Organized Panel Session
The Straits of Melaka has been an important waterway and nexus of Maritime Asian interactions throughout history. Its strategic importance has resulted from the study of Melaka Straits navigation and other aspects of regional society, resulting in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century world’s acceptance of the importance of the economic, societal, and cultural exchanges across Maritime Asia, as foundational to the development of the polities located along the Straits itself.
This panel seeks to deepen our understanding of the social, economic, religious, and geo-political dynamics of the Melaka Straits, by centering on a specific port-polity that emerged at the cusp of the early modern era—the Melaka Sultanate (1405 – 1510). The Melaka Sultanate and contemporary regional maritime entities are critical historical case-studies that are rooted in the transition of Asian history in time and space. both as the point of Eastern and Western intersection, and as a transition from the pre-modern Maritime Asian period into the modern Western colonial era.
This panel seeks to broaden understanding of the globally prominent fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Indian Ocean historical issues, based on the panel’s revisionist usage of historical sources, including digital databases, hitherto under-utilized European and Asian texts, regional epigraphy and chronicles, and archaeological remains. These materials will be used to shed light on significant Melaka Straits regional development in the areas of law, slavery, regional geo-politics, and trans-regional economic exchanges.