These groups of people were known to be prominent sea traders and warriors and soon rose to prominence in Selangor. The Burgis first landed in Kampung Permatang in Kuala Selangor in the 16th century.
By 1700, the Bugis had dominated the state politically and economically and also established the present hereditary sultanate in 1740.

Kelantan Sultanate (1764)
Early Kelantan had links to the Funan Kingdom, the Khmer Empire, Srivijaya and Siam. In 1499, Kelantan became a vassal state of the Malacca Sultanate. With the fall of Malacca in 1511, Kelantan was divided up and ruled by petty chieftains, paying tribute to Patani, which in turn was a vassal of Siam ruling from Ayuthaya. In 1603, most of these petty Kelantan chiefs became subject to Patani. Around 1760, a chieftain of Kubang Labu in Kelantan succeeded in unifying the territory of the present Kelantan. Shortly thereafter, in 1764, Long Yunos was appointed as the Penghulu of Kota Bharu while his brother, Nik Muhammadiah, ruled as Sultan Muhammad I of Legeh in Ayer Lanas. Nik Muhammadiah or Sultan Muhammad I, officially became the first sultan of Kelantan.

Negeri Sembilan(1773)
The Minangkabaus from Sumatra settled in Negeri Sembilan in the 15th century under the protection of the Malacca Sultanate, and later under the protection of its successor, the Sultanate of Johor. As Johor weakened in the 18th century, attacks by the Bugis forced the Minangkabaus to seek protection from their homeland. The Minangkabau ruler, Sultan Abdul Jalil, obliged by sending his near relative, Raja Melewar. When he arrived, he found that another royalty, Raja Khatib had already established himself as ruler. He declared war against Raja Khatib and became the ruler of Negeri Sembilan. The Sultan of Johor confirmed his position by granting the title Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan (He Who is Highest Lord of the Nine States) in 1773.

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