The area was inhabited many, many years prior, but in 1401, a Hindu prince from Sumatra reached this city and realized its potential as a deep-water port. Melaka was ideally situated halfway between China and India. Business boomed.
In 1511, the Portuguese arrived with 18 heavily armed ships and defeated Melaka’s army. They built the “A Formosa” fortress immediately, which still stands. The following 130 years were full of wars and skirmishes.
In 1641, the Dutch East India Company captured the city from the Portuguese and controlled it for the next 150 years.
The British arrived in 1786, with the East India Company, and eventually settled in Singapore, where business boomed and attention shifted from Melaka. Thus today, Melaka remains a small scale, charming, historic city.
We started with a tour of A Formosa:
Porta de Santiago (one of 4 main gates to A Formosa) (above)