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The Melaka Sultanate, c.1400–1528

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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  • 1 Department of History, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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Abstract

The Melaka Sultanate spans a period of around one to one and a half centuries, from its supposed founding by the fugitive prince Parameswara around 1360–1400 until the year 1528, when the two sons of the last Sultan of Melaka Mahmud I founded the successor polities of Perak and Johor. The key to understanding Melaka’s history is to focus on the synergies forged by the rulers and the grandees with local and foreign actors, and to appreciate the mutual but malleable relationships maintained by the ruler (sultan) with his subjects and followers. In its heyday Melaka served as one of the crucial procurement, trans-shipment, and commercial centres in the maritime trading world of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Its fame reached as far as North and East Africa in the West, and China and Ryukyu in the East. At its height it exerted political, economic and cultural influence over much of the Malay Peninsula, parts of Eastern Sumatra and the Riau Archipelago.

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