Ep 12: Enrique of Malacca in Postcolonial Literature

Harun Aminurrashid’s 1957 postcolonial novel Panglima Awang portrayed the first circumnavigation from Enrique of Malacca’s perspective. Dr Pitchay Gani Aziz, educator/writer and winner of the 2020 Singapore Literature Prize for creative non-fiction in Malay, speaks about Harun’s life, the significance of the novel and nationalist Malay literature in postcolonial Malaya.

Panglima Awang has been translated into English, though the novel is somewhat difficult to obtain – email me at historyofcolonisation@gmail[dot]com if you’re interested. Dr Pitchay’s book, Falsafah Pengkaryaan Melayu Singapura (The Philosophy of Singapore Malay Creative Writing Process) is sold out, but an English translation is currently in the works.

Further readings:

Hooker, Virginia Matheson. “History, Literature and Social Change: Harun Aminurrashid’s Independence Novel “Panglima Awang”.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 72, no. 2 (277) (1999): 5-16. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41493390.

Koster, G. L. “A Voyage to Freedom: Imagining the Portuguese in Harun Aminurrashid’s Historical Novel Panglima Awang.” Indonesia and the Malay World 37, no. 109 (November 2009): 375–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639810903269342.

Ep 11: Enrique of Malacca — The First Man Around the World?

Enrique of Malacca may have been the first person to round the globe – but why isn’t he mentioned as often as Ferdinand Magellan or Juan Elcano? Our first guest, Professor Romain Bertrand (Sciences Po), speaks about the role Enrique played in the circumnavigation and his evolving legacy in Europe and Southeast Asia.

You can get Prof Bertrand’s book, Qui a fait le tour de quoi ? : L’affaire Magellan (Who went around what?: The Magellan Expedition) on Amazon or fnac, currently only available in French.

Further readings:

The Enrique de Malacca Memorial Project, created by artist Ahmad Fuad Osman.

Interview transcript, edited for clarity:

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Ep 10: The First Circumnavigation — Ferdinand Magellan

This episode examines the life and legacy of Ferdinand Magellan, who led the first circumnavigation around the world. We look at how he has been remembered not just in the West, but also in the Philippines. Check this podcast out on anchor.fm/hoc-podcast.

map of drake passage, drake passage maps
Map of Straits of Magellan and Drake Passage, from WorldAtlas.
Map of the meridian (Tordesillas) and antimeridian (Saragossa/Zaragoza), from Wikipedia.
История радиуса детектируемости цивилизаций - 3
The purple line represents the journey Magellan took, compared to Columbus/da Gama. Source
Another map of the first circumnavigation (red line) shows Magellan’s location of death in Mactan, from Britannica.
Yoyoy Villame’s Magellan, featured in the episode.

Further readings:

The Explorers podcast on Ferdinand Magellan, a 4-parter series

Early modern illustrations of Magellan and the circumnavigation (the same website also has different maps of the Strait of Magellan, from the 17th-18th century)

The Magellan Historiography (traces English and non-English sources on Magellan, a lengthy read but great for research)

Continue reading “Ep 10: The First Circumnavigation — Ferdinand Magellan”

Ep 09: Aden and Hormuz

This episode explores the failed conquest of Aden (1513) and the colonisation of Hormuz (1515). What was the significance of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in early Portuguese expansion? Check this podcast out on anchor.fm/hoc-podcast.

Places labelled in red are mentioned in the episode.
The Gulf and the Red Sea in relation to the rest of empire, in the red box. Map of the Portuguese Empire in 1580 from Reddit.

Further readings:

Changing representations of Hormuz on maps and photos of Hormuz Fortress, from Revisiting Hormuz (xvii-xxviiii)

The Portuguese on the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula

A contemporaneous account of Aden (p. 15-8) and Hormuz (p. 19-20), written by Tomé Pires in Suma Oriental.

