Empire in Asia

A New Global History

Documents Archive

The Comentários do grande Afonso de Albuquerque (Commentaries of the Great Afonso de Albuquerque), 1557

How the great Afonso Dalboquerque, on the morning of St. James's day, attacked the city of Malaca, and what passed thereupon.

        The great Afonso Dalboquerque was so devoted to the Apostle St. James, that after it had been agreed by all that the city should be attacked, he delayed the completion of his preparations for some days, with the object of putting his hands to this work on that saint's day, for he trusted that through the prayers and merits of the saint, Our Lord would give them victory over it, as He had done in the capture of Goa. And when the time was come, he summoned the captains and declared to them that he was determined to attack the city upon the following day, which was the day of the Apostle Saint James, and it was necessary, before doing so, to discuss where and in what order they must disembark, in order that every one should know what duty was assigned to him.

        The captains began to give their opinions, but as there were various opinions among them, so that some said the attack should be made on one side and others on the other, Afonso Dalboquerque desired, before any final decision should be made, that Ruy de Araújo, who had consider able experience concerning the land,  should give his opinion.

        Ruy de Araújo declared that in his opinion they ought first to attack the bridge before anything else, for if they took that and made themselves strong in it, our people would be placed just between the city and the inhabitants of Upe, and the power of the king divided into two parts ; for one could not render any assistance to the other except by means of the bridge, which one hundred men, with small barricades that they could set up in it, could defend against every forcible attempt of the Moors that might be made ; but if the attack upon the city were made at any other parts, as some of the Lords who were there present advised, Malaca was of such a size and possessed so many fighting men in her population, that he, for his part, held the matter as very doubtful of success, and all would run a risk of being lost.

        Without listening to any further advice, as soon as Afonso Dalboquerque had heard Buy de Araujo's words, he agreed with the opinion he gave, and immediately gave orders that the captains, with their men in two battalions, should proceed to attack the bridge. D. João de Lima, Gaspar de Paiva, Fernão Perez Dandrade, Sebastião de Miranda, Fernão Gomez de Lemos, Vasco Fernandez Coutinho, and James Teixeira, with other fidalgos and soldiers of the fleet, to disembark on the side of the mosque ; while he himself, with Duarte da Silva, Jorge Nunes de Lião, Simão Dandrade, Aires Pereira, João de Sousa, Antonio Dabreu, Pêro Dalpoem, Dinis Fernandez de Melo, Simão Martinz, Simão Afonso, and Nuno Vaz de Castelo-branco, with all the rest of the armed foroes, would disembark on the city side; and after an entry had been effected through the stockades, one and all were to rush on towards the middle of the bridge, until they could estimate the strength of the enemy and in what direction their spirit led them, for in an affair of which they had not yet seen the result, he could not come to any other determination than ordering this only, that where they saw his flag flying, there all should concentrate themselves.

        Having given these orders, he dismissed the captains to go and get ready, and on the following day, when they heard a trumpet sounded, come on board his ship so as to set forth therefrom.

        Two hours before the break of day Afonso Dalboquerque ordered the trumpet to be blown, in order to awaken them, and they embarked immediately with all the rest of the men-at-arms and went on board his ship, and when a general confession had been made, all set out together and came to the mouth of the river just as morning broke, and attacked the bridge, each battalion in the order which had been assigned to it.

        Then the Moors began to fire upon them with their artillery, which was posted in the stockades, and with their large matchlocks wounded some of our men.

        As soon as the first fury of their artillery was spent, the great Afonso Dalboquerque gave order for the trumpets to be blown, and with a war-cry of "Sanctiago", i.e., " Saint James", they all, with one accord, fell upon the stockades of the bridge, each battalion in its proper place, and from on this side and on that an infinite number of Moors rushed up, some with bows and arrows, and others with long lances, and shields like those of Biscay, blowing their horns and trumpets, and for a good space of time they fought very bravely, and defended the stockades; but our men, who had disembarked on the side of the mosque, by dint of arms forced their way through them ; and at this very moment the king of Malaca came up mounted upon an elephant, and his son upon another, with a body of armed men, and elephants armed with wooden castles, containing many war-like engines, and compelled the Moors to return to the stockades which they had deserted.

        D. João de Lima, Fernão Perez Dandrade, and all the others who were in that company were inspired with fresh vigour at the sight of the king, and without any fear of his elephants attacked the Moors in so spirited a manner, that they got possession of the mosque immediately. Afonso Dalboquerque, who remained on the side nearest to the city with all the other captains and men, attacked the bridge on that side, and although his division met with great resistance by reason of the presence there of a large part of the force which had accompanied the king, very well armed, many of them with bows, others carrying blowing tubes with poisoned arrows, wherewith they wounded a great many of his men, nevertheless anxiously emulating the captains of the other battalion who had by this time become masters of the mosque and the head of the bridge, they fell upon the Moors so bravely that they got into their stockades by force of arms, and killed many of them, and put them to flight. On our side many were wounded, and some died of the poisoned arrows.

How Tuáo Bandão, captain of the king of Malaca, perceiving the dispersion of the Moors, went to their assistance with a body of soldiers, and what passed thereupon; and how the king took to flight, and our men pursued him.

        No sooner did Tuáo Bandão, captain of the king of Malaca, who held a stockade on the bridge, bedecked with flags of his colours, perceive the discomfiture of the Moors, than he sallied out with seven hundred Javanese, and other two captains with him, and went to reinforce the bridge on the city side, with the intention of falling on our men in the rear. When Afonso Dalboquerque caught sight of them coming along one of the principal streets of the city, he dispatched from his company João de Sousa, Antonio Dabreu, and Aires Pereira in command of their men, with orders to fail upon the advancing body, and this they did so rapidly, that before the Moors could get up as far as the stockades, they fell upon them with the lance with such impetuosity that they made them turn and fly.

