The Malacca Malay Sultanate began in 1278 and not in the 1400s, as discovered by a research team appointed by the Melaka government.
Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam said the year 1278 was chosen based or the Raja Bongsu version of the Malay Annals or the "Sulalatus al-Salatin".
Following the discovery, the research committee, chaired by Melaka Islamic University College vice-chancellor Prof Mohd Yusoff Hashim, agreed that Melaka began as a political entity, known as the Melaka Malay Sultanate, in 1278," he added.
He said the findings of the research was tabled to the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Malacca Mohd Khalil Yaakob at his office in Ayer Keroh here yesterday.
The research, headed by Prof Abdullah Zakaria Ghazali from the Department of History, Universiti Malaya, started in June last year.
Mohd Ali said a seminar would be held this year to further discuss the matter.
If the claim was true, it is strange that Marco Polo, who passed through the Straits of Malacca in 1292, on his way home from China, makes no mention of it. It is scarcely possible that Marco Polo, who described the North-East coast of Sumatra in great detail, would have failed to mention Malacca, if it had existed at the time. We may therefore conclude that Malacca was not founded until later.
Other travelers passed the same way. Ibn Batuta, an Arab who lived during the 14th century, journeyed to far-off places, such as China and India and the south of Spain, and left us valuable accounts of his travels. Ibn Batuta went to China in 1345, but makes no mention of Malacca. Twenty years later, a Javanese Buddhist priest, Prapanca, wrote a poem, the Nagarakertagama in which he describes the exploits of Kertanagara, the ruler of East Java. Prapanca lists the names of places on the East Coast of Sumatra and in the Malay Peninsula which were conquered by Kertanagara, but he does not mention Malacca. If Malacca had existed during this period, either Ibn Batuta or Prapanca would surely have made some reference to it.
However, one important fact stood out amongst all, and that is, Malacca was founded by a Sri Vijayan prince, Parameswara.