The site where the city of Malacca stands today was the center of Malaccan history. It was the capital of the Malacca Sultanate and was the centre of the Malay world in the 15th and the 16th century after the Malays moved over from Sumatra and was the most prosperous Entrepôt and city of the Malay Archipelago before it fell to the hand of Portuguese in 1511. Centuries of colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as well as development of Straits Chinese (Peranakan) culture have influenced the architecture of the town, notably the Portuguese A Famosa, Dutch Stadthuys, and the Dutch, Chinese and British influenced traditional town houses.
Since the founding of Singapore in 1819, Malacca has been in decline as its port was silting up and Singapore and Kuala Lumpur have grown. Over the years, many Malaccans have moved to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
After World War II, anti-colonial sentiment developed amongst Malay nationalists which led to negotiations with the British and eventually the announcement of Independence by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, at the Padang Pahlawan (Warrior’s Field) at Bandar Hilir, in Melaka on 20 February 1956.
Most tourist attractions are concentrated in its small city centre which encompasses Jonker Walk which houses Malacca’s traditional Chinatown that exhibits Peranakan architecture. A Famosa Fort, St. Paul Hill are among the tourist attractions located in the Bandar Hilir, old city area. There are also numerous shopping centres located nearby. The Malacca Straits Mosque is located here. There are numerous islands which include Pulau Upeh near Klebang Beach (currently undergoing reclamation works) and Pulau Besar.