        D. João de Lima, and other captains who were on the side of the mosque, when they saw these Moors, ran up to attack them in front, and there and then killed several of the body. The others, perceiving themselves cut off in front and in rear, all threw themselves into the sea. And the mariners, who were in the boats, came up without a moment's delay and put them all to death, so that not a single man was left, their captain, Tuáo Bandão, being already dead, as well as the two captains who had set out with him ; and when they had accomplished this business they went back to the stockades.

        D. João de Lima, and the others who formed his company, seeing, after they had established themselves in the stockades, that the king was retiring by a side path up the hill, set out in pursuit after him, fighting with the Moors at every step. The king and his son, who were mounted upon their elephants, saw that they were pursued by our men, turned back again with two thousand men whom they carried in their company. The Portuguese captains awaited their coming at the head of a street, and with great efforts and brave determination fell upon the elephants with their lances, as they were coming on in the vanguard, and it is related that Fernão Gomez de Lemos was the foremost in this action ; and whereas elephants will not bear with being wounded, they turned tail and charged the Moors behind them and put them to rout. The elephant on which the king was riding, mad with the mortal wound which it had received, seized the black man who was guiding it with its trunk, and roaring loudly, dashed him in pieces, and the king being already wounded in the hand, sprang out of the castle, but escaped because he was not recognised; and thus he and his son, and the king of Pão,  his son-in-law, who had come to Malaca but a few days before to marry one of the king's daughters, retreated to the back of the city.

        Afonso Dalboquerque, with the rest of his men, — having forced an entrance through the stockades, — followed up after the Moors along a street which led to the bridge, and killed many of them ; but because the men of the city, who were fighting in the streets with our forces, were very numerous, Afonso Dalboquerque, fearing lest his party should begin to straggle, made them rally towards the bridge, and ordered them to erect a palisade on the city side ; and gave charge over it to Jorge Nunez de Lião and Nuno Vaz de Castelo-branco, with orders for them to command one of the principal streets leading to the bridge with their artillery.

        When the Moors saw this they gathered themselves together in the other streets of the city, and Afonso Dalboquerque feeling himself at length free of them, gave orders that another palisading should be erected on the side towards the mosque, starting from the river to reach up to the mosque, in such a manner that the bridge remained in the middle [between this palisade and the one mentioned above]. And while these palisadings were in progress of formation, he sent Gaspar de Paiva with a hundred men to set fire to the city from that side as soon as the sea-breeze should begin to blow, and Sim&o Martinz with another party of a hundred men, to set fire to the king's houses which stood at the side of the mosque. When the fire gained possession of one part and the other, it raged so fiercely that it destroyed a great part of the city. As soon as the Moors beheld the flames, they retired a long way off from our men.

        Here was burnt a wooden house, of very large size and very well built with joiners' work, about thirty palms breadth solid timber, all inlaid with gold, built up on thirty wheels, every one of which was as large as a hogshead, and it had a spire, which was the finishing-point of the building, of great height, covered with silken flags, and the whole of it hung with very rich silken stuffs, for it had been prepared for the reception of the king of Pão and his bride, the daughter of the king of Malaca, who were to make their entry through the city with great blowings of trumpets and festivities ; and in the houses of the king, and the other houses round about, which were burned, there was consumed by fire a great store of merchandise and other things of great price, which the king had in his palace. And when this was completed, they returned again to the bridge where our men were stationed; and it was about two hours after midday, and as yet the men had not eaten anything.

        The captains, to whom Afonso Dalboquerque had entrusted the duty of constructing the stockades, went to him and told him that the men, being tired, and suffering from the great heat, were by this time quite out of heart with their work, and they recommended that they should withdraw and take some rest. Afonso Dalboquerque put them off, for he hoped to get the barricades completed, and so pass the night there; but because they came again with more earnestness to press this, he made a virtue of the necessity ; and, the sun being now gone down, he began to draw off his men to the boats. When the Moors perceived that they were withdrawing, they began to open fire with large matchlocks, arrows, and blowing-tubes, and wounded some of our men, yet with all the haste they made Afonso Dalboquerque ordered the men to carry off with them fifty large bombards that had been captured in the stockades upon the bridge ; and when the men had returned to the ships, he ordered the wounded to be attended to — about seventy in number — but of those who were struck with the poisoned arrows, none escaped but one, Fernão Gomez de Lemos, who was burned with a red-hot iron directly he was struck, so that ultimately God spared his life.

        Directly that all had retired into the ships, the king ordered that the stockades should be reconstructed, and made stronger than they had been before, and placed in them double the quantity of artillery, of which there was a great supply in Malaca, as will be related hereafter, and ordered the bridge to be divided into sections with very strong palisades, and erect others in one of the principal streets leading from the city to the bridge, and in them he placed much artillery, and on the other side of the mosque he did just the same, and on the shore side, where the landing-place was situate, he ordered his men to throw down many chevaux-de-frise, full of poison,  to prick our men when they made their landing. And because the Javanese, who composed the principal soldiery under his command, were discontented at not receiving their pay, in order to content them, he ordered that they should be paid all that was due to them of their pay, and three months in advance as well, for he was in great dread lest Afonso Dalboquerque should return again to attack the city [...]

The speech which the great Afonso Dalboquerque made to the Captains and men of the Fleet for the second attack upon the city, and what passed thereupon.

