Winner of the Penang Book Prize 2019
Nusantaria – often referred to as 'Maritime Southeast Asia' – is the world's largest archipelago and has, for centuries, been a vital cultural and trading hub. Nusantara, a Sanskrit, then Malay, word referring to an island realm, is here adapted to become Nusantaria - denoting a slightly wider world but one with a single linguistic, cultural and trading base. Nusantaria encompasses the lands and shores created by the melting of the ice following the last Ice Age. These have long been primarily the domain of the Austronesian-speaking peoples and their seafaring traditions. The surrounding waters have always been uniquely important as a corridor connecting East Asia to India, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. In this book, Philip Bowring provides a history of the world's largest and most important archipelago and its adjacent coasts. He tells the story of the peoples and lands located at this crucial maritime and cultural crossroads, from its birth following the last Ice Age to today.