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Malay Archipelago Kingdoms

Muzium Negara Gallery B

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The early Malay kingdoms in the Peninsula were influenced by other states that arose in the nearby region. Chinese sources mention a well-known kingdom in Indochina called Funan, which existed from the third century AD in the Mekong Valley in modern southern Cambodia, close to modern Vietnam.

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Photo B23 - Malay Archipelago Kingdoms
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Muzium Negara - Malay Archipelago Kingdoms

Malay Archipelago Kingdoms

Funan developed into the biggest empire in Indochina in the early centuries. The capital was called Vyadhapura and the port city was called Oc-Eo. Artifacts discovered at the site of Oc-Eo showed that the port was visited by merchants from Rome, other countries around the Mediterranean, India, and also from parts of the Malay Archipelago.

Another well-known kingdom was Champa, which lasted from the late 2nd century to the early 19th century, in what is now central Vietnam. Early in its existence, Champa appears in the Chinese records as 'Lin-Yi'.

Between the 5th and the 13th centuries, a number of Malay Kingdoms arose in Java and Sumatra, such as Aruteun, Tarumanagara, Mataram, Kediri, Singasari, Melayu Jambi, and Kantoli. However the two most established were Srivijaya and Majapahit.

They both possessed empires which have close relations with kingdoms in the Peninsular such as Temasik and Kataha. (Majapahit was still in existence when Melaka was founded, and traded with it).

The Kingdom of Srivijaya, based in Palembang, was by far the biggest in Sumatra. It lasted from the 7th to the 14th century. Its empire encompassed Sumatra, Jaya, the Malay Peninsular, Sri Langka and the Isthmus of Kra. The kingdom of Majapahit existed from the 13th century to the 16th and developed into an extensive empire, which influenced the Archipelago for three centuries.

Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula

by Paul Michel Munoz

At a period when sea navigation depended more on the skill and courage of sailors than on technology, men were nonetheless able to build maritime regional empires that stretched from Indochina to the Indonesian Archipelago.

About the Author

Paul Munoz has harboured a passion for history and ethnography since he was a youngster. He has spent many years travelling the world exploring the culture. Customs, and history of numerous civilizations.


Malay Archipelago Kingdoms


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