Malacca had long served as an international depot and played an important role in intra-Asian trade. It was no coincidence that the Malay language became the lingua franca of the Malay-Indonesian archipelago. The VOC cast its eye on Malacca in the early 17th century, seeing it as an ideal sentry post on the Malacca Straits to guarantee the safety of VOC ships carrying valuable cargoes between the East and West. In 1641 the VOC captured Malacca, thereby ending 128 years of Portuguese occupation. With its fall, the last Portuguese stronghold in the Malay-Indonesian archipelago was eliminated. This occasioned a dramatic shift in the political balance of power in the region. The significant rise in the Company's prestige enabled it to strengthen its monopoly of the spice trade. In 1786 Van Braam's fleet relieved Malacca after defeating the Bouginese. These sea-faring people, originally from Celebes, caused tremendous problems for the VOC in the Strait of Malacca. Threatened by the Bouginese, Kedah and Siak sought the protection of the VOC. Even before the VOC opened its trading post in Malacca, there was already an extremely varied trade in products from the Malay peninsula. Immediately after the conquest of Malacca in 1641, the VOC set out to achieve the tried and trusted weapon of monopoly. It attempted to persuade the sultans, willingly or unwillingly, to supply the VOC with various products. The Company's main interest was in tin, which was obtained from Perak, inland. The Malaccan territory comprised the coast of the Malay peninsula, the Riouw Lingga archipelago, the kingdom of Indragiri on the coast of Sumatra and Siak. The governor was based in Malacca town. In 1795, Malacca fell to the English.