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By M. C. Ricklefs

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In 1512 he was shipwrecked, but he struggled to Hitu (northern Ambon), where he demonstrated martial skills against an attacking force which endeared him to the local ruler. This also led the rulers of the two competing islands Ternate and Tidore both to inquire after the possibility of Portuguese assistance. There was a temporary decline in Javanese and Malay sailings to the eastern islands at this time, caused especially by the destruction of the Javanese fleet at Malacca in 1511. Thus, the Portuguese were also welcomed in the area because they could bring food and buy spices.

The VOC could now develop a military and administrative centre in a relatively safe site for the warehousing and exchange of goods, located in the western archipelago with access to the trade routes to East Indonesia, the Far East and the West. This site was under the sole control of the VOC, with no major Indonesian state close enough to threaten it. But there were less happy implications for the VOC as well. The permanent occupation of Batavia carried with it the costs of running such an establishment.

Conflicts in fact continued, and Asian ships were obliged to call at Johor and pay duties, thus reducing Malacca's income. In 1551 Johor again besieged Malacca, and in 1587 the Portuguese sacked Johor's capital. But after 1536 such hostilities were no longer the normal state of affairs. The Portuguese did not always discourage Johor's growth as a trade centre, and the Governors of Malacca themselves found it profitable to trade there sometimes. In due course, the arrival of the VOC would lead to a VOC--Johor alliance against the Portuguese, which ultimately resulted in the VOC conquest of Malacca in 1641.

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