        When the great Afonso Dalboquerque had all things ready that were necessary for attacking the city again, it was reported to him that there were some among the Captains who were in the habit of saying that they did not think it of service to the King for them to maintain the city nor to build a fortress within it. On being apprised of this he ordered them to be called to his ship, with all the Fidalgos and Cavaliers of the Fleet, and said to them : —

        "Sirs, you will have no difficulty in remembering that when we decided upon attacking this city, it was with the determination of building a fortress within it, for so it appeared to all to be necessary, and after having captured it I was unwilling to let slip the possession of it, yet, because ye all advised me to do so, I left it, and withdrew ; but being ready, as you see, to put my hands upon it again once more, I learned that you had already changed your opinion : now this cannot be because the Moors have destroyed the best part of us, but on account of my sins, which merit the failure of accomplishing this undertaking in the way that I had desired. And, inasmuch as my will and determination is, as long as I am Governor of India, neither to fight nor to hazard men on land, except in those parts wherein I must build a fortress to maintain them, as I have already told you before this, I desire you earnestly, of your goodness, although you all have already agreed upon what is to be done, to freely give me again your opinions in writing as to what I ought to do ; for inasmuch as I have to give an account of these matters and a justification of my proceedings to the King D. Manuel, our Lord, I am unwilling to be left alone to bear the blame of them; and although there be many reasons which I could allege in favour of our taking this city and building a fortress therein to maintain possession of it, two only will I mention to you, on this occasion, as tending to point out wherefore you ought not to turn back from what you have agreed upon.

        "The first is the great service which we shall perform to Our Lord in casting the Moors out of this country, and quenching the fire of this sect of Mafamede so that it may never burst out again hereafter; and I am so sanguine as to hope for this from our undertaking, that if we can only achieve the task before us, it will result in the Moors resigning India altogether to our rule, for the greater part of them — or perhaps all of them — live upon the trade of this country and are become great and rich, and lords of extensive treasures. It is, too, well worthy of belief that as the King of Malaca, who has already once been discomfited and had proof of our strength, with no hope of obtaining any succour from any other quarter — sixteen days having already elapsed since this took place — makes no endeavour to negotiate with us for the security of his estate, Our Lord is blinding his judgment and hardening his heart, and desires the completion of this affair of Malaca : for when we were committing ourselves to the business of cruising in the Straits [of the Red Sea] where the King of Portugal had often ordered me to go (for it was there that His Highness considered we could cut down the commerce which the Moors of Cairo, of Méca, and of Judá, carry on with these parts), Our Lord for his service thought right to lead us hither, for when Malaca is taken the places on the Straits must be shut up, and they will never more be able to introduce their spiceries into those places.

        "And the other reason is the additional service which we shall render to the King D. Manuel in taking this city, because it is the headquarters of all the spiceries and drugs which the Moors carry every year hence to the Straits without our being able to prevent them from so doing ; but if we deprive them of this their ancient market there, there does not remain for them a single port, nor a single situation, so commodious in the whole of these parts, where they can carry on their trade in these things. For after we were in possession of the pepper of Malabar, never more did any reach Cairo, except that which the Moors carried thither from these parts, and forty or fifty ships, which sail hence every year laden with all sorts of spiceries bound to Méca, cannot be stopped without great expense and large fleets, which must necessarily cruise about continually in the offing of Cape Comorim; and the pepper of Malabar, of which they may hope to get some portion because they have the King of Calicut on their side, is in our hands, under the eyes of the Governor of India, from whom the Moors cannot carry off so much with impunity as they hope to do ; and I hold it as very certain that if we take this trade of Malaca away out of their hands, Cairo and Méca are entirely ruined, and to Venice will no spiceries be conveyed except that which her merchants go and buy in Portugal.

        "But if you are of opinion that, because Malaca is a large city and very populous, it will give us much trouble to maintain our possession of it, no such doubts as these ought to arise, for when once the city is gained, all the rest of the Kingdom is of so little account that the King has not a single place left where he can rally his forces ; and if you dread lest by taking the city we be involved in great expenses, and on account of the season of the year there be no place where our men and our Fleet can be recruited, I trust in God's mercy that when Malaca is held in subjection to our dominion by a strong fortress, provided that the Kings of Portugal appoint thereto those who are well experienced as Governors and Managers of the Revenues, the taxes of the land will pay all the expenses which may arise in the administration of the city; and if the merchants who are wont to resort thither — accustomed as they are to live under the tyrannical yoke of the Malays — experience a taste of our just dealing, truthfulness, frankness, and mildness, and come to know of the instructions of the King D. Manuel, our Lord, wherein he commands that all his subjects in these parts be very well treated, I venture to affirm that they will all return and take up their abode in the city again, yea, and build the walls of their houses with gold ; and all these matters which here I lay before you may be secured to us by this half-turn of the key, which is that we build a fortress in this city of Malaca and sustain it, and that this land be brought under the dominion of the Portuguese, and the King D. Manuel be styled true king thereof, and therefore I desire you of your kindness to consider seriously the enterprise that ye have in hand, and not to leave it to fall to the ground."

        When the great Afonso Dalboquerque had brought his harangue to an end in the words which I have recounted, the Members of the council held among themselves diverse opinions, some leaning to this, and others to that side, and the result of the meeting was that the majority again declared that it would be of service to the King to take the city of Malaca and cast the Moors out of it, and build a fortress therein. The others were of a contrary opinion, and declared that the city ought not to be again attacked, for it was very doubtful if the undertaking could be accomplished, and that the vengeance which had been meted out to the Moors for their treatment of Diogo Lopez de Sequeira and his men was sufficiently severe, and even if they had all things necessary for the construction of the fortress there was not time enough for its completion, for they were already at the beginning of the monsoon, and it was absolutely necessary to support India, for no one could tell how affairs at Goa had gone on since they had set out from that city.

        Afonso Dalboquerque, perceiving these differences of opinion which were held in the council, yielded to the majority and resolved to attack the city and fortify himself in it, and as for all other doubts which were raised by the opposite party, to put them into the hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ that He might order them all as best to his service, and he commanded that a formal resolution should be drawn up by the Secretary, whereunto he put his signature, as did also all the Captains, Fidalgos, and Cavaliers who were there.

How the great Afonso Dalboquerque again attacked the city according to the resolution which had been arrived at, and how he entered the bridge by force of arms and fortified himself on it.

