Category: Muar History & Story

Muar History

Map of Muar drawn by the Portuguese in 1604. This map described Muar as a port. A triangular shaped fort was built by the Portuguese named FORTALEZA DE MUAR to defend from the attacks of Dutch and Aceh at Sungai Bentayan. This fort went through only two battles at Muar river in 1615 and 1616.

The history of Muar started since the times of the Hindu empire. According to history, the name Muar appeared much earlier than the Melaka empire existed.

In 1361, there was a Buddhist monk (a religious adviser in Majapahit Palace) named Prapanca wrote the famous poetry, Nagarakertagama. This poetry recorded the history of the empire of Majapahit in the Malay peninsular. The king was Hayam Wuruk and his prime minister was Gajah Mada (1350 – 1389). Muar was one of the state under this empire. This piece of history was recorded in JMBRAS Journal, October 1935 issue, Volume XIII, Part 2, pages 15 – 16.

There are other sources of history that proof the early existence of Muar before Melaka. Barros wrote in 1553 about Parameswara (Paramicura), founder of the Melaka empire, was exiled from Temasik (Singapore) after he killed the king. He stopped at Muar and built a wooden fort at a place called Pagoh.

In Sejarah Melayu (Malay Historical Literature), Temasik which then was ruled by Sultan Iskandar Syah, was defeated by the Majapahit empire. Sultan Iskandar Syah moved to Muar. Here he opened two areas near the river Muar called Biawak Busuk and built a fort named Kota Buruk. He eventually moved to Melaka and built its empire.

One event that proved the close relationship between Muar and Melaka was that in 1488, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah 1, died in Pagoh, Ulu Muar and was buried there.

The tomb of Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah 1 (1477 – 1488) in Kampung Raja, Pagoh, Muar. This is the only tomb of the Malacca Empire Sultanate which is still available today, others were destroyed when the Portuguese started building their fort. On the tombstone was written clearly the Malacca Sultanate descendents, “Sultan Alauddin Ibni Sultan Mansur Shah Ibni Sultan Muzaffar Shah”. This without doubt provide a clear proof on the existence of the Malacca Empire.

Plates from Ming Dynasty of China were found while constructing the mosque near the Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah 1’s tomb.

Map of Muar drawn in th 14th century. Notice that Muar river was written as “Rio de Muar”. Take note also of “Fortaleza Muar”, a Portuguese fort. Gunung Ledang was written as “Gunol Idan”.

Old maps of those times also described Muar as a significantly populated place with its own township.The map of Ortelius A.D. 1584 shows Muar as a town at the south of Melaka. The map of Linchoten A.D. 1595 also shows Muar as a town near Melaka.

Reproduced with permission from

Category: Muar History & Story