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Islamization of Southeast Asia was a Chinese Project

A century later, when suddenly very large ships turned up, this is in the early 1400 led by a eunuch Chinese General called Zheng He and he brought these massive ships, these ships were really enormous, I mean they’re modern, they’re modern scales. This huge series of treasure ships, that came in the early 1400, have made voyages across through Southeast Asia to India making its way to Africa and there was a series of them, led by this General Zheng He, who was a eunuch incidentally and it was not incidentally a voyage of discovery, because many of these routes that that I was talking about was very well-established as I mentioned earlier.

What they were trying to do, was really showing who was the boss and so the Chinese came to this part of the world and they were going around essentially one by sheer scale overawing the locals. But very quickly they also begin to meddle with the politics of this area, so they captured one of the claimants to the throne off Sri Lanka and took him back and brought him back and then tried to place him on the throne, they have or may have changed the Zamorin or Samuthiri of (of) in Kerala, (they may have) of Calicut, Kozhikode is the correct word or maybe I think not the correct pronunciation anyway. So they may have interfered there, so they were messing around with the politics of various places using their muscle, (but one) possibly the biggest influence of that, however was in Southeast Asia and the Islamization of Southeast Asia, which as I will show you was really a Chinese project.

Now remember after the 12th,13th century the Hindus of India became less much important in the trading networks outside of India, but the Southeast Asian Hindus particularly of Java were very very active. In fact it was really in the 13th, 14th century where you have this massive expansion of the Majapahit Empire based out of Java and basically took over fair section of what is now Indonesia, even parts of now what is Malaysia and they were the guys, who when Zheng He was making these great voyages were looking on all of this very very suspiciously and in fact, in couple of occasions, they captured some of the Chinese envoyers and decapitated them, just to send the signal. It didn’t go down very well with the Chinese, who then began to encourage an alternative Center of power, in a place called Malacca which is in Malaysia, just north of Singapore. They had a king called Parameswara, who they encouraged to convert to Islam, they in fact, Parameswara also visited the Chinese Emperor and they give him a lot of money and then as consequence of, with Chinese backing, the kingdom of Malacca became increasingly more powerful and the Majapahit began to withdraw. The next two centuries, there was a dramatic shift in the religious composition of Southeast Asia.

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