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Sejarah Melayu: The History of the Malay Peninsula
http://malaya.org.uk
Sabri Zain
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Reviewed by:
Robert DeCaroli
George Mason University
August 2003






This site is a personal webpage (albeit a complex one) run by a Singapore-born webmaster and amateur historian with the goal of providing an overview of Malaysian history. The materials have been arranged chronologically, beginning with the earliest records of the Malay and leading up to the present. At the time of this review, about half of the site is still under construction.

Internet resources dealing with Malaysian history are difficult to locate. Although this site has some shortcomings, it remains one of the most accessible sources for such information. The site itself is arranged like a history text in which the primary sources serve as evidence for historical discussions, so the hundreds of photographs and maps are arranged throughout the site. The entire webpage is organized along a timeline, though, so it is fairly easy to locate the images that pertain to a particular time period or topic.

The historical materials have been arranged under three broad headings: “Golden Cheronese: The First Malay Kingdoms”; “Colonization: The Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English”; and “Merdeka: From British Malaya to Independent Malaysia.” Only 13 of the 22 historical time periods—primarily in the first two section—contain significant content. For each section with content, the historical period is clearly introduced and a brief summary of the major events within that period are provided. Most also have several topical sidebars that highlight a particular aspect of the larger discussion.

Each sidebar-type article explores related information and some of these sections contain the most useful primary materials. In particular, the section on “China’s Southern Sea” has a sidebar that provides access to nine high-quality images from the pages of rare Malaysian texts along with a summary translation. There is also a link to a site with more such images, but, the page did not load properly.

This site also links to Classic Malaya, a site offering several hundred high-quality black-and-white photographs of Malaysia in the 19th century. This related site is well worth a careful look for the unique and rare materials that it presents.

In summary, while the site provides a wonderful primer on Malaysian history the primary materials (photos and documents) will require a bit of searching to access. The webmaster has thoughtfully provided a useful list of 50 related links that have been clearly arranged by topic.

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