Category: Muar History & Story

Why Muar is also known as Bandar Maharani?

Maybe, most of people today do not know how Muar is called City of the Maharani and has become one of the most well known towns in Johore. Muar also used to be a state under the government of Johore.

According to history, Muar used to be a small port since the time of Portuguese ruling in Malacca until the time Johore is under the ruling of Sultan Abu Bakar who is also known as Maharaja. The Portuguese knew Muar as Muara, which means port and the small port service is provided at the estuary of the Muar River.

The name Maharani was given when Sultan Abu Bakar ruled Johore after the official opening of City of the Maharani in 1884. He officiated Muar as a state ruled under Johore and to as the same status as a state. City of the Maharani means City of the Queen and he presented this city as a gift to his Queen as accordance to her name, Maharani. Since then, The City of the Maharani becomes the capital of Muar. Muar is now a district of Johor.

In the history of the Malay government of Malacca, Muar becomes a partial focus for the Dutch and Portuguese because of its fertile land. Other than spices, pepper and gambier, gold is one of the valuable minerals available in Muar, mostly at Ledang hill, located near the city.

During that time, Kesang River and Ledang River becomes a major transportation route for Portuguese and Dutch, carrying commercial goods to the estuary of Muar River. Muar River becomes an important route for the locals who travel to Pahang, because the river started from Lake Bera in Pahang.

Among the history that has become a legend at the Muar River, a prince called Malim Deman was travelling along the river looking for a princes call Puteri Bongsu, which was said to be hiding at a place near was is now known as Panchur.

In the modern history of Johore, the Muar River becomes an important witness to the downfall of the Malay government of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511. It was in this river that Sultan Mahmud Shah fled from the Portuguese attack. He and his men built a fort at Bentayan, however the Portuguese managed to track him. Finally, Sultan Mahmud Shah and his men fled to Kota Biawak, of which the Portuguese was still tracking him down. This led him to Kota Pagoh in Kuala Pagoh.

Historian confirmed that Kota Pagoh is one of the attractive and important forts because it is made of clay. Even though now, some parts of the fort have worn out through natural aging, its character can still be seen.

During the Bugis empire, the famous five brothers, Daeng Marewah, Daeng Parani, Daeng Celak, Daeng Manambun and Daeng Kenasi, also have relation with Johore’s history. They were said to have come to Muar and stayed at Liang Batu in Lenga.
History also shows, Muar have relation with Malacca since the ruling time of Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah 1. His death in Pagoh becomes a mystery and a legend. Some said he died while relaxing and some said he died after accidentally stabbed with a pin (???).

According to legend, Sultan Alaudin was white blooded and have relation with the legend of Mahsuri in Langkawi Island. Nobody can confirm how true that is and historian cannot analyse this story with accuracy.

Some historical finding at the Muar beach facing the Straits of Malacca, that is between Tanjung Emas to Parit Jawa is Makam Panglima Lidah Hitam (Grave of the Black Tongue General) in Parit Sakai. This area was also known as Padang and was opened by the immigrants from islands of Sumatera and Bugis. Malay history have described this as highly populated and they used the Straits of Malacca as a main route between Muar and Malacca.

After the fall of old Johore government, Sultan Abu Bakar, popularly known as the Father of Modern Johore, turned the Muar River into a significant transportation system and economic resource to the state.

A lot of interesting stories and events, behind the history of Muar happens during the growth of the city now, and a lot of historical facts are being preserved, some road are named after a historical fact. These histories are remembered and referred to by the new generation.

Reproduced with permission from

Category: Muar History & Story