The Malay Peninsula (Malay: Semenanjung Tanah Melayu) is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southernmost point of the Asian mainland. The area contains Peninsular Malaysia, Southern Thailand, and the southernmost tip of Myanmar (Kawthaung) as well as the city state Singapore, indigenous to or historically inhabited by the Malays, an Austronesian people.
The Titiwangsa Mountains are part of the Tenasserim Hills system, and form the backbone of the Peninsula. They form the southernmost section of the central cordillera which runs from Tibet through the Kra Isthmus (the Peninsula's narrowest point) into the Malay Peninsula. The Strait of Malacca separates the Malay Peninsula from the Indonesian island of Sumatra while the south coast is separated from the island of Singapore by the Straits of Johor.
Location of the Malay Peninsula.
|Area||242,363.8 km2 (93,577.2 sq mi)|
The Malay term Tanah Melayu is derived from the word Tanah (land) and Melayu (Malays), thus it means "the Malay land". The term can be found in various Malay texts, of which the oldest dating back to the early 17th century. It is frequently mentioned in the Hikayat Hang Tuah, a well known classic tales associated with the legendary heroes of Malacca Sultanate. Tanah Melayu in the text is consistently employed to refer to the area under Malaccan dominance.
In the early 16th century, Tomé Pires, a Portuguese apothecary who stayed in Malaca from 1512 to 1515, writes an almost identical term, Terra de Tana Malaio which he referred to the southeastern part of Sumatra, where the deposed Sultan of Malacca, Mahmud Shah established his exiled government. The 17th century's account of Portuguese historian, Emanuel Godinho de Erédia, noted on the region of Malaios surrounded by the Andaman Sea in the north, the entire Malacca Strait in the centre, a part of Sunda Strait in the south, and the western part of South China Sea in the east.
Prior to the foundation of Malacca, ancient and medieval references to a Malay peninsula exist in various foreign sources. According to several Indian scholars, the word Malayadvipa ("mountain-insular continent"), mentioned in the ancient Indian text, Vayu Purana, may possibly refer to the Malay peninsula. Another Indian source, an inscription on the south wall of the Brihadeeswarar Temple, recorded the word Malaiur, referring to a kingdom in Malay peninsula that had "a strong mountain for its rampart". The Greek source, Geographia, written by Ptolemy, labelled a geographical part of Golden Chersonese as Maleu-kolon, a term thought to derive from Sanskrit malayakolam or malaikurram. While the Chinese chronicle of Yuan dynasty mentioned the word Ma-li-yu-er, referring to a nation of Malay peninsula that threatened by the southward expansion of Sukhothai Kingdom under King Ram Khamhaeng. During the same era, Marco Polo made a reference to Malauir in his travelogue, as a kingdom located in the Malay peninsula, possibly similar to the one mentioned in Yuan chronicle.. The Malay Peninsula was conflated with Persia in old Japan, and was known by the same name. 
In the early 20th century, the term Tanah Melayu was generally used by the Malays of the peninsula during the rise of Malay nationalism to describe uniting all Malay states on the peninsula under one Malay nation, although this ambition was largely realised with the formation of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Malay for "Federation of Malaya") in 1948.
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The Andaman Sea (historically also known as the Burma Sea) is a marginal sea of the eastern Indian Ocean separated from the Bay of Bengal (to its west) by the Andaman Islands of India and Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands of India and touching Myanmar, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula. Its southernmost end is defined by Breueh Island, an island just north of Sumatra.
Traditionally, the sea has been used for fishery and transportation of goods between the coastal countries and its coral reefs and islands are popular tourist destinations. The fishery and tourist infrastructure was severely damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.Canarium
Canarium is a genus of about 100 species of tropical and subtropical trees, in the family Burseraceae. They grow naturally across tropical Africa, south and southeast Asia, Indochina, Malesia, Australia and western Pacific Islands; including from southern Nigeria east to Madagascar, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and India; from Burma, Malaysia and Thailand through the Malay Peninsula and Vietnam to south China, Taiwan and the Philippines; through Borneo, Indonesia, Timor and New Guinea, through to the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Palau.They grow up to large evergreen trees of 40–50 m (130–160 ft) tall, and have alternately arranged, pinnate leaves.Cheq Wong language
Cheq Wong (Ceq Wong, Chewong) is an Austroasiatic language spoken in the Malay Peninsula. It belongs to the Northern subbranch of the Aslian languages. Northern Aslian was labelled Jehaic in the past.Golden Chersonese
The Golden Chersonese or Golden Khersonese (Ancient Greek: Χρυσῆ Χερσόνησος, Chrysḗ Chersónēsos; Latin: Chersonesus Aurea), meaning the Golden Peninsula, was the name used for the Malay Peninsula by Greek and Roman geographers in classical antiquity, most famously in Claudius Ptolemy's 2nd-century Geography.History of Malaysia
Malaysia is a country located on a strategic sea-lane that exposes it to global trade and foreign culture. Strictly, the name "Malaysia" is a modern concept, created in the second half of the 20th Century. However, contemporary Malaysia regards the entire History of Malaya, spanning thousands of years back to Prehistoric times, as its own history, and as such it is treated in this page.
