"Malaysia" existed before 1963?


Today, 16 September 2016 marks the 53rd anniversary of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, which comprised of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore at the time it was formed on this day in 1963.

While Malaysia as a country technically came into existence in 1963, the name "Malaysia" has been in use for much longer than that, in fact it has been around for more than 130 years! 

The name Malaysia or “Malaisie” in French, has been used on maps long before the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. One such example is the map titled “S. E. Peninsula and Malaysia” published W. & A.K. Johnston in 1849. Measuring 24 by 19.5 inches (50cm x 60cm), it also covers “Pulo Pinang or Prince of Wales Island”.  W. & A.K. Johnston was one of the major publishing houses of the 19th century, they were based in Edinburgh, U.K. 


This "Malaysia" piece was found in "The National Atlas Of Historical, Commercial, And Political Geography, Constructed From The Most Recent And Authentic Sources, By Alexander Keith Johnston, F.R.G.S., Honorary Member Of The Geographical Society, Berlin, And Geographer At Edinburgh In Ordinary To Her Majesty. With A Copious Index Carefully Compiled From The Maps", first published in 1843. 

Figure 1: A.K. Johnston’s 1849 map titled “S. E. Peninsula and Malaysia”
Figure 1: A.K. Johnston’s 1849 map titled “S. E. Peninsula and Malaysia”



While there have been articles written about this map by my friend and fellow numismatic blogger lunaticg back in 2012 in his piece titled "Sejarah asal-usul nama Malaysia", this information was originally published in Wong Hon Sum's 1996 book "The Japanese Occupation of Malaya (Singapore) and its Currency". 

We have recently dug deeper into this subject matter found out that Johnston was NOT THE FIRST to use the name “Malaysia”, in fact the earliest known publication of this name should be credited to Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville, a well-known French explorer of the early 1800s. 

Dumont d'Urville commanded the expedition of the Astrolabe to the Pacific in 1826-29 and circumnavigated the globe twice. Shortly after his return, the map titled “Carte pour l’intelligence du mémoire de M. le Capitaine d’Urville sur les îles du Grand Océan (Océanie)” [Map for understanding Captain d’Urville’s memoir on the islands of the Great Ocean (Oceania)] was published in 1832 in Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, clearly carving out the new regions of “Malaysia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia”. The enhanced map below shows differently coloured areas for better differentiation was published in 1833 in the account of the “Voyage of the Astrolabe”. The region named “Malaise” was indicted in light blue on the map. 


Figure 2 : “Carte pour l’intelligence du mémoire de M. le Capitaine d’Urville sur les îles du Grand Océan (Océanie)” with “Malaise” indicated in light blue.
Figure 2 : “Carte pour l’intelligence du mémoire de M. le Capitaine d’Urville sur
les îles du Grand Océan (Océanie)
” with “Malaise” indicated in light blue. [ Source : New York Public Library - Digital Collections ]
It is interesting to note that "Malaisie" did not include the Malay Peninsula. Now in case you have not noticed, this is consistent with A. K. Johnston's map. If you look carefully, ONLY the title of the map mentions Malaysia but you will not be able to find the name "Malaysia" any where else on that map! The peninsular was labelled "Malaya". So the "Malaysia" on Johnston's map may very well refer to to the same area indicted in d'Urville's 1832 map, which is today's Indonesia and the Philippines.

Figure 3 : A close up of the area that was labelled "Malaisie" by Admiral d'Urville (1832), which included today's Indonesia and Philippines, but not the Malay Peninsula (which was labelled "Malacca")


Figure 3 : Portrait of Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville (1790-1842)
Figure 4 : Portrait of Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville (1790-1842)

Figure 4 : An 1844 French 68mm bronze medallion commemorating  Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville shortly after his untimely demise in a train accident.
Figure 5 : An 1844 French 68mm bronze medallion commemorating 
Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville shortly after his untimely demise in a train accident.



Figure 5 : The Astrolabe, 1811
Figure 5 : The Astrolabe, 1811
Figure 7 : 1992 Cook Islands 5 Dollars 
commemorative coin on the Astrolabe

Up to this point we can only speculate that Johnston could have adopted the name from d'Urville and used it on his map. Subsequently the Japanese may have adopted and used that term when they minted the pattern coin at the Osaka mint in the early 1940s. They were meant to be used in the South East Asian region during the Japanese Occupation but was never released to the public. 
Figure 7 : Japanese pattern coin with "MALAYSIA", minted in 1942.  These were never issued to the public. They can be viewed at Bank Negara's  Numismatic Museum at Sasana Kijang.
Figure 8 : Japanese pattern coin with "MALAYSIA", minted in 1942.
These were never issued to the public. They can be viewed at Bank Negara's
Numismatic Museum at Sasana Kijang. 

What we have talked about is the name being used in official publications like maps, however the name “Malaysia” may have been in use verbally even before that but so far we have not found any older records .....  and so 1832 is the earliest official date, for now and ....


HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY ! 


REFERENCES

1. Jules Dumont d'Urville, Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Dumont_d%27Urville
2. Encyclopedia of New Zealand 1966, http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/durville-jules-sebastien-cesar-dumont
3. Carte pour l' intelligence du mémoire de m. le capitaine d' irville sur les iles du grand océan (océanie) by Dumont d'Urville, Jules-Sébastien-César , published in 1833.  Source : Pacific Encounters





No comments:

Post a Comment