The eastern archipelagos of Southeast Asia stretch from Mindanao and Sulu in the north to Bali in the southwest and New Guinea in the southeast. Many of the inhabitants of this area are often described as "people without history," in part because colonial borders long ago cut across shared underlying patterns of relations. Yet many of these societies were linked to transoceanic trading systems for millennia. Indeed, some of the world's most prized commodities once came from territories which were either "stateless" or under the tenuous control of loosely structured polities in this region. In this book, trade provides the integrating framework for local and regional histories that cover more than three hundred years, from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth, when new technologies and changing markets helped lead to Western dominance. This book presents theories from the social sciences and economics that can help liberate scholars from dependence on states as narrative frameworks. It will also appeal to those working on wider themes such as global history, state formation, the evolution of markets, and anthropology.
1. Southeast Asia - Commerce - History. 2. Trade routes - Southeast Asia - History. 3. Southeast Asia - Boundaries - History. 4. Southeast Asia - History.