Southeast Asia 1500


Map Code: Ax02224

During the 15th century, Muslim traders and itinerant Sufist mystics spread Islam widely through Southeast Asia. As the Hindu maritime empire of Majapahit collapsed (finally conquered by the Sultanate of Demak in 1526), a throng of Islamic sultanates filled the vacuum. The Bruneian Empire had outposts in the Phillippines and Celebes by 1500, while Ternate monopolized the clove trade. The Sultanate of Malacca commanded the trade artery and ‘chokepoint’ of its straits to great commercial advantage – before falling to the Portuguese in 1511. In Java, the Sultanates of Banten, Cirebon and Demak vied for supremacy, while a relict Hindu kingdom, Blambangan, clung on in the easternmost corner. On the mainland, the Ayutthayan Kingdom of Siam was waning, while its eventual nemesis, the Taungoo Kingdom established its independence in 1510. The Champa were in terminal decline, but clung on as the embattled Chinese Ming Dynasty were obsessed with their porous northern frontiers.

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