During the past decade a number of historians have carried out fundamental work on various aspects of Malaysian history
These studies reflect the priorities of a new generation of scholars, both Malaysian and Western, whose primary interest is the development of the indigenous society. A history of Malaysia which incorporates recent research is long overdue and this book is intended to fill that gap. This new history of Malaysia traces events in the Malay world from early times to the twentieth century and shows how they have contributed to the formation of modern Malaysia. The complex cultural heritage of Malaysia is shown to be decisive in shaping its history. But equally important is Malaysia''s strategic position on an international trade route linking China, India, and the West. The changing world trade has been a determining factor in the growth and direction of Malaysia''s political and social institutions. In this book, basic new research data on the pre-1800 period gathered not only from European archives but also from an extensive study of indigenous manuscripts and legends are incorporated with a useful synthesis of better known secondary materials. It is therefore both an introductory textbook on Malaysian history and an original contribution to the literature on Malaysia.