Politics under the Female Rajas, 1584-1649

Bassett, D. K. “Changes in the Pattern of Malay Politics, 1629-c. 1655.” Journal of Southeast Asian History 10, no. 3 (1969): 429-52.

p. 430. The combined forces of Portuguese Melaka, Johor, and Patani inflicted a crushing defeat against the Acehnese fleet near Melaka in 1629, perhaps a turning point in the rise and fall of Aceh’s power in the 17th century.

p. 431. Patani and Johor maintained a reliable alliance in the period 1629-45. Bassett argues that this implies a certain flexibility in contemporary political alignments on the peninsula, which one might not imagine from the restricted loyalties of the colonial period. The author points out that Patani played a role in several matrices of political power. It at once sent bunga emas to Ayutthaya, but also maintained strong personal ties with the ruling families of Johor and Pahang. In 1612, the wife of the Raja of Siak, brother to Sultan Ala’ud-din Ri’ayat Shah II of Johor, was the daughter of the Queen of Patani’s younger sister. This did not prevent Johor threatening Pahang in 1612-13, before the Acehnese raid on Batu Sawar. A month after the fall of Batu Sawar, the Sultan of Pahang, with his wife, paid a short visit to the Queen of Patani. After Raja Bujang became Sultan Abdu’l-Jalil III of Johor in 1623, he seems to have made his authority good also in Pahang and may have lived there in comparative safety, while the laksamana restored the government in the Riau-Lingga archipelago. At the time of the war between the three allies and Aceh in 1629, the Queen of Patani was the aunt of the sultan of Johor (Abdu’l-Jalil III). When the Queen of Patani refused to recognize the overlordship of King Prasat T’ong in 1630, she had Johor, Pahang, and the Portuguese as her allies. The Thai fleet, which should have attacked Patani in 1634, turned back when confronted with the fleets of Johor, Pahang, and Portuguese Melaka. The family connections between Johor and Patani continued to strengthen until 1645, when there was a reaction against Johor’s influence in Patani.

p. 431-32. Siam may well have used its connections to Patani to extend its influence to Johor after 1636. A Siamese envoy was at Bintang, visiting Abdu’l-Jalil III and the laksamana, in December 1637.

p. 432. Ambassadors from Patani came to Batavia in December 1639 to inform the Dutch governor-general Van Diemen that the Yang-di-Pertuan of Johor had married the Queen of Patani. When envoys from Patani arrived with annual tribute in Ayutthaya in August 1640, they were accompanied by an emissary from Abdu’l-Jalil III, also bringing a letter and a present to the king of Siam.

p. 432, 434, 438. The Acehnese overran Johor in November 1639, causing Abdu’l-Jalil III of Johor to flee to Patani, where he remained in 1639-41, returning to a new capital on the Johor river opposite Batu Sawar only after the laksamana ensured Dutch protection against Aceh by assisting them in taking Melaka from the Portuguese. Indeed, the Acehnese forces of Iskandar Thani, when in Pahang, feared an attack from Johor, Patani, and the Portuguese, which caused him to appeal for Dutch support against the three countries. However, the Dutch saw the strong Acehnese presence on the peninsula as a threat to their eventual base at Melaka and thus convinced Johor’s ruler to return with the allowance that Pahang be returned to Aceh (in whose hands it had been in previous years).

p. 445. A palace revolution against Abdu’l-Jalil III’s brother in Patani in 1645 caused the sultan of Johor to consider sending a fleet expedition to that country in the same year. At that time, the Dutch considered intercepting and destroying the fleet, but eventually decided against it.

Bonney, R. Kedah 1771-1821: The Search for Security and Independence. East Asian Historical Monographs, ed. Wang Gungwu. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971.

p. 17. In 1636, as Siam prepared to send another military force against Patani, Kedah negotiated a peace between the two rulers which ultimately resulted in Patani again sending the bunga emas dan perak to Ayutthaya.

Charney, Michael W. Southeast Asian Warfare, 1300-1900. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section Three: South-East Asia, v. 16, eds. V. Lieberman, et al. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

p. 77. The queen determined to lift the siege against Patani by attacking the army, a tactic which proved successful given the already rife starvation in enemy ranks.

p. 91. Patani’s palace had a moat for defense against attacks which caused the eastern wall of its inner stockades to be narrower than the others because of the proximity of the moat itself.

p. 196. Many Siamese starved during the invasion in 1634 because ships were not able to transport much-needed provisions to the army and they had to survive on what they had brought with them.

Cummings, W. “The Melaka Malay Diaspora in Makassar, c. 1500-1669.” Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 71, no. 1 (1998): 106-21.

p. 114. The diasporic Malay community in Makassar evolved from a rather insular community to intimate and important allies of the Makassarese ruling class in the 17th century. The beginning of this change began in Patani. There, internal turmoil led to the departure of a number of nobles from Patani who came to Makassar and changed the nature of the community there. There are four surviving stories (two Makassarese and two Malay) that tell of the voyage from Patani to Makassar that would serve to dramatically change the Malay community there. Apparently the nobleman Datu’ Maharajalela quarreled with the ruler of Patani and eventually left the city, taking with him his niece Tuang Aminah and her husband Tuang Rajab, the son of the Minangkabau ruler of Pagarruyung, Datu’ Makotta. These important figures went onto become leaders in the Malay community in Makassar.

