3 June, 2020

This second writing by Hall, published some 25 years subsequent to his first, Maritime Trade, incorporates a large body of additional archeological research and international scholarship to support the premise that “Southeast Asia’s positive response to the economic and cultural opportunities afforded by international trade was conditioned by and consistent with preexisting patterns of (their) civilizations.”  While Southeast Asia, from India to New Guinea, was governed by overlapping early states with “political heartlands but fluctuating state peripheries”, the early Christian Era found “skilled farmers, musicians, metallurgists and mariners.”  As accomplished mariners, the Malayo-Austronesian became the “nomads of the Southern Ocean” and the “peoples stretched halfway around the globe.”  Succeeding chapters will demonstrate the transition of the Southeast Archipelago between the first and fifteenth centuries and its critical point of connection as the major premodern maritime route between East and West.  This expansive body of information is a great read for all, and particularly travelers, who have an interest in a very significant period (ca. 100-1500 era) in the progression of early Southeast Asia and how it entwined this region of the world.