Salasilah Kesultanan Negeri Kedah
Kedah Darul Aman is one of Malaysia's oldest state. Its monarchy system was initiated 1200 years ago with the establishment of the Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom. According to history books, the Kingdom's first king was the legendary Merong Mahawangsa. The coronation of Merong Mahawangsa marked the beginning of the monarchy system in Kedah. However, the arrival of Islam in 1136 AD ended the reign of Hindu-Buddhist Government. Nonetheless, the arrival of Islam did not put a dent towards the monarchy system in Kedah when the heirs to the throne continued to rule Kedah in the eight administrative center namely Bukit Meriam and Sungai Emas in the district of Kuala Muda, Kota Seputeh, Kota Naga,Kota Sena, Kota Indera Kayangan, Kota Bukit Pinang and Kota Setar.
There are various writings on the history of Kedah Sultanate including the writing of Muhammad Hassan Dato’ Kerani Muhammad Arshad in Al-Tarikh Salasilah Negeri Kedah published in 1928 as well as two writings of R.O Winstedt, History of Kedah and Notes on the History of Kedah.
Dato’ Wan Shamsudin Mohd. Yusof, Pengerusi Persatuan Sejarah Melaysia Cawangan Kedah Darul Aman followed their footsteps in his working paper entitled “Salasilah Kesultanan Kedah Darul Aman - Satu Analisa dan Perbandingan” which was presented in the Kemantapan Identiti Budaya Negeri Kedah Darul Aman Seminar on the 28 and 29 August 1999. The seminar was organized by MajIis Kebudayaan Negeri Kedah in cooperation of trhe Kedah branch of Pejabat Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negeri dan Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia .
The history of Kedah Sultanate began in Bukit Meriam which was situated in the district of Kuala Muda. The first king who converted into Islam and used the title 'Sultan' was Sultan Muzaffar Shah 1 (1136-1179). There were four sultans who ruled in Bukit Meriam. Sheikh Abdullah Yamani from Southern Arab was the person who managed to convert the Sultan into Islam and he was also the person who gave the name "Kedah Darul Aman" to the state.Gold coins were introduced during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah, the third sultan of Kedah and the coins were engraved with his name and the word 'Al-Dalil'. Kota Sungai Emas, also situated in the district of Kuala Muda was also the administrative centre of the Kedah Sultanate. It was founded by Sultan Muzzil Shah I in the year 1236. His Royal Highness was the fourth Sultan of Kedah (1237-1280).
According to historian Dato’ Shaarani Haji Hassan, during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Shah, the administrative center of the kedah Sultanate was transferred to Kota Seputeh in the year 1323. The administrative center remained in Kota Seputeh during the reign of eight sultans of Kedah. When Sultan Mahmud Shah II (1506-1547) took the throne to become the 10th Sultan of Kedah, new currencies were introduced, namely Tera and Pitis.
Dato Shaarani further stated that, during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Shah II (1602-1619), Kedah was threatened and attacked by Aceh in 1619 due to the competition in the plantation of pepper. His Royal Highness and his consort were held captive and later died in Aceh. Sultan Rijaluddin Muhammad Shah then succeeded his father to become the 13th Sultan of Kedah.
He further clarified that, due to the attack by aceh, the administrative center was once again transferred from Kota Siputeh to Kota Naga making it the fourth administrative center of Kedah Darul Aman. Kota Naga was situated approximately 20 kilometres from Alor Setar in the District of Kubang Pasu. HRH Sultan Rijaludin then established diplomatic ties with the Thai Government as well as the Dutch in Melaka and Betawi in the Island of Java. The diplomatic ties had given room for some trading between Kedah and the countries in which it had diplomatic relations with. Kedah, at that time, was the prime exporter of tin-ore and elephants with Kota Naga itself being the centre for elephant breedings.
The reign of Sultan Rijalluddin marked the most important development in the history of Kedah when HRH ordered his ministers to estalish and gazette the“undang-Undang Kedah” on Friday, 17 Jamadilakhir 1067 (1650AD).
In 1650s, the administrative center was tranferred for the fourth to Kota Sena near Perlis which was still part of Kedah at the time of transfer. Kota Sena was founded by Sultan Muhiyiddin Mansor Shah (1652-1661), the 14th Sultan of Kedah.
The 6th administrative center, Kota Indera Kayangan was also situated in Perlis. Kota Indera Kayangan was situated by Sungai Perlis and sandwiched between Kangar and Kuala Perlis. Kota Indera Kayangan was founded by Sultan Dhiauddin Mukarram Shah I(1661-1688). Subsequently, the administrative center was transferred for 6th time to Kota Bukit Pinang making it the 7th administrative center in the History of trhe Kedah Sultanate.
In 1736, the administrative center was tranferred for the last time to Kota Setar which is now known as Alor Setar. Kota Setar was founded in 1736 and to date, there are 10 sultans who have had their reign in Kota Setar.
The renowned Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Muazzam Shah 11(1710-1778) played a massive role in the history of Alor Setar. HRH was the 19th Sultan of Kedah. Prior to his reign as the Sultan, HRH travelled to Surnatera, Java and India in search of religious education. When he transferred the administrative center to Kota Setar in 1736,HRH built a palace,the Balai Besar, the Balai Nobat and several streams for agricultural purposes.
Sultan Muhammad Jiwa died in 1718 after ruling Kedah for 69 years. HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa was the longest-setrving Sultan of Kedah. HRH was given the title “Marhum Kota Setar I”.
Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah II (1778-1798) was the 20th Sultan of Kedah. During his reign, Siam had threatened Kedah and HRH was forced to let go of Penang which was part of Kedah to Francis Light of the East India Company in 1786 in exchange for the company's protection . When the company delayed in giving protection for Kedah, the Sultan was dissatisfied. He attempted to reinstate penang to be part of Kedah in 1791. However, his efforts were availed by Capt. Francis Light and the East India Company.