Hall, D. G. E. A History of South-East Asia. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981.

p. 339. In the 1630s, the Dutch sent ships to assist the Siamese king Pasat T’ong against the Cambodians and the Portuguese on the one hand and rebellious Patani on the other.

p. 372. In what may have been a period of alliance-building, Johor, in the wake of the decline of Aceh and the Dutch take-over of Melaka, had his younger brother marry the queen of Patani in 1644. Fear of the Dutch also made Aceh and Jambi his allies.

p. 384. The queen of Patani refused to recognize the new king Prasat T’ong, whom she described as a “rascal, murderer, and traitor.” In 1632 and again in 1634, the royal army failed badly in attacks on Patani, during which they expected Dutch assistance. In the first case, the Dutch sent no aid, in the second, their assistance arrived too late. In 1636, a reconciliation was reached between Patani and Siam through Dutch mediation.

Manguin, Pierre-Yves. “The Vanishing Jong: Insular Southeast Asian Fleets in Trade and War (Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries),” in Southeast Asia in the Early Modern Era: Trade, Power, and Belief, ed. Anthony Reid. Asia East by South. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993: 197-213.

p. 212. The Patani fleet sent against Aceh in 1626 is said to have had 100 ships and 9,000 men.

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. Volume 1: The Lands below the Winds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

p. 171. Reid speculates that Patani, after experimenting with female rule, decided to institutionalize it mainly because they found it better for trade and such rule was generally more businesslike. Theft was severely punished by the queens and property rights were respected, unlike under the last king, who had been quite tyrannical and who had exacted great duties at the port which had restricted trade greatly. The queens were not mere figureheads, however, and engaged actively in trade, so much, in fact, that the fourth queen lowered port duties because she was independently wealthy due to a sizeable inheritance and from her own involvement in mercantile activity. It was women’s business to understand market forces, to drive hard bargains, and to conserve their capital. The system only failed when Patani (and Aceh) ran out of credible candidates and the orangkaya lost power and influence to others less interested in trade.

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. Volume 2: Expansion and Crisis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

p. 71, 73. Patani’s population in 1602 is estimated at 20,000 based upon the observation by a Dutch merchant that 4-5000 people marched in a procession at that time. Reid placed Patani in the third tier of Southeast Asian markets. In the first group, he placed Thang-long, Ayutthaya, and Mataram with estimated populations of 150-200,000 inhabitants. In the second tier, he situated Aceh, Makassar, Banten, and Kim-long (Cochin China), each of which may have peaked around 100,000 people. The third tier included Mrauk-u (the Arakan capital), Patani, Vientiane, and Pnompenh, which peaked around 20-50,000 people.

p. 125. Even as late as 1634, during the conflict between Ayutthaya and Patani, the former did not possess adequate seafaring knowledge, nor a fleet to attack Patani from the sea; this is noted in the Hikayat Patani.

p. 129. Another diasporic Patani notable – Entji Amat – was the first leader of the Malay community in Dutch Batavia and served the VOC as writer, translator, diplomat, and protocol officer.

p. 265-66. Reid analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of the rule of queens in Patani. On the one hand, the greater power of the orangkaya in the system allowed for protection of private property to a much greater extent than other states. In effect, the orangkaya ran affairs with the queen as ultimate referee. However, by the time of the third and fourth queens (1624-49), the queen was no longer powerful enough to mediate disputes between leading orangkaya. Furthermore, in times of crisis, when a strong leader was needed, the queen was unable to unite the country against foreign threat. Thirdly, queens were never legitimate rulers in the eyes of Muslims and thus their powerbase was ultimately undermined by successive waves of Islamic thought and practice, more explicitly in Aceh than Patani.

Reid, Anthony. “The Structure of Cities in Southeast Asia, Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 11, no. 2 (1980): 235-50.

p. 238. Reid estimates that Patani had approximately 10,000 fighting men, citing Mandelslo’s travel account.

p. 246-46. Most of Patani was burned during a Javanese slave revolt in 1613 which drove elites from their homes.

p. 247. The author argues that the merchant aristocracy, which was the dominant class in these port cities at their period of most vigorous growth, tried to limit the arbitrary power of the ruler. Within this context, he cites the Patani case, where the rule of four successive queens coincided with its greatest commercial success.

Reid, Anthony. “Understanding Melayu (Malay) as a Source of Diverse Modern Identities.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 32, no. 3 (2001): 295-313.

p. 301. The Dutch identified the Malays among other mobile, maritime groups in the archipelago, such as the Chinese, Bugis, and Javanese. Patani Malays emerged as the leaders of the two great diasporic Malay communities in Makassar and Batavia, thus the second generation of those who participated in the diaspora after the initial dispersal from Melaka.

