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Southeast asia

Continental southeast asia


At the beginning of the century the area of present day Burma consisted of

  • An Araken monarchy, with a capital at Mrohauing
  • Burmese Ava in the main Irrawaddy Valley, captured by the Shans in 1527 (Ref. 206 )
  • Burmese Toungoo in the Sittany Valley
  • Mon Pegu on the Irrawaddy delta and Tenasserim
To the north and east of Ava were a number of Shan states, but after some 300 years of divided rule, the Toungoo Dynasty conquered both the Shans and Mons in the middle of the century, making a united Burma. It then began two centuries of expansion eastward into Siam.

Thailand (siam)

A powerful Thai kingdom existed, controlling much of the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula. In the last half of the century tin was exported to Europe to supplement the Cornish tin mines. (Ref. 292 )


The Laos kingdom of Luany Prabang stretched along the upper and middle Mekong.

Malay peninsula

The eastern coast was controlled by the Siamese while Malacca, on the west, had been conquered in 1511 by the Portuguese, who then controlled the spice and tin trade of the world. Had the remaining Malay states united they might have been able to drive out the invading Portuguese, but they fought against one another, instead. (Ref. 140 ) When the value of bronze artillery became known to the rulers of India, China and Japan, Malayan tin became critically important. (Ref. 279 )

Indonesia and adjacent islands

Portugal also had stations on Java and Borneo to further consolidate their far eastern trade. In "greater" Java the chief town was Bantam, even for some time after the Dutch built Batavia, in 1619. Bantam was on the northwest tip of the island, surrounded by swamps, with red brick walls and cannon. Three streets leading away from the royal palace were filled with vendors of poultry, parrots, fish, meat, hot cakes, silks, thread, precious stones and what-not. But to the east of the city there was a square where large scale merchants, investors and shippers met. The Chinese played a large role in this gathering, of ten buying up produce for months before the trading ships from the west could arrive on the monsoon winds. (Ref. 292 ) By the end of the century the Dutch were making their appearance by setting up a factory on Sumatra. The Spaniards had established themselves in the Philippines with a capital at Manila by 1571 after the islands had first been "discovered" by Magellan

Magellan was killed on the Philippine island of Cebu in 1521 and of his original 5 ships only 2 made it to the Moluccas and only 18 of the original sailors got back to Seville. (Ref. 222 ) Additional Notes
in 1521. The-Spanish exchanged Mexican silver for Chinese silk with galleons sailing back and forth from Acapulco to Manilla quite regularly after 1572. (Ref. 292 ) The Muslim states on Mindanao retained their independence from Spain for another three centuries. (Ref. 153 , 8 )

Except for the island of Bali, the Islamic faith had completely replaced Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia by the end of the century and the old Majapahit Kingdom was broken up into a number of small, weak Muslim states, no match for the invading Europeans. (Ref. 175 )

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese, but was despised by King Manuel I, so he went to work for Spain, under Emperor Charles V. On his around the world trip his men had no fresh food for almost 4 months and there was terrible morbidity and death from scurvy. (Ref. 302 ) (In Portuguese - Fernao Magalhaes) (Ref. 317 )

Forward to The Far East: A.D. 1601 to 1700

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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