Malay merchants and traders played an essential and significant role in the early modern history of trade and commerce in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless records on the history of their entrepreneurship has been hardly written and researched upon. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to trace back the dynamic of Malay trading communities in the late 18th and towards the early decades of the 19th century. The paper would also highlight the importance of Malay traders in early Penang and the survival of Melaka as an important port in the late 18th century. A focal analysis of this study is on the 18th and 19th centuries Malay merchant communities and how their active presence in the Malay waters had given a great impact to the intra-Asian trade in Southeast Asia prior to the period of European colonialism and imperialism.
AndayaBarbara WatsonReidAnthony“Adapting to Political and Economic Change: Palembang in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries”The Last Stand of Asian Autonomies in the Diverse State of Southeast Asia and Korea 1750–19001997LondonMacMillan
AndersonJohnAn Exposition of the Political and Commercial Relations of the Government of Prince of Wales Island with the States on the East Coast of Sumatra from Diamond Point to Siack1824Prince of Wales Island
See for example K.N. Chaudhuri (1990) Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; G.B. Souza (1986) The Survival of Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea 1630–1754 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Cheong Weng Eang (1996) The Hong Merchants of Canton: Chinese Merchants in Sino-Western Trade London: Cruzon Press.
H. Warington Smyth“Boats and Boat-building in the Malay Peninsula”The Indian AntiquaryApril 1906: where the author describes balo or balok as “A single-masted boat. The model suffers from a mast which is too short to hoist the lugsail. The boat has beam and fairly flat floors. There are washboards at the quarters and a peculiar slightly outrigged grating or staying over the stern post. The rudder is very small and short and had a yoke and lines” p. 102.
George LeithA Short account of the settlement produce and commerce of Prince of Wales Islands in the Strait of Malacca p. 89. See also S. Arasaratnam Islamic Merchant communities of the Indian Sub-continent in Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur: University Malaya Press p. 20.
Ibid. See also Barbara Watson Andaya (1982) “Adapting to Political and Economic Change: Palembang in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries” in Anthony Reid (ed.) The Last Stand of Asian Autonomies in the Diverse States of Southeast Asia and Korea 1750–1900 London: MacMillan pp. 202–209.
The figures are taken from VOC358236253599 3625 3961 and 3940 and OIC 107. The data is compiled according to monthly incoming and outgoing ships in Melaka for the period 1780 1781 1782 1791 1792 and 1793.
See Wong Lin Ken (1960) “The Trade of Singapore 1819–1869” JMBRAS 33(4): 11–215.
Ibid. See also Barbara Watson Andaya“Adapting to Political and Economic Change: Palembang in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries” pp. 202–209.
See Anthony Reid“A New Phase of Commercial Expansion in Southeast Asia 1760–1850”. He describes that “the Bugis commercial centres of Riau and Selangor flourished up to the Bugis defeat of 1784” p. 65; For the earlier history of Bugis in Selangor see for example E. Netscher (1864) “Twee belegeringen van Malakka 1756/57 en 1784” TBG 13: 285–361; see also Leonard Andaya “The Bugis-Makassar Diasporas” pp. 119–138.