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Ep 08: Of Spice and Men in Maluku

The 1512 Portuguese colonisation of the Spice Islands (Moluccas/Maluku) was part of a much bigger desire to partake in the spice trade. But why were these islands so important? What were spices used for in Europe? Check this podcast out on anchor.fm/hoc-podcast.

Note the non-dashed line: Map of António de Abreu’s voyage from Malacca to Maluku (1511-2) (from R. A. Donkin’s Between East and West: The Moluccas and the Traffic in Spices up to the Arrival of Europeans)
Map of the Spice Islands by William Nelson (from Paul Freedman’s Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination)

Further readings:

Andaya, Leonard Y. The World of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993. (Available for free at ScholarSpace)

Spices in Medieval Europe (a list of most spices found in medieval Europe, and some recipes!)

Spice Islands (Moluccas): 250 Years of Maps (1521–1760) (interesting evolution of Maluku on colonial maps)

Guampedia – Treaty of Zaragoza (the 1524 treaty, deciding on the antimeridian)

The Discovery and Conquest of the Molucco and Philippine Islands (written by Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola, a Spanish historian in 1708)

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Ep 07: The Capture of Malacca in 1511

We’re finally in Southeast Asia – this episode traces the history of Malacca as a port under the Malacca Sultanate to the 1511 Portuguese conquest, marking the beginning of European colonisation in Southeast Asia.

Strait of malacca.jpg

Further readings:

Portuguese maps of A Famosa (the site is in Portuguese, and only the first few maps are of the fort in the Portuguese era)

Kristang: Anatomy of a Unique Malaysian Language (Kristang, still spoken within the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca today, is a Malay-Portuguese Creole that traces its roots to Portuguese colonisation in 1511.)

Fortunes of Melaka – podcast episode from BFM (more information on pre-colonial Malacca, interview conducted with historian Barbara Andaya)

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Ep 06: The Portuguese Goa-shore in 1510

We turn to Goa in this episode, and the roles that the Battle of Diu, Afonso de Albuquerque, and Portuguese exiles played in its colonisation.

Further readings:

How Portugal Forged an Empire in Asia – The Diplomat (On how the Portuguese prevailed in the region due to military prowess and brutal aggressiveness in the early 16th century)

Correia, Gaspar. Lendas da Índia (introduction and review by M. Lopes de Almeida). Porto: Lello e Irmão, 1975. (in Portuguese)
Pissarra, José Virgilio Amaro. Chaul e Diu, 1508 – 1509: o domínio do índico. Batalhas de Portugal. Lisboa: Prefacio, 2002. (in Portuguese)

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Ep 04/05: The Portuguese Meet the Indian Ocean Trade Route

We look at the first Portuguese voyage to Asia, where Vasco da Gama and his crew sailed along the Cape Route for the first time and arrive in Calicut (located in modern day India) in 1498.

In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral lands in Brazil on his way to India and claims it for Portugal. Two years later, Vasco da Gama sails to Calicut again. Their attempts to claim a slice of the lucrative trade profits in the region comes at a cost.

Further readings:

NUS History Society E-journal – Vasco De Gama, Journey to India: Significance to Asia and the Modern World, by Chaitra Umesh Shetty  

Vasco da Gama – Route, Facts & Timeline – Biography

Shipwreck Discovered from Explorer Vasco da Gama’s Fleet

Live History India – Calicut and the Discovery of Brazil

Subrahmanyam, Sanjay. The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.  (unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on this because of library closures during COVID-19, but this is a great biography on Vasco Da Gama and his legacy)

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Ep 03: Christopher Columbus and the New World

With recent news of the dismantling of statues of Christopher Columbus and various colonial figures, this episode comes at a timely moment. This is the story of a sailor encountering a portion of a population on another continent in 1492, and this very meeting would mark the beginnings of the devastation of one continent’s inhabitants and of Europeans gaining power and dominion over much of the world.

Further readings:

Who are the Indigenous People That Columbus Met?

Columbus and Genocide

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