        Having taken the opinions of the Captains, Fidalgos, and Cavaliers of the Fleet, under their signatures, as I have related, the great Afonso Dalboquerque made up his mind to attack the city, and taking it, by the aid of our Lord, to fortify himself therein. And because the Moors were in an advanced state of preparation, and had arranged a better system of defence than they had on the first occasion when our men made an entry into the city, he decided with all the Captains to attack the bridge with his whole force in one company.

        Having agreed upon this method of attack, all went away to their respective ships to get ready, waiting for the day when it would be high water in the spring tides, so that the junk could get up to the bridge ; and when the time was come — on a Friday, two hours before morning — Afonso Dalboquerque gave orders for the signal which he had agreed upon, to wake them, and they, as they were already prepared, came on board his ship, and from it set forth all together in their boats ; and when Antonio Dabreu in he junk had now arrived within a crossbow-shot from the bridge, the Moors began to open fire upon him from one side and the other with large matchlocks, blowing tubes, and poisoned arrows; and with bombards which threw leaden shot as large as an espera they swept the decks of the junk from one side and the other, and as Antonio Dabreu did not seek therein any place of safety where he could avoid the shots which they kept on pouring into the junk, he was the first who was hit with a bullet from a large matchlock, which struck him on the jaw and carried away many of his teeth and part of his tongue.

        Afonso Dalboquerque, who was in his boat close by the junk, seeing Antonio Dabreu wounded, ordered him, more by force than by his own wish, to be taken to the ship to have his wounds dressed, and appointed Pero Dalpoem to go on board the junk and act as Captain of it until Antonio Dabreu was well again. When the delay that had thus arisen had passed away — not much time having been wasted — they went on again a second time with the junk leading the way, in the order which they had appointed, and when the junk drew up alongside, as it was very lofty and quite overhung the bridge, as I have already said, the Moors, not being able to bear the severe handling which our men gave them from the round top of the mainmast with many canisters of gunpowder, and darts, and matchlocks, fled, deserting the bridge, and withdrew to the stockades which they had on the bridge, on this side and that.

        Afonso Dalboquerque, perceiving that the Moors were beginning to fall into confusion, ordered the Captains to press on more quickly at the oars, and all united in a body set to work to fall upon the stockades, according to the preconcerted arrangement. And although they found behind them a great force of Moors, who defended them for a considerable space of time with signal bravery, nevertheless our men got into the stockades and routed those who held them. In this affair of entering, many of our men were wounded and two or three killed, but it was at the cost of many Moors, who there lost their lives ; and Afonso Dalboquerque, seeing himself now master of the bridge, remained where he was quietly with his flag and a part of his force, and gave orders to certain of the Captains to go and take the mosque, and to others to attack some palisades which the Moors had set up at the mouth of a street which led to the bridge, and that neither the one party or the other should leave their stations without his express orders.

        When the Captains arrived at the palisades, although they met with some amount of resistance, yet they bore themselves so valiantly that they discomfited the Moors and got possession of the works. The others, however, to whose lot it fell to assault the mosque, found they had a heavy and troublesome task before them, for in that place of defence there was the King with a large body of men and elephants, and the defence was maintained so vigorously that a considerable space of time elapsed without our men being able to get in. Afonso Dalboquerque, seeing from the bridge the circumstances in which our men were situated, made his way with all haste at the head of all his forces to succour them, and because at the mouth of a large street which led to the mosque, where he was, there were many Moors pressing on the flanks of certain Captains that were following the King, who was in flight with three thousand men armed with shields, he stayed himself there with his flag and his men, and sent the Captains word to remain quiet and rally towards the position he had taken up, for there were yet many Moors on their flanks, and then they withdrew at once ; and as soon as the junction of these forces had been carried out, Afonso Dalboquerque left in charge over the mosque and stockades Jorge Nunez de Lião, Nuno Vaz de Castelo-branco, James Teixeira, and Dinis Fernandez de Melo, with some of the men, while he himself, with the rest that remained, returned towards the bridge; and he ordered the Captains who were stationed on one side and on the other to stay where they were and not fight with the Moors, even if they came on and attacked them, until he had fortified the bridge; and ordered four large barques which he had, with great bombards, to pass over to the other side and sweep the field on one side and on the other, and cause the Moors to keep off so that the men could more securely work at the stockades ; and having arranged this he ordered them to take out of the junk all the munitions which he had brought, and began upon the stockades ; and as all went to work with willing hands, in a short space of time he had made two very strong palisades, one on the side of the city, the other on the side of the mosque, with barrels filled with earth, and wood, and he arranged in them many guns : and ordered that the bridge and the junk should be covered with palm leaves, for the benefit of the men, for the sun was very strong and he was fearful lest they should all fall ill from the hard work they had to perform.

How the great Afonso Dalboquerque ordered relief to be given to our men who were stationed at the mouth of the street which led to the bridge : and how Utamutaraja and Ninachatu, and other merchants, seeing the overthrow of the city, came and placed themselves in his hands.

        While the great Afonso Dalboquerque was thus occupied in this eagerness to complete the fortification of the stockades which he was making upon the bridge, he saw that the Captains whom he had ordered to take up positions at the mouths of the streets were undergoing, rather than disobey his commands, much discomfort from the attacks made upon them by the Moors with bombards which they had placed upon the terraces of their houses, and with matchlocks with which they were firing upon them, so he dispatched with great haste Gaspar de Paiva, Fernão Perez Dandrade, Pêro Dalpoem, Antonio Dabreu, who was now by this time well of his wound in the jaw, to go and succour them with their men, along one of the streets of the city, and D. João de Lima, Aires Pereira, Simão Dandrade, Simão Martinz, and Simão Afonso, along another street which led up to a place where the Moors where at lance-thrusts with our men, and to patrol through all the city and not to give quarter to a single person they met, while he himself would come on behind them in support, with his royal standard; and although the Moors were very numerous, the Captains fell upon them so valiantly that, not being able to resist the fury of the onset with which they were attacked, they turned their backs and threw themselves into flight, and some, indeed, among them, who were nearest to our men, cast themselves into the sea, thinking that thereby they ensured their safety.

