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IslamisationComparative Perspectives from History$
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A. C. S. Peacock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417129

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417129.001.0001

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China and the Rise of Islam on Java

China and the Rise of Islam on Java

(p.419) 21 China and the Rise of Islam on Java

Alexander Wain

Edinburgh University Press

Java is one of Southeast Asia’s great cultural centres (Figure 21.1). Once home to a flourishing Hindu civilisation, from the late fourteenth century onwards, Java’s northern coast began to host increasingly important Muslim communities, all composed of foreigners drawn there by trade. Traditionally, scholarship has argued that, from the late fifteenth to the early sixteenth century, these Muslim traders established themselves as local rulers.1 As a result, small Islamic kingdoms sprang up right across Java’s northern coast, with the most powerful one at Demak (Central Java) (see Figure 21.2). By the time the Portuguese arrived in the early sixteenth century, Demak had begun to challenge Java’s pre-eminent Hindu power, Majapahit. By around 1527, it had successfully overthrown its Hindu rival, establishing itself (and consequently Islam) as Java’s dominant power.

Keywords:   Java, China, Islam, Muslim

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