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The Chinese community grew in size during the Portuguese rule of Melaka from 1511 to 1641. A Portuguese navigator and explorer, de Eredia, who spent some time in Melaka in the early seventeenth century, observed that a Chinese village was located in a suburb of Upe, and the residents were the "Chincheows". The word "Chincheows" was probably the Romanized Hokkien word of "Cheangchew" which is the equivalent of the Mandarin pronunciation of "Zhangzhou" (de Eredia 1930: 19). During the early Qing period (1644-1670), some among the southern Chinese who resisted the Manchu conquest, and were unwilling to become Manchu subjects, left their homeland and migrated to Southeast Asia, with a group arriving at Melaka to seek refuge. The majority were from Xiamen (Amoy), Quanzhou and Zhangzhou. Their arrival further boosted the number of Hokkiens among the ethnic Chinese in early Melaka. The fact that the early Chinese Kapitans such as Zheng Fang Yang and Li Wei Jing were of southern Hokkien origins testified to the Hokkiens' predominance and overriding position in the early Chinese community here.
THE ROLE OF HOKKIEN CHINESE IN THE HISTORY OF MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE