Vozchikov D. V. Portuguese Malacca as Seen by 16th Century Venetian Merchant
D. Vozchikov - Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N.Yeltsi Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation
ABSTRACT. The article deals with the perceptions of an important colonial city, the Portuguese Malacca, in the itinerary written by the Venetian merchant and traveler Cesare Federici (Cesare dei Federici, 1521–1601, traveled in Asia in 1563–1581). Federici’s Voyage to the East India and beyond India (1587) is a vast description of the states of the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The article discusses different aspects of his description of Malacca. From Federici’s point of view, Malacca concentrated “innumerable merchandise” from the whole world. Federici described its trade ties and organization of trade navigations by the colonial administration headed by the Captain of the Fortress. The merchant from the “Serenissima” emphasized the immense trade importance of Malacca and the zealous attempts of the Portuguese to control the trade routes. His report of Malacca is also marked by an impression of the constant military threat from the mighty and rich Muslim Sultanate of Acheh in Sumatra, “the worst enemy of the Portuguese”. Because of an offensive by the Acheh fleet, Federici had once to flee from Malacca in a rush. Malacca was the easternmost point of Federici’s voyage. In his description of the city, he also included brief information about China and Japan. In Federici’s account, the description of the colonial Malacca itself is mostly replaced by the description of trade routes and valuable goods (mainly spices, including mace and nutmeg). The mediatory role of Malacca thus determined its image in the Venetian’s report.
KEYWORDS: Cesare Federici, Malacca, Nusantara, history of Malaysia, Republic of Venice, early modern voyages, Ming empire, Portuguese colonial empire
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