A History of Malaysia by Barbara Watson Andaya, Leonard Y. Andaya

By Barbara Watson Andaya, Leonard Y. Andaya

This fresh version of A heritage of Malaysia brings the tale of this attention-grabbing state brand new, incorporating the newest scholarship on each interval of Malaysian historical past. a brand new bankruptcy offers insights into Malaysian historical past of the final 15 years, together with the becoming impact of the net and social media within the political sphere. clean research of Islam's ancient function within the Malay international and the way it hyperlinks with the becoming Islamization of Malaysia this present day makes this a well timed study.

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This reconstruction of events further suggests that the Malays of southeast Sumatra saw their banishment from the imperial court and the consequent loss of trade as unfortunate, but not catastrophic. They fully believed that, given time, the attitude of Chinese emperors would change and that the traditional relations between Srivijaya and China would be restored. In 1391, in an effort to revive Palembang's claims to leadership in the region, the ruler there apparently declared himself independent of Java and overlord of the Malays.

But while Malays may have been responsible for the eventual sale and distribution of forest products, they were not the principal gatherers. Malay settlement had developed along the rivers and coasts rather than the hinterland, and Malays themselves rarely ventured beyond the fringes of the jungle. To them the forest remained an alien realm, the haunt of demons and spirits which must be propitiated by offerings and warded off by charms. The jungles were the habitat not of Malays but of the forest dwellers, the ancestors of today's orang asli, and it was they who were the major collectors of local products.

Excavations in northwest Borneo, for example, indicate that from the seventh century the Sar4wak Delta, known to the Chinese court only through hearsay, was actively involved in the export of smelted iron and gold to other places within the archipelago. It may have been for its gold deposits that the Malay peninsula was 12 A HISTORY OF MALAYSIA best known in early times. Although Malaysia and Sumatra are not today considered to be important sources of this metal, the reputation of this region was once sufficient to warrant the appellation 'Golden Khersonese' by early Greek geographers.

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