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Śrīvijaya, Java, and the Sunda Strait During the Fifth to Tenth Centuries

Stephen G. Haw

Pages 409 - 436


It is generally assumed that the Strait of Melaka has been the principal route
between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea throughout at least the past
two millennia. This assumption is questioned here. It is shown that there is
little to no evidence of the use of the Strait of Melaka during the fifth to
tenth centuries. The importance of Java during much of this period suggests that
the normal route was through the Sunda Strait. There is also archaeological
evidence, including inscriptions and shipwrecks, which tends to support this
conclusion. In the light of this reinterpretation, the locations of a number of
toponyms in Southeast Asia are re-evaluated, including Luoyue,
, Kalāh, and Geguluo. It is suggested that
the Chinese Shilifoshi and Sanfoqi are not
transcriptions of (Sanskrit) Śrīvijaya, but most likely derive from colloquial
versions of the original name.

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