Figure 2. The Johore Sultanate, ca. 1700
Source: Based on information from Constance M. Turnbull, A
Short History of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, Stanmore,
N.S.W., 1980, 61; and Tan Ding Eing, Portrait of Malaysia and
Singapore, Singapore, 1975, 22.
Located astride the sea routes between China and India,
ancient times the Malay Archipelago served as an entrepôt,
point, and rendezvous for the sea traders of the kingdoms
empires of the Asian mainland and the Indian subcontinent.
trade winds of the South China Sea brought Chinese junks
silks, damasks, porcelain, pottery, and iron to seaports
flourished on the Malay Peninsula and the islands of
Java. There they met with Indian and Arab ships, brought
monsoons of the Indian Ocean, carrying cotton textiles,
glass, incense, and metalware. Fleets of swift
(interisland craft) supplied fish, fruit, and rice from
pepper and spices from the Moluccas in the eastern part of
archipelago. All who came brought not only their trade
also their cultures, languages, religions, and
exchange in the bazaars of this great crossroads.
In time, the ports of the peninsula and archipelago
nucleus of a succession of seabased kingdoms, empires, and
sultanates. By the late seventh century, the great
Srivijaya Empire, with its capital at Palembang in eastern
had extended its rule over much of the peninsula and
Historians believe that the island of Singapore was
site of a minor port of Srivijaya.
Data as of December 1989