PORTUGUESE  SETTLEMENT, MELAKA
The Portuguese Settlement is a Kristang community in Ujong Pasir, five km from Malacca City, Malaysia.

The Kristang are a Malaysian ethnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay and for some possibly Indian or
Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period (16th to 17th century).

In 1933, 11 hectares of land at Malacca were purchased with the purpose of creating a haven for scattered
Kristang and their culture. The swampy land was cleared and 10 wooden houses with earth floors and attap
roofs were built. Saint John's village, as that simple fishing village was originally known, soon attracted
additional Kristang from all over Malaysia, and grew to become one of Malacca's main tourist attractions,
improving the standard of living of its villagers.

Like many other Portuguese-speaking communities around the world, the Portuguese Settlement holds a
yearly "June festival" that opens with Festa Senjuang ("Feast of Saint John", June 24) and closes with Festa
San Pedro ("Feast of Saint Peter", the fishermen's patron saint, June 29). This festival is attended by about
100,000 visitors from Malaysia and abroad. At the festival one can hear Kristang folk songs and watch dancers
in colourful costumes perform to the rhythm of branyu music. An important event in the festival is the blessing
of the local fishermen's boats, specially decorated for the occasion, to assure good catch.
ORIGIN
From the writing of the Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Erédia in the middle of the 16th century, the site of the old city of Malacca
was named after the Myrobalans, fruit-bearing trees along the banks of a river called Airlele (Ayer Leleh). The Airlele river was said to
originate from Buquet China (Present day Bukit Cina). Eredia cited that the city was founded by Permicuri (i.e. Parameswara) the first King
of Malacca in 1411.

Following the defeat of Malacca in 15 August 1511 in the Capture of Malacca (1511), Afonso de Albuquerque sought to erect a permanent
form of fortification in anticipation of the counterattacks by Sultan Mahmud. A fortress was designed and constructed encompassing a hill,
lining the edge of the sea shore, on the south east of the river mouth, on the former site of the Sultan's palace (destroyed during the battle for
the city)

Fortaleza de Malaca
The early core of the fortress system was a quadrilateral tower called Fortaleza de Malaca. Measurement was given as 10 fathoms per side
with a height of 40 fathoms. It was constructed at the foot of the fortress hill, next to the sea. To its east was constructed a circular wall of
mortar and stone with a well in the middle of the enclosure.

Over the years, constructions began to fully fortify the fortress hill. The pentagonal system began at the farthest point of the cape near south
east of the river mouth, towards the west of the Fortaleza. At this point two ramparts were built at right angles to each other lining the shores.
The one running northward toward the river mouth was 130 fathoms in length to the bastion of São Pedro while the other one ran for 75
fathoms to the east, curving inshore, ending at the gate and bastion of Santiago.

From the bastion of São Pedro the rampart turned north east 150 fathoms past the Custom House Terrace gateway ending at the northern
most point of the fortress, the bastion of São Domingos. From the gateway of São Domingos, an earth rampart ran south-easterly for 100
fathoms ending at the bastion of the Madre de Deus. From here, beginning at the gate of Santo António, past the bastion of the Virgins, the
rampart ended at the gateway of Santiago.

Overall the city enclosure was 655 fathoms and 10 palms (short) of a fathom.
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Gateways
Four gateways were built for the city;

Porta de Santiago
The gateway of the Custom House Terrace
Porta de São Domingos
Porta de Santo António
Of these four gateways only two were in common use and open to traffic, the Gate of Santo António linking to the suburb of Yler and the
western gate at the Custom House Terrace, giving access to Tranqueira and its bazaar.


Destruction
Present day Porta De Santiago.After almost 300 years of existence, in 1806, the British, unwilling to maintain the fortress and wary of letting
other European powers taking control of it, ordered its slow destruction. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of
Sir Stamford Raffles visiting Malacca in 1810. The only remnants of the earliest Portuguese fortress in Southeast Asia is the Porta de
Santiago, now known as the A Famosa.
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