Sunday, September 25, 2011

Malay Empire of Johor-Riau

The foundation of Johor-Riau empire can be date at soon after the fall of the Malay sultanate of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511.

The royal family was frequently on the move, shifting from a site on the Johor River to the island of Bintan in the Riau-Lingga archipelago.

The royal family then settled in a new capital that alternated between a site on the Johor River and another on the island of Bintan.

For 300 hundred years it was the center of Malay civilization.

In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese in Malacca and the North Sumatran kingdom of Aceh posed a continuing threat to Johor-Riau.

The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed the triangular struggle between the Malays of Johor-Riau, the Portuguese at Malacca and the Acehnese of northern Sumatra for domination of the Straits of Malacca.

Stability was finally achieved by courting the friendship of the Dutch in the 1640s; and toward the close of the 17th century, Johor-Riau became a major entrepot.

The empire had leaped to prosperity on the basis of the expanded junk trade from Southern China, the settlement of Chinese pepper and gambier planters, and the growth trade in the archipelago.

By the end of the century, though the rule of the wayward and tyrannical Sultan Mahmud had halted Johor’s preeminence among the Malay kingdom, the piracy was causing a decline in trade.

In 1699, Sultan Mahmud was killed by his own nobles and with the Malacca-Johor dynasty finally finished, successive power struggles crippled the kingdom.

By the 1780s, the Dutch had come to see the port at Tanjong Pinang in Riau, as a major threat to their political and economic position in the Malay world. This fear led them to dispatch a punitive naval expedition from Holland to destroy Riau.

The 1824 Treaty of London between the British and the Dutch put an end to the Johor-Riau Empire, partitioning it between the two European powers. The Riau side became known as the Sultanate of Lingga, while the Temenggong was left to wield Malay power.
Malay Empire of Johor-Riau
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