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The Weekly Quiz Archive:


Answers of Gopal's Weekly Quiz - 16:

The Question:

Ferdinand Magellan and his Malay slave are considered to be the first circumnavigators of the world. How has the Malay slave been immortalised?

The answer:

The Straits of Malacca are named in his honour.


Most of us in India are under the opinion that the Straits of Malacca are named after Magellan's slave. Apparently this is absolutely incorrect. Check out what Ameesha, a native of Malaysia has to say about this -

I disagree with your answer. I don't think Straits of Malacca was named after the slave. Malacca is a state on the west coast of Malaysia. It was founded by an exiled Hindu prince from Sumatra(in Indonesia),called Parameswara who later converted to a Muslim and came to be known as Raja Iskandar Shah. He named it Malacca or Melaka after a tree he was resting under on the banks of the Melaka river.The story is he saw a mouse deer fighting or chasing his hunting dog and therefore decided to name the place Melaka. This is in 1401. The other version of the origin of the name of Melaka is that at that time the Arabics used to come here to trade. They named it Melaka after the word 'malakat'which means meeting or gathering of all trades. The earlier version is the more popular version. Under the Melaka Sultanate, Melaka or Malacca became an empire just like the SriVijaya Empire. The whole of Malaya was under the Malacca Empire including parts of Indonesia. This was a Muslim empire. It was golden kingdom well known for it's trade and also known as the emporium of the East. One on the reasons being the strategic position and the importance of the waterway which was already known as the Straits of Malacca after the Malaccan Empire. The Portuguese only came to Malacca in 1511 and ruled it until 1641. The Dutch came after them followed by the British. Ferdinand Magellan expeditions started only in 1517 and later came to Malacca(with Enrique and Sebastian del Cano.Magellan was dead at this stage) somewhere in 1521 I think. Magellan named the Pacific Ocean(meaning peaceful) and the Straits of Magellan(in South America) after him. In all the Malayan history we have studied in school I have never heard of the Straits of Malacca being named after a Malay slave. The history of Malacca is something we study way back in primary school,and do so, in detail in secondary school. Almost all Malaysians can tell you this off the top of their heads.Malacca is a very important in the Malay Annals and history.That is why Malacca is also known as the historical city here.

(My opinion: She's got to be right!!!)

Results of Gopal's Weekly Quiz - 16:

No of respondents: 1

No. of correct answers: 1

The Respondents:

1. Rahul Karkun
    His Answer: The Straits of Malacca

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