Organized Panel Session
The reversion of the Chinese state, under the early Ming emperors, from private maritime shipping and trade to state-sponsored diplomatic and economic missions into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral under the Admiral Zheng He, has led to the Chinese textual documentation contains substantial information on the Sultanate of Melaka in the fifteenth century. However, this body of information, and the historical narrative of the Sultanate, has been based primarily on the extant records of the imperial Ming voyages, and the official bureaucratic records, such as the Ming shilu and Mingshi. Other texts post-dating the fifteenth century, including such encyclopedias as the Dongxi yangkao, draw their information on Melaka from these texts.
The digitization of the Siku quanshu (Compendium of the Four Treasuries) commissioned in the late eighteenth century, has opened up the opportunity to discover hitherto unknown historical information, and the develop new paradigms and methodologies for the research of the history of Melaka.
This paper seeks to utilize digital database search processes to elucidate new aspects of the history of Melaka’s trade and economic interactions with East Asia, that may open new lines of historical enquiry into the trans-regional history of this important coastal port-settlement of the Melaka Straits Region.