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Thursday, April 26, 2012

More SEA: Gunjarat

Gunjarat is not in SEA, South East Asia. It faces the Arabian sea as a state in western India. I was the seat of the Indus Valley Civilization. A Gunjar nation was probably trading with Sugar before 1000 BC.  It was probably dealing with with pre-Islamic Arabs before 500 BC. Muslims were active in the area before 11200 AD. People of Gunjar may have traded with people of SEA before did Tamil people of southeast India. People of southeast India were trading in SEA before the birth of Buddha.

Indian Muslim traders from Gunjarat were probably the source of Islam in SEA. Those sea-going traders well knew the stretch of water, between the the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, known as the straits of Malacca. Traders from Arabia, Persia, and southern Indian kingdoms used those straights to reach Kedah and Guangzhou as the Gunjar had earlier.

Keda is located at the entrance to the Straits. It lays on the Spice Route. Tamils knew Kedah as Kedaram. Very early settlers in Kedah were sea-faring Austronesians. Their descendants traded widely.

Guagzhu is the Chines area we know as Canton. It hah been called Panyu and by about 200 BC became a kingdom which included Vietnam. Beginning about the 7th century and continuing through the 12th century Arab and Persian traders were well known in Guangzhou. By around 800 AD those traders may have been known as sometimes pirates and slavers.

Trade in SEA has been important from very early times, especially sea trade. There is likely to have been trade between India and China passing through SEA and entrepots there from about 3000 BC: that's over 5000 years of ongoing interaction.

In the later days of that SEA trade I say that the Persians and Arabs followed the Indians; the Portuguese followed the Arabs; the Dutch followed the Portuguese; the English followed the Dutch. U.S. interests followed the English. All these interests pirated, cheated, and killed to maintain their positions.

Malaysians are related to Polynesians. As a sea-going people of the region they played an important part in the doings their from earliest times until now. The Malaysian peninsula forms one side of the Straits.

Sumatra, forming the other side of the Straits, is the largest SEA island entirely in Indonesia. Settlement and colonization of Sumatra was begun by Austronesians from Taiwan about 500 BC. Sumatra was known as a source of gold from early times.

Gunjarat effected SEA from ancient times. Could that effect have begun in a bronze age of about 3500 BC? Could it have reached as far as present northeast Myanmar?

What do we know of Islam in India before 1000 AD? Were pre-Islamic Arab traders actively trading between Gunjarat and the Straits of Malacca before 500 BC?

Please remember that the above only represents my best guesses of the moment. And please remember too that I look forward to hearing your guesses and speculations.

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