Fifteenth-Century Melaka’s Networked Ports-of-Trade and Maritime Diasporas in the Bay of Bengal and Western Indian Ocean

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Kenneth R. Hall Department of History, Ball State University Muncie, IN USA

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Internationally Western scholars have emphasized the importance of pre-fifteenth-century Western and Eastern Indian Ocean, South Asian, Bay of Bengal, South China; regional Java and wider Southeast Asia commercial, landed, maritime, and societal networking; and Islamic, Hindu, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Notably where there were upstream agrarian hinterlands of early historical Southeast Asia polities, royal courts, temples, cultural centers, and traditional farming were relocated in the vulnerable regional downstream coastal ports-of-trade. This essay recenters the discussion of the changing role of Melaka’s trade ports and their engagement with maritime based trade as conducted by various regional populations.

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