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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Admiral Matelieff’s Singapore and Johor, 1606-1616

Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge (c.1570‒1632) was admiral of the Dutch East India Company when it sailed to Asia in 1605 and besieged Portuguese Melaka in 1606 with the help of Malay allies. A massive Portuguese armada then arrived from Goa to fight the Dutch and succeeded in breaking the siege on the Portuguese colony. Throughout this time, Matelieff penned a series of letters in which he provided a candid assessment of trading opportunities and politics in Asia. Admiral Matelieff's Singapore and Johor offers an edited selection of Matelieff’s most important writings from this period, focusing on his experience and interest in Singapore and the Straits of Melaka.
In his letters, Matelieff advised the government officials of the Dutch Republic to take a long term view of Dutch involvement in Asia, and as a result, he fundamentally changed their approach to trade, with Singapore, the Straits region, and Johor taking on a more significant role. The rediscovery of Matelieff’s writings have helped to reshape the way local history is taught and understood in Singapore and Malaysia, and this collection will be essential to scholars of the region.

260 pages | 36 color plates | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Biography and Letters

History: Asian History, European History

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“This book speaks to a new phase in historical studies of Asia: the critical re-examination of the source materials on which all historical interpretation has to be based.”

Anthony Milner, Australian National University

“The book makes a major contribution toward understanding the generally neglected history of the Portuguese in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea region during the 17th century, and Borschberg demonstrates a remarkable grasp of Portuguese-language sources—a rare achievement for an English-speaking historian.”

Manuel Lobato, Portuguese Institute of Tropical Research

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