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Hanizah Idris


The ports and its infrastructures, facilities and services of Southeast Asia have been thus far studied in isolation. This has given a false and skewed understanding on the development of maritime history of the region. It is important to bear in mind that island Southeast Asia stands at the gateway of east and west trade. It forms an island complex that has no parallel in the world. This region of approximately 23,000 islands all have harbours and ports locked into the east-west trade that was Asian in nature. The early ports were usually river ports and those that achieved international fame continued to be somewhat larger ports that were still located near rivers. The question posed is how one port in Southeast Asia came eventually to dominate the international trade of the entire region at the expense of others.


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