DUTCH MELAKA SEEN BY A FRENCH MERCENARY IN 1646
“The town is located by the seaside, small within its surrounding wall, you can walk around slowly in half an hour, but well clustered and strong… There are seven bastions with forty-five pieces of ordnance. In the centre of the town is a mountain on top of which stand the church for the sermon… There is a castle in the town, which is hardly used as lodging for the slaves.”
The wall, the British will destroy later, is one thousand and three hundred meters long. Of course, the mountain is where stand the old Jesuit church, replaced by the Dutch reformed church, St Paul. A Famosa is in such bad shape after the siege of 1641 that it is used as quarter for the slaves.
“There are two native districts outside the walls, where the burghers live and the gentlemen have their country houses in the large district, besides a redoubt with six pieces of ordnance and twenty soldiers to keep watch. In the small district is a monastery on a height, and a well at the bottom where twenty soldiers are stationed to guard the well, which provide the drinkable water to the town. They are stationed there on purpose, to avoid some people poisons the well.”
This Dutch topography is still visible today, from Jalan Tengkera to Bukit Cina. Kampung Belanda is taking shape on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. On top of the Chinese Hill, the Franciscan monastery has yet to be destroyed, and at the foot, it is still possible to see today the wall built by the Dutch to protect the well.
“The people of the country are real Indians, and among them are Chinese, Bengali, Malabar, Balinese, Javanese, Malay and Portuguese.”
Until the early XIX century, the Archipelago of the Malays was the Orient of the Indians. And Malakka, where eighty-four languages used to be spoken was slowly becoming a “sleepy hollow”