        The mariners, whom Afonso Dalboquerque had ordered to man the skiffs and row up and down the river, came up at once and put to death every one whom they could get at; and when it was sundown the Captains withdrew to the bridge, where they now had their stockades very strongly built on one side and on the other, and Afonso Dalboquerque took up his quarters in the middle, and they passed the whole of the night on the watch. And he ordered the Captains of the barques that were stationed in the river to keep up a continual fire upon the city all through the night with their bombards, and Pêro Gonçalvez, chief pilot, to take all the seamen to the ships to sleep there, and carry out the same instructions regarding the cannonade, and in this manner they remained all night. And it was a terrible thing to look at the city, for on account of the constant firing it seemed as if it were all on fire.

        When morning came, the Moors, terrified at the unexpected misfortune which they witnessed, dared not appear in the streets, and this went on for a period of ten days running without any cessation by night or by day, and during this time our men were continually spilling the blood of the Moors, for inasmuch as the hunger they suffered was extreme, they risked their lives to go and look for food in the city, and there they lost their lives. And when they perceived the troubles that had fallen upon them, and the great peril they were in of losing their lives, and the hopelessness of their case, some began to come to Afonso Dalboquerque and beg for mercy; and the first who came were the Pégus, and these he received very kindly and gave them a safeguard to enable them to prosecute their voyage, and permission to carry with them their property, and in like manner he allowed all the merchants who came from Cape Comorim to the eastwards, who had no ships there, free exportation of their merchandize, and they began to start their trade again, and revive the navigation from their lands to Malaca, and this was the principal reason why he did so.

        Utemutaraja, as I have already said, who had a safe conduct from Afonso Dalboquerque, seeing the destruction of the city, and fearing that he should incur displeasure because his son had gone over to the assistance of the King against our men — although indeed he was well rewarded for it, for he was severely wounded and many of his men were killed — came and made excuses for the behaviour of his son, making a show of being highly delighted at the ruin which had fallen upon the King. He received him with benignity, but nevertheless gave orders to the Captains to go always armed with all their men, and keep a good look out, for there could be no reliance placed upon him. Euy de Araújo, remembering the kindnesses which he and the other christians had received at the hands of Ninachatu, a Hindoo by nation, during their captivity, brought him to Afonso Dalboquerque, begging that he would show him favour and honour him, for he could not repay him in any other way for the kindness of the treatment he had experienced. Afonso Dalboquerque entertained him, and told him that he would promise, before he left for India, he should be rewarded in accordance with what Euy de Araújo had said of him.

        And when Afonso Dalboquerque found himself less troubled by the uproars which the Moors caused by day and night, and that there was no longer in the city any force which could resist them, and as a recompense for past labours, he gave permission to everyone to sack the city, and free power to keep or dispose of everything they took, only warning them not to touch the houses or the subterranean storehouses of Ninachatu. When the city had been sacked, certain merchants, who had fled away to their country houses, seeing the kind way in which Ninachatu had been treated, sent and begged a safe-conduct from Afonso Dalboquerque that they might come to the city; and he granted this to all, except the Malays, who were natives of the country, for as to these he gave orders that all should be put to death wheresoever they were found.

        In this second time of taking the city, many of our men were wounded, and some of those who were wounded with poison died, but all the others were cured, because Afonso Dalboquerque took very good care to give orders for their cure, and of the Moors, women and children, there died by the sword an infinite number, for no quarter was given to any of them. Three thousand pieces of artillery were taken, and among them there were about two thousand in bronze, and one very large gun which the King of Calicut had sent to the King of Malaca. The rest were of iron, of the fashion of our beiços, and all this artillery had its proper complement of carriages, which could not be rivalled even by that of Portugal. Large matchlocks, poisoned blowing tubes, bows, arrows, armour-plated dresses, Javanese lances, and other sorts of weapons, it was marvellous what was taken, besides much merchandize of every kind.

        All this, and more which I leave, not to be prolix, Afonso Dalboquerque ordered to be divided among the Captains and among all the people of the Fleet, without taking anything for himself, except six large lions in bronze which he took for his tomb, and the bracelet, which I have already described,  and young girls of all the races of that country, and some toys, all which he took to send them to the King D. Manuel and to the Queen D. Maria, but they were lost in the ship Flor de la Mar, on the voyage back to India, as I shall narrate hereafter.

        Let not those who read this writing be astonished when I say that in Malaca were taken three thousand guns, for Buy de Araújo and Ninachatu declared to Afonso Dalboquerque that there were eight thousand in Malaca, and this may well be believed, for in Malaca were much copper and much tin, and the gun founders were as good as those of Germany; on the other hand, the city was a league in length, and when Afonso Dalboquerque disembarked they aimed at him from on all sides, whence it appears that even this number was insignificant in comparison to what was required for the defence.

Of how, after the Prince of Malaca had withdrawn from his father, he came to the river of Muar and fortified himself therein with a number of stockades, and the great Afonso Dalboquerque sent a force against him, and put him to flight.

        The great Afonso Dalboquerque, being desirous of setting the affairs of Malaca in order, determined to appoint Ninachatu, because he was a Hindoo, Governor of the Quilins and Chetins ; and in order to make the Moors more secure he made Utemutaraja their principal- chief, and with these two men, as they were prominent persons, the people began to settle down quietly, and merchants, a few at a time, returned to the city ; but with all this Afonso Dalboquerque did not put too much confidence in them, especially in Utemutaraja, and in order to get rid of this suspicion which he had, he tried all he could to get the king into his hands, and with this end in view he sent many boats up the river and along the coast to see if they could take him.

