The Genealogy of Kings (Sulalatus Salatin) is a history of the Malay Peninsula and the islands of the Archipelago. It is a literary work that gives a romanticized history of the origin, evolution, and demise of the great Malay maritime empire, the Malacca Sultanate. The work which was composed sometime between the 15th and 16th centuries is considered one of the finest literary and historical works in the Malay language. In 2001, the Malay Annals were listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme International Register.
The Annals cover the founding of Melaka and its rise to power; its relationship with neighboring kingdoms and distant countries; the advent of Islam and its spread in Melaka and the region as a whole; the history of the royalty in the region including battles won or lost, marriage ties and diplomatic relationships; the administrative hierarchy that ruled Melaka; the greatness of its rulers and administrators, including the Bendahara Tun Perak and Laksamana, Hang Tuah. The Annals conclude with the account of Melaka’s defeat by the Portuguese forces in 1511, resulting not only in the downfall of Melaka but also in the eventual re-emergence of the Melakan-modeled sultanates in other parts of the region, including Johor, Perak, and Pahang
This iconic piece of work has been translated by award-winning poet/writer, Muhammad Haji Salleh and will give readers a valuable insight into the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu), who has had a great influence on the history, culture, and development of the Malay civilization.
The original text of Sulalatus Salatin has undergone numerous changes, with the oldest known version dated May 1612, through the rewriting effort commissioned by the then regent of Johor, Yang di-Pertuan Di Hilir Raja Abdullah. It was originally written in Classical Malay on traditional paper in old Jawi script, but today exists in 32 different manuscripts, including those in Rumi script. Notwithstanding some of its mystical contents, historians have looked at the text as a primary source of information on past events verifiable by other historical sources, in the Malay world.