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Book Launch: Peter Borschberg’s The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century
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Presented by Singapore Heritage Society together with the National Library Board & NUS Press
venue: The Pod, Level 16 @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 6 Feb 2010, 2.30 – 5.00pm
Guest-of-Honour: Professor Wang Gungwu

The first half of the 17th century brought heightened political, commercial and diplomatic activity to the Straits of Singapore and Melaka. Key elements included rivalry between Johor and Aceh, the rapid expansion of the
Acehnese Empire, the arrival of the Dutch East India Company, and the waning of Portuguese power and prestige across the region. Archives in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands contain detailed information on these developments in the forms of maps, rare printed works, and unpublished manuscripts, many of them unfamiliar to modern researchers.

The Singapore and Melaka Straits draws on these materials to examine early modern European cartography as a projection of Western power, treaty and alliance making, trade relations, and the struggle for naval hegemony in the Singapore and Melaka Straits. The book provides an unprecedented look at the diplomatic activities of Asian powers in the region, and also shows how the Spanish and the Portuguese attempted to restore their political fortunes by
containing the rapid rise of Dutch power. The appendices provide copies of key documents, transcribed and translated into English for the first time.

Associate Professor Peter Borschberg BA (Hons)(Kent); PhD (Cambridge), is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. His research interests covers that of Southeast Asia in the early modern period as well as legal history. His main publications include: Remapping the Straits of Singapore? New Insights from Old Sources (in press); The European Musk Trade with Asia in the Early Modern Period (Oriente, 2003); ‘The Seizure of the Santo Antonio at Patani: VOC Freebooting, the Estado da India and Peninsular Politics?’ (Journal of the Siam Society, 2003); Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch Plans to Construct a Fort in the Straits of Singapore, ca. 1584-1624? (Archipel, 2003); A Luso-Dutch Naval Confrontation in the Johor River Delta 1603 (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft, 2003); ‘The Seizure of the Sta. Catarina Revisited. The Portuguese Empire in Asia, VOC Politics and the Origins of the Dutch-Johor Alliance’ (1602 ?c.1616)? (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2002); and Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka Area (16th to 18th Century).

Flyer: Peter Borschberg’s The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century

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