        The king, owing to the constant alarms which arose every day, and knowing the desire which Afonso Dalboquerque had of getting possession of him, fearing lest his own people should deliver him up, drew himself off from the city, a day's journey, taking with him some Malay merchants and his captains and governors of the land, with the intention of keeping in that neighbourhood, waiting for his Lassamane, the Admiral of the Sea, whom he had sent to the Island of Lingá, to convey to them a numerous fleet with many men, and in their company the King of that Island who was called Rajalingá, who was subject to him, with determination of returning against the city; but this did not come to pass, for the Rajalingá, knowing that Afonso Dalboquerque was in possession of the city, did not dare to come; and the King of Malaca, being of the opinion that Afonso Dalboquerque simply meant to rob the city and then leave it and sail away with the spoil he might get out of it, kept about that place for a space of ten days, in expectation of the issue of these events. But when he was informed that Afonso Dalboquerque was beginning to establish a fortress of timber 4 wherein to shelter himself, and so acting as to shew his wish to make a settlement in Malaca with the intention of maintaining possession of it, terrified at this news, and not deeming himself safe in the locality where he then was, he went further off into the interior country, a distance of two days' march ; and because the party was sharply pressed for want of provisions the Prince separated himself from his father and set] out to pitch his settlement close to the river, and there he marked out some very strong stockades, and barred the river with a quantity of timber, so that our boats might not pass up to the place.

        As soon as Afonso Dalboquerque was informed that the Prince of Malaca was fortifying his position on the river, he despatched Fernão Perez Dandrade, Simão Dandrade, his brother, Gaspar de Paiva, Francisco Sarram, Aires Pereira, Ruy de Araújo, and Jorge Nunez de Lião, with four hundred Portuguese soldiers, and six hundred Javanese who were given for the purpose by XJtemutaraja, and the Pégu Captains with three hundred of their men, to take boats and launches up the river and put to rout that nest of robbers which was beginning to form itself there, and they did so ; and when the expedition reached the stockade which the Prince had constructed, they began to root it up with machines which they took with them for this purpose, and when they had rooted it up, they pressed on to attack the enemy at their fortifications.

        The Prince, when he saw the fleet and the determined spirit with which the men came on, struck his camp, without making the least show of resistance, and fled away to the place where the King was, which was about a day's journey distant, and our men entered in pell-mell into their buildings, and captured all that had been stored there which the Prince had been unable to remove ; among their spoil his palanquins, very rich and gilded, and painted, and seven elephants, with their castles and housings ; and having obtained this victory the force returned to the city.

        When the Prince reached the place where the King his father was, there arose differences between them concerning the loss of Malaca, each one seeking to put off the fault from his own to the other's shoulders, and this dissension ran so high, that being thus divided in plans, and suffering also from the discomforts of famine, they departed and shaped their journey for the kingdom of Pão, through a region desert and marshy, mounted upon their elephants with their wives and children, taking with them fifty men whom they forced to accompany them in their flight [...]

How the King of Malaca, having arrived at the kingdom of Pão, died ; and how the great Afonso Dalboquerque began to build the fortress ; and the inscription which he placed over the gate after it was finished, and what passed hereupon.

        As disasters kept following this ill-fated King of Malaca, Fortune not being content with placing him in the position of losing his city, wife, children and people, disheartened and deeply chagrined at his losses, after he had arrived but a few days at the kingdom of Pão, he died. When the King was dead, all the Moors of honourable estate, who had followed his fortune, scattered themselves through the forests there, and after the lapse of some days came down, seeking to get to the sea coast, and sent to beg permission from Afonso Dalboquerque that they might return to their city ; and to some of them, who were men of principal power, he granted permission, for he considered it was more prudent to have such men as these within the city, than that they should be going about outside, stirring up assemblies and inciting the merchants not to come to the port ; he therefore commanded the Javanese to band themselves together and scour the land, and bring back captive all the Malays found in the woods there, to work at the building of the fortress which he was anxious to begin ; and if among these captives any one should chance to be found who could be recognised as having taken a guilty part in the massacre of the men forming the company of Diogo Lopez de Sequeira, Afonso Dalboquerque commanded that proper punishment be meted out to him, and that the others, with iron chains upon them, should serve at the work.

        And in company with them there were brought to him one thousand five hundred slaves who had belonged to the king, with their women and children, and he took them all as captives of the King D. Manuel, just as they had been of the King of Malaca, and ordered that they should be supplied with wages and provisions when they worked at the building, in accordance with the native custom; and when they were not thus required to serve they worked for their own advantage, for after this manner they had been compelled to serve the King of Malaca ; and when he had thus arranged these matters, he ordered them to take off from the fortress the timber and woodwork which it carried for the protection of the men who were employed on the work, and to make ready lime, stone, and masonry for a beginning; and although Euy de Araújo never expected to be able to find sufficient stone to build the fortress, yet as it was the will of our Lord that the Portuguese should make good their settlement in that city, and that His name should there be worshipped, so great a quantity of stone and masonry was discovered in some ancient sepulchres of bygone kings, which were situated on the land beneath the surface of the ground, and in the mosques that were thrown down, that two fortresses might well have been constructed ; and now, as there were plenty of helping hands to begin the work, and many labourers, Afonso Dalboquerque gave orders to open out the foundations, and he founded a very strong fortress, the foundation filled in to the depth of a war lance, for the position of the ground required it to be so, with two wells of very good water within the precincts for drinking purposes, that were there already built with worked stone masonry.

        And in order that our men, who were within the fortress, might be able to rally together for defence, if it were necessary, whenever they so desired, without the enemy being able to cut them off, he laid the foundation of a keep of four storey's height along the sea, so that also from its height they might with their artillery defend a hill which the fortress has over against it, which commands its position.

