Outside of the fortified town center lie the three suburbs of Malacca. The suburb of Upe (Upih), generally known as Tranqueira (modern day Tengkera) from the rampart of the fortress. The other two suburb were Yler (Hilir) or Tanjonpacer (Tanjung Pasir) and the suburb of Sabba.
Tranqueira was the most important suburb of Malacca. The suburb was rectangular in shape, with a northern walled boundary, the straits of Malacca to the south and the river of Malacca (Rio de Malaca) and the fortaleza’s wall to the east. It was the main residential quarters of the city. However, in war, the residents of the quarters would be evacuated to the fortress. Tranqueira was divided into a further two parishes, São Tomé and São Estêvão. The parish of S.Tomé was called Campon Chelim (Malay: Kampung Keling). It was described that this area was populated by the Chelis of Choromandel. The other suburb of São Estêvão was also called Campon China (Kampung Cina).
Erédia described the houses as made of timber but roofed by tiles. A stone bridge with sentry crosses the river Malacca to provide access to the Malacca Fortress via the eastern Custome House Terrace. The center of trade of the city was also located in Tranqueira near the beach on the mouth of the river called the Bazaar of the Jaos (Jowo/Jawa i.e. Javanese).
In the present day, this part of the city is called Tengkera.
The district of Yler (Hilir) roughly covered Buquet China (Bukit Cina) and the south-eastern coastal area. The Well of Buquet China was one of the most important water sources for the community. Notable landmarks included the Church of the Madre De Deus and the Convent of the Capuchins of São Francisco. Other notable landmarks included Buquetpiatto (Bukit Piatu). The boundaries of this unwalled suburb were said to extend as far as Buquetpipi and Tanjonpacer.
Tanjonpacer (Malay: Tanjung Pasir) was later renamed Ujong Pasir. A community descended from Portuguese settlers is still located here in present day Malacca. However, this suburb of Yler is now known as Banda Hilir. Modern land reclamations (for the purpose of building the commercial district of Melaka Raya) have, however, denied Banda Hilir the access to the sea that it formerly had.
The houses of this suburb were built along the edges of the river. Some of the original Muslim Malay inhabitants of Malacca lived in the swamps of Nypeiras tree, where they were known to make Nypa (Nipah) wine by distillation for trade. This suburb was considered the most rural, being a transition to the Malacca hinterland, where timber and charcoal traffic passed through into the city. Several Christian parishes also lay outside the city along the river; São Lázaro, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Hope. While Muslim Malays inhabited the farmlands deeper into the hinterland.
In later periods of Dutch, British and modern day Malacca, the name of Sabba was made obsolete. However, its area encompassed parts of what is now Banda Kaba, Bunga Raya and Kampung Jawa; and the modern city center of Malacca
The Portuguese also shipped over many Orfas del Rei to Portuguese colonies overseas in Africa and India, and also to Portuguese Malacca. Orfas del Rei literally translates to “Orphans of the King”, and they were Portuguese girl orphans sent to overseas colonies to marry either Portuguese settlers or natives with high status.
Portuguese administration of Malacca
Malacca was administered by a Governor (a Captain-Major), who was appointed for a term of three-years, as well as a Bishop and church dignitaries representing the Episcopal See, municipal officers, Royal Officials for finance and justice and a local native Bendahara to administer the native Muslims and foreigners under the Portuguese jurisdiction.