Scupin, Raymond. “Islam in Thailand before the Bangkok Period.” Journal of the Siam Society 68, no. 1 (1980): 55-71.

p. 60. Scupin argues that political relations between Patani and Ayutthaya remained loose until in the 17th century when, with the decline of Portuguese trade, Patani became the principal port for Japanese and Thai traders. From that point onward, political relations became more substantive.

Sutherland, Heather. “The Makassar Malays: Adaptation and Identity, c. 1660-1790,” in Contesting Malayness: Malay Identity Across Boundaries, ed. Timothy P. Barnard, 76-106. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004.

p. 80. A nobleman from Patani, named Datuk Maharaja Lela, was chosen as chief of the Malays in Makassar in 1632 and helped further strengthen the Malays’ position there as major merchants as well as in the court. He was a prominent supporter of the sultan, as well, and fought against the Dutch until their capture of the city in 1669. After this, he fled and died soon after. He was described in Malay accounts as a “true warrior” and apparently rebuffed Dutch attempts to buy him for their cause numerous times.

Van der Cruysse, Dirk. Siam and the West 1500-1700, tr. Michael Smithies. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2002.

p. 60. Despite a negative report from the Dutch agent Caen, Joost Schouten arrived in Ayutthaya in May 1633 with Jeremias van Vliet as his deputy to reopen the factory there. He was well received, mainly due to the fact that the new king of Ayutthaya was seeking a military alliance against the rebellious queen of Patani, who had rebelled against Siamese control after the usurpation of the Ayutthayan throne in 1629.

Villiers, John. “Makassar: The Rise and Fall of an East Indonesian Maritime State, 1512-1669,” in Southeast Asian Port and Polity: Rise and Demise, eds. J. Kathirithamby-Wells and John Villiers. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1990a: 143-59.

p. 149. Records show that in the 1590s, Malays demanded exemption from local Makassarese law such as adat and protection from any intrusion into their homes or confiscation of their property by Makassarese officials. “Malays” were defined as people from Pahang, Patani, Kampar, Minangkabau, and Johor.

Vlekke, Bernard H. M. Nusantara: A History of the East-Indian Archipelago. European Business: Four Centuries of Foreign Expansion, ed. Mira Wilkins. New York: Arno Press, 1977.

p. 109. Aceh was very close to taking complete control of the straits and the lands on either side (Malay Peninsula and Sumatra), but this was only prevented by an alliance of “small powers” in the area: Portuguese Melaka, Johor, and Patani. Together the allied fleets crushed Acehnese power in a great naval battle near Melaka in 1629.

Wood, W. A. R. A History of Siam: From the Earliest Times to the Year A.D. 1781, with a Supplement Dealing with More Recent Events. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1926.

p. 176-77. The queen of Patani, just like the shogun of Japan, refused to recognize Prasartthong as the new king of Ayutthaya in 1629. This, in general, soured relations between Ayutthaya and Japan for some time after this. The queen of Patani described declared herself independent of Ayutthaya, whom she described to a Dutch visitor as a “rascal, murderer and traitor.” Cambodia, as the same time, was supposedly waiting for a suitable opportunity to invade Siam with the help of the recently expelled Japanese merchants.

p. 179. An expedition undertaken against Patani in 1632 by Siam was unsuccessful. The Patanese repulsed the Siamese and inflicted several severe defeats upon them. According to Dutch witnesses, this was due to the bungling methods of the Siamese general, but the blame was thrown on the Dutch, who had been expected to assist with two ships, which never turned up. In 1634, a more serious attempt was made to subdue Patani. An army of over 30,000 men was raised at Ayutthaya and was sent under the command of P’ya P’rak’lang to Nakhon Si Thammarat, accompanised by a great many elephants, ponies, guns, and ammunition. There they were to be joined by other troops, sent by sea, and by armies to be raised on the peninsula. The total force available was estimated at between 50,000 and 60,000 men. The Dutch again promised to assist with six large vessels and the few Japanese remaining in Ayutthaya were also ordered to take part in this expedition. Owing to gross mismanagement, this campaign, like the first, was an utter failure. Instead of waiting for the Dutch fleet, the Siamese attacked Patani, and were repulsed with severe losses. Their provisions then ran short, and they returned to Singora. The Dutch fleet, on reaching Patani, found that the Siamese had departed.

p. 180. In 1636, extensive preparations were made to subdue Patani, but an embassy was first sent to urge the queen to submit. By the advice of the Dutch, the embassy was well-received, and the Patanese envoys were sent in April to Ayutthaya to beg forgiveness, and to present the usual tribute of gold and silver flowers.

Wyatt, David K. Thailand: A Short History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

p. 110. Patani rebelled against the usurper Prasartthong and attacked Phattalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1630. Soon, Songkla was also at war with Patani. Through this, Patani appears to have been in an alliance with the Portuguese, whereas Ayutthaya seems to have generally allied itself with the Dutch. A small Dutch fleet sent to assist an Ayutthayan army against Patani in mid-1634 arrived too late to save the Siamese from defeat.


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