        Now because it may be that some who read this history may find fault with building a fortress in an enemy's country with such a weak point, the answer is that Afonso Dalboquerque put up with the commanding position of this hill because there was not in the whole of the city a more commodious place for the security of the captain and the forces that might be placed therein, for alongside of this tower one of our ships of two hundred tons burden could come whenever it was desired. And they called the fortress  "A Famosa", i.e., " The Famous." And as I have been told by many persons who nave seen it, it seems to have been very appropriately so called ; but I do not give a special account of its details of construction because it is very much frequented by our Portuguese. And because Afonso Dalboquerque was very much devoted to Our Lady he ordered the men to build a church, to which he gave the name of  "Nossa Senhora da Annunciada", i.e., "Our Lady of the Annunciation." And in order that the memory of the persons who had taken part in the conquest of this kingdom and foundation of the fortress might remain for ever, he ordered them to make a very large stone slab, upon which were inscribed the names of all the principal men. But, the Portuguese are by nature envious of honour, they would not, therefore, suffer Afonso Dalboquerque to make more account of one than of another, seeing that all were equally meritorious in the work, and in the conquest of that city ; and he, in order not to give them cause for displeasure, and yet not to abandon that which he had done, gave orders that the stone should be set up over the gateway with the inscribed names turned to the wall, and on the back of the slab that verse of David, which says : "LAFIDEM QUEM REPROBRAVERUNT EDIFICANTES," that is, "The stone which the builders refused."


Birch, Walter de Gray, trans. The Commentaries of the Great Afonso Dalboquerque, Second Viceroy of India, Vol. III. London: Cambridge University Press for The Hakluyt Society, 1880. pp.101-108; 114-131;134-137.

The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), c. 1612

        The grand vizier of Goa, Alphonso Al-buquerco, after resigning his viziership, proceeded to Portugal, where he requested an armada. The King of Portugal gave him four great ships, five large caracks, four galleons, and Alphonso Albuquerco returned to Goa, where he again fitted out three ships, eight galleasses and four galleons, and four fasta, in all being forty-three sail, and proceeded to Malaca.

        When he reached Malaca, all the Malaca men were greatly alarmed at the sight of so numerous a fleet approaching the port, and they gave information to Sultan Ahmed, that a very numerous fleet was entering the harbour of Malaca. Sultan Ahmed quickly collected all his champions and subjects, and prepared for war. When they were all prepared, the Malaca men came forth, and the Frangis from their ships began to cannonnade, and balls fell like a thick falling shower of rain, and the sound of their cannon was like the thunder of Heaven, and the sound of their muskets like the rattling of dried pease, and the Malaca men could not maintain themselves on the sea-shore, on account of the severe shower of balls that rained on them. Then all the fleet of Malaca retreated, and as soon as the enemy observed their retreat, all the galleons and the fasta and galleasses made for the shore, and the enemy landed. As soon as the Malaca men saw this, they advanced to engage them in a great mass, and the sound of the weapons of the two hosts was like the day of judgment.

        Sultan Ahmed mounted his elephant, Jinaia, and marched out with Sri Audana, on the neck of the elephant, and Tun Ali on the croup. The Prince also carried Mukhdum with him, on the howder, for Mukhdam was the Prince's guru. The raja advanced towards the quay, attended with a strong band of champions, and set upon the Frangis, who were very numerous, and the Frangis were broken, and were furiously amoked by the Malaca men till they fell back on the seashore, and retreated to their ships. As soon as they reached their ships, they rained away with their cannon like thunder-bolts, whizzing from the sky, and Sultan Ahmed moved a little way back from the quay, and multitudes run searching for a place to shelter themselves from the bullets.

        Then said Mukhdum to the Prince, "Sultan, this is noplace for the enjoyment of the divine union, let us return,"and he laid hold of the stay ropes of the howder with both his hands. Then the Frangis shouted from their prahus, "Haloo! you Malaca men, take notice, we will all of us land tomorrow, by God, (Demi Devasa,) therefore keep a good lookout." "Very well," said the Malaca men. That night he ordered a steady watch to be kept by all the mantris and hulubalangs, in their arms and armour. All the mantris and hulubalangs, and young nobles accordingly kept watch in the public hall, and they began to say to each other, "What is the use of sitting idly here? let us read a tale of war, which may be profitable to us."

        Then said Tun Muhammed Unta, "That is very true; let us therefore send Tun Indra Sagara to beg from the Prince the history of Muhammed Hanefiah, which he has sometimes favoured us with, for the Frangis are to make their attack tomorrow. Then Tun Indra Sagara entered to the Prince, and related to him the request of the young warriors. Then the Prince gave the Hikayat Hamdah, and said to Tun Indra Sagara, "Tell the young lads I will give them the story of Muhammed Hanefiah, but I fear they will not be so courageous as him, but if they will demean themselves like Hamdah, it will be very well. Therefore I give them the story of Hamda.

        Then Tun Indra Sagara brought out the history of Hamda, and told them what the raja said. Then all the young men were silent, till Tun Isup said to Tun Indra Sagara, "The raja has spoken amiss, go back, and tell him, that he has only to desire the young lads to show their valour like that of Benyar, since they wish to deprive us of our own country." Then Indra Sagara returned to represent this to His Majesty. Then the Prince smiled: "it is very just, said he, that Tun Isup observes, and he gave him the history of Muhammed Hanefiah.

        When the day was lighted, the Frangis landed thousands on thousands, with their whole host and weapons of war. Sultan Muhammed quickly collected his hulubalangs, and marched out to encounter the Frangis. The Prince mounted the elephant named Juru Damang, with Sri Audana on the neck of the elephant, and Tun Ali on the croup. The two armies met, and the battle began, the Malaca men closing up stoutly, playing their creeses and spears, and the Frangis again fell back. When Alfonso de Albuquerco perceived his men giving way, he quickly supported them with a thousand soldiers with their musquetry, and set upon the Malaca men, and the sound of the musquetry was like thunder, and their balls fell like pease on a sieve (bidi). This was a severe attack, and the whole array of the Malaca men was broken, and all the champions of the Prince gave way, and the Prince stood all alone on his elephant.

