Around 1584 - John Huyghen van Linschoten
Of the Town and Fort of Malacca
Mallacca is inhabited by the Portingales, together with the naturall borne countriemen, which are called Malayos: there the Portingales holde a fort, as they doe at Mossambique and is (next to Mossambique and Ormus) the best and most profitable [fort] for the Captaine throughout all India. There is likewise a Bishop, as [there is] at Cochin, but they are Suffraganes unto the Archbishop of Goa this is the staple for all India, China, the Ilands of Maluco, and other Ilands thereabouts; it hath great traifficke and dealing with all shippes which sayle to and from China, the Molucos, Banda, the Ilands of Iava, Sumatra, and all the Ilands bordering thereabouts: as also from Sian, Pegu, Bengala, Choramandel, and the Indies: whereby a great number of shippes goe and come thether, and doe there lade and unlade, sell, buye, and barter, and make great traficke out of all the Orientall countries: Therein also dwell some Portingalles, with their wyves and families, although but fewe, about a hundredth [households], but of travellers that come, thether to trafficke [with them], and such as with their ships will sayle to China, Molucas, or other places, or that come from thence, and there take in [water and other] fresh victuals, and rnust stay there for the Monsoins (which are windes that blow at certaine times) to bring [and carry their wares] from one place to the other, [there are great numbers]. The cause why so few Portingales dwell [therein], is because it is a verie unholesome countrie, and an evill ayre as well for the naturall Countrie men, as for straungers [and travellers], and commonlie there is not one that cometh thether, and stayeth any time, but is sure to be sicke, so that it costeth him either hyde or hayre, before he departeth from thence, and if any escapeth with life from thence, it is holden for a wonder, whereby the countrie is much shunned, notwithstanding covetousnes and desire of gayne, together with the apt situation of the place, maketh many venture, and lightly esteeme al dangers: by which meanes there is so great resort to Malacca from al places, as in all [the places of] India: the country hath nothing of it self, but all things are brought thether in great aboundance, and there is everie yeare a ship that cometh thether from Portingal, which setteth out a month before any of the ships [begin for sayle] to India, not once touching in India (unles for want [of fresh water, or other victuals it putteth] into Mossambique) which is laden in Malacca, and is alwaies twice as richly laden with costly marchandises and Spices, as any [one] ship that ladeth in India, and from thence it taketh her course againe to Portingale.
The Malayos of Malacca say, that the first originall [or beginning] of Malacca hath bene but of late yeares, for before that tyme there was no towne of Malacca, but only a small
village of 7 or 8 fishermens houses, which fished in that place, for that because of the unholesomenes of the countrie, everie man did shunne it: in the end certaine fishermen gathering together being of Pegu, Sian, and Bengala, and other nations bordring upon the same, daylie made their repaire thether to fish, and did at length begin to build and erect a newe Towne and government in that place, and made a speech among themselves, to differ from the places lying about them, [seeking] in all things to differ [and varye] from their neighbours, so that [in the end] they made a speech by themselves, and named the towne Malacca, which in short time hath gotten so great resort, by meanes of the aptnes and propernes of the place, specially for marchants, that it is become one of the best and principallest kingdomes of all the countries thereabouts, and this speech called Melayo is reported to be the most courteous and seemelie speech of all the Orient, and [all] the Malaiens, as well men as women are very amorous, perswading themselves that their like is not to be found throughout the [whole] world. They use many Ballats, poetries, amorous songs, after their manner2 whereby they are wondred at, which maketh them proude, and hee that dwelleth in India, and can not speake the Malayans speach, wil hardly with us learne the French tongue.
The Voyage of John Huyghen Van Linschoten to the East Indies
From the old English Translation of 1598