Monday, May 23, 2011

History of Srivijaya

Srivijaya was a Malay thalassocracy centered on Palembang (Sumatra), existing from the 7th to the 13th C. The historical evidence is scanty, consisting of a number of inscriptions, a few stories of mostly Chinese visitors, archaeological evidence. It is believed that Madagascar was settled by Sumatrans before the arrival of Indian religions on Sumatra. Srivijaya expanded, annexing Melayu (Jambi) c. 680, taking control of the Malacca Straits. A Chinese visitor around that time describes Palembang as a center of Buddhist scholarship.

Srivijaya at its climax controlled Sumatra, West Java, the westerly and northern coast of Borneo and the Malay Peninsula. In the Malay Archipelago it had a rival in Sailendra, another thalassocracy centered on Central Java, and after the latter's fall in 852, in the Kingdom of Mataram, also concentrated on Central Java. When the Sailendra Dynasty was ousted from Java in 852, they moved to Palembang and took over the rule of Srivijaya.

By 1200 Srivijaya was still a major regional power, but the center had moved from Palembang to Jambi. In the course of the 13th century Srivijaya disintegrated. The Kingdom of Palembang continued to be identified with the name of Srivijaya; its territory was limited to southeastern Sumatra without Lampung (to Pajajaran). In the north it bordered on Jambi. In 1290 it was conquered by Singhasari.

Jambi, Palembang, Pajajaran and Malacca may be regarded successor states of Srivijaya, indirectly also Brunei and the Sultanates of North Sumatra such as Aceh.

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