        As soon as Alphonso de Albuquerco saw the Prince left alone, he enclosed him quickly round with soldiery, and the Prince singly contended with a long lance, against all these Frangis, — curse them — and the Prince was slightly wounded in the hand, and lifted up his hand which was wounded, and cried, "You race of the Malays, are you not all ashamed to see me wounded here, take courage and stand by me." When the champions who had fled, heard this, they all returned, and again made a furious onset, and amoked the Frangis with their whole soul. When Tun Saleh saw the blood of the raja's wound, he plunged singly into the Frangis host, pushing them vigorously with his lance; but they run him through the breast with a spear, and he fell dead. This day, in the amok attack on the Frangis, five-and-twenty chosen hulubalangs perished, and Sri Audana was also wounded through the groin, being pierced with a long lance. Then they made the raja's elephant kneel down, and the Prince descending, returned to his palace, whither they also conveyed Sri Audana; and the raja ordered his physician to attend him, and he examined the wound, with the sharp point of a betel-leaf, and said, that it was of no consequence, and would easily be cured, though if the weapon had penetrated a barley-corn farther, he had been a dead man.

        By this time the Frangis had approached the exterior hall of the Prince's palace, and all the Malaca men were flying. The Prince saw that all had fled, and then Sultan Ahmed himself had recourse to flight, and the bandahara, who was lame, was seized on by Si Sa-la-mat, and compelled to fly. Then the Frangis entered the fortress, and they saw that there was nobody in the fortress, and then they continued the pursuit. Then said the lame bandahara to Sa-la-mat, "Bear up, and bring me up with these accursed Frangis, that I may amok with them;" but his family would not permit him. He said "Fy, cowards I what a pity it is that I am lame. Were it not so, I would certainly die on Malaca ground; but now I see that all the young lads of the present day are not in the least sensible of shame, and in a crisis like this, there is not one of them to devote himself and amok."

        Than Sultan Ahmed retreated up to Moar, a place above, named Pagoh. As for Sultan Mahmud, he remained in Batu hampar, (spread stones,) and he founded a fort at Bentayen. In a short time, the Frangis appeared before Pagar, and prepared to attack it. In a few days Sang Satia died, and Pagoh was taken, and Sultan Ahmed made his retreat, and went up the river to Panarigan. The lame bandahara died, and was buried at Lubu Batu, (the stone-plumbs,) which is generally termed Bender-Lubu-batu. After this, Sultan Ahmed, with Sultan Mahmud, retired to Pahang, and Sultan Abdal Jamil received them with great kindness, and conducted him into the city, with a thousand testimonies of respect and honour.

        Sultan Mahmud gave his daughter, who was born of the Princess of Calantan, in marriage to the raja of Pahang, named Sultan Mansur Shah. Without remaining long in Pahang, he proceeded to Bentan, and Sultan Ahmed founded a city at Kopeh. This Sultan Ahmed was extremely proper in all his conduct, and kind to all his subjects. In one respect, however, he was not good, that he had no affection for his mantris and hulubalangs and great men, and was greatly attached to all the young lads, and his personal servants, and all his people eat and drank pleasantly, feasting on rice with turmeric, and roasfowls, all of them.

        Then the great men all came to wait on Sultan Ahmed, and they were hooted by all the young lads, saying, "Where are the fragments and leaving of our rice prepared with turmeric, and our roasted fowls, with the picked bones, to give to those old people, who are come from abroad, for such is the raja's wish?" Sultan Mahmud heard of these proceedings, and was displeased at it, and by the power of God Almighty, the heart of Sultan Mahmud was expanded, and he sent a hulubalang, who killed him privately, so that few persons were acquainted with it, and the proceeding of the person respecting Sultan Ahmed was left in darkness. Thus died Sultan Ahmed, and was buried at Bukit-batu, (stone-hill,) and he is therefore called Merhum Bukit Batu, the deceased of the stone-hill.

        After the death of Sultan Ahmed, Sultan Mahmud placed on the throne his son, raja Mudhafer, to reign in his stead, and ordered him to be put under the tuition of a learned man, named Sham Selim, along with the sons of many other nobles. When Raja Mudhafer grew up, he married Tun Trang, the daughter of Tun Fatima, and begot a son, named Raja Mansur. The laksamana Khwajeh Hasan died with grief, and was buried at Gunung-pantei, (shore-hill,) and Hang Nadim succeeded him in the office of laksamana, who became so famous in war for fighting, till the earth was drenched in blood.

        This Hang Nadim was two descents from the laksamana Hang Tuah, and the bandahara Lubu Batu was also two descents from the same hero. Tun Fatimah, the Queen of Sultan Mahmud, bore a son, who was named Ala-eddin Gheyas Shah; who was commonly denominated Sultan Muda. Sultan Mudhafer, the sovereign, married Tun Trang, the daughter of Tun Fatimah, and he had also by Tun Ali, a son, named Raja Mansur. After the death of Sultan Ahmed, all the young nobles and the King's servants were assembled by Sultan Mahmud, and said to them, "Do not be concerned about your situation, it shall be continued precisely as under Si Ahmed." They replied, "We will submit to the authority of Your Majesty, as we formerly submitted to that of your son, and we now all return to your allegiance.

        All of them submitted themselves in this manner, except Tun Ali, who refused to pay allegiance to him, and whatever in-stance the Sultan made to satisfy him, he still refused, saying, "I never wish to look another raja in the face after that of His Majesty, your son, for His Majesty died not of disease, nor in war, but only by foul treason. Therefore, I request that Your Majesty would throw me where he lies; for what purpose do I survive?" By how many means did Sultan Ahmed endeavour to allure him, presenting him with gold and silver, and how many dresses! but not one of them would he receive, desiring only that the Prince would put him to death, which was at last done by Sultan Mahmud.


Leyden, John (trans.) Malay Annals : translated from the Malay Language, by the late Dr. John Leyden. With an Introduction, by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S., &c. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1821. pp. 351-61.