via New Straits Times, 23 July 2017: A feature on the cannons of Kota Kuala Kedah in northern Malaysia.
Cannons were already in common use in Europe by the mid 14th century. During that same time the Arabs began using cannons as effective siege machines during their assaults on Spain. By the time Lopez D’Sequeira visited Melaka in 1509, the Malay sultanate was said to have around 8,000 pieces of this type of artillery in its possession.
After conquering Melaka in 1511, Alfonso D’Albuquerque reported that one third of the Malay cannons were made of iron while the rest were cast from brass. He was reported to have said that the workmanship of the cannons he confiscated couldn’t be excelled even back home in Portugal.
Among those captured by the Portuguese were large cannons or meriam. However, their numbers paled in comparison with the more common long pieces called lela.
Two monumental artefacts were recovered over the weekend by a local diving group, marking a maritime heritage milestone for Hong Kong.
A diving team from the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group recovered an anchor stock – the upper part of an anchor – around Basalt Island, and a cannon off the coast of High Island. The anchor stock is believed to date back to the Song Dynasty, making it over 1,000 years old – Hong Kong’s oldest marine artefact.
“It’s important for Hong Kong’s [maritime] history because it’s evidence to show that Hong Kong is a location worth investigating,” Dr Libby Chan Lai-pik, senior curator at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum said. The museum is a sponsor of the Underwater Heritage Group.
“The anchor is proof that Hong Kong was perhaps quite advanced during the Song Dynasty in terms of water transport and commercial trade.”
Parts of an artillery gun with historical value was found in the Galle Face area yesterday.
Parts of the gun were detected by workers at a private construction site when they were excavating an area for construction, Military Spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera told the Daily News. He said the main part of the gun is 26 feet in length.