An early western account of the area is seen in Ptolemy's book Geographia, which mentions a "Golden Khersonese," now identified as the Malay Peninsula. Hinduism and Buddhism from India and China dominated early regional history, reaching their peak during the reign of the Sumatra-based Srivijaya civilisation, whose influence extended through Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula and much of Borneo from the 7th to the 13th centuries.
Although Muslims had passed through the Malay Peninsula as early as the 10th century, it was not until the 14th century that Islam first firmly established itself. The adoption of Islam in the 14th century saw the rise of a number of sultanates, the most prominent of which was the Sultanate of Malacca. Islam had a profound influence on the Malay people, but has also been influenced by them. The Portuguese were the first European colonial powers to establish themselves on the Malay Peninsula and Southeast Asia, capturing Malacca in 1511, followed by the Dutch in 1641. However, it was the British who, after initially establishing bases at Jesselton, Kuching, Penang and Singapore, ultimately secured their hegemony across the territory that is now Malaysia. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 defined the boundaries between British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies (which became Indonesia). A fourth phase of foreign influence was immigration of Chinese and Indian workers to meet the needs of the colonial economy created by the British in the Malay Peninsula and Borneo.Japanese invasion during World War II ended British domination in Malaysia. The subsequent occupation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak from 1942 to 1945 unleashed nationalism. In the Peninsula, the Malayan Communist Party took up arms against the British. A tough military response was needed to end the insurgency and bring about the establishment of an independent, multi-racial Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957. On 22 July 1963, Sarawak was granted self-governance. The following month on 31 August 1963, both North Borneo and Singapore were also granted self-governance and all states formed Malaysia on 16 September 1963. Approximately two years later, the Malaysian parliament passed a bill without the consent of signatory of Malaysia Agreement 1963 to separate Singapore from the Federation. A confrontation with Indonesia occurred in the early-1960s. Race riots in 1969 led to the imposition of emergency rule, and a curtailment of political life and civil liberties which has never been fully reversed. Since 1970 the Barisan Nasional coalition headed by United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) had governed Malaysia until defeated by the Pakatan Harapan coalition which was headed by ex-UMNO leader Mahathir Mohamad on 10 May 2018Kra Isthmus
The Kra Isthmus (Thai: คอคอดกระ, pronounced [kʰɔ̄ː kʰɔ̂ːt kràʔ]; Malay: Segenting Kra/Segenting Kera) is the narrowest part of the Malay Peninsula, in southern Thailand.The western part of the isthmus belongs to Ranong Province and the eastern part to Chumphon Province, both in Thailand. The isthmus is bordered to the west by the Andaman Sea and to the east by the Gulf of Thailand.The Kra Isthmus marks the boundary between two sections of the central cordillera, the mountain chain which runs from Tibet through the Malay peninsula. The southern part is called the Phuket chain, which is a continuation of the greater Tenasserim range, extending further northwards for over 400 km (250 mi) beyond the Three Pagodas Pass.On 8 December 1941 local time, the Imperial Japanese Army landed near Songkhla, Thailand and Kota Bharu, Malaya, thus beginning the Pacific War, and launching both the invasion of Thailand and the Malayan campaign, the latter of which culminated in the capture of Singapore.The Thai Canal is a proposal to join the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea. It was originally envisioned as crossing the isthmus.Langkasuka
Langkasuka was an ancient Malay (Hindu-Buddhist) kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula. The name is Sanskrit in origin; it is thought to be a combination of langkha for "resplendent land" -sukkha for "bliss". The kingdom, along with Old Kedah, is probably among the earliest kingdoms founded on the Malay Peninsula. The exact location of the kingdom is of some debate, but archaeological discoveries at Yarang near Pattani, Thailand suggest a probable location. The kingdom is believed to have been founded in the 2nd century.
According to the legend given in the Kedah Annals, the kingdom was founded and named by Merong Mahawangsa. Another proposal suggests that the name may have been derived from langkha and Ashoka, the legendary Mauryan Hindu warrior king who eventually became a pacifist after embracing the ideals espoused in Buddhism, and that the early Indian colonizers of the Malay Isthmus named the kingdom Langkasuka in his honour. Chinese historical sources provided some information on the kingdom and recorded a king Bhagadatta who sent envoys to the Chinese court.Mah Meri language
Mah Meri, sometimes also known as Besisi or Betise’, is an Austroasiatic language spoken in the Malay Peninsula. It belongs to the Southern Aslian branch of the Aslian languages. It is the only remaining Aslian language spoken in a coastal area. A dictionary of the Mah Meri language has been compiled by Nicole Kruspe.Orang Seletar language
Orang Seletar (Slitar) is a language of the Orang Laut of the south coast of the Malay Peninsula. It is very close to Malay, and may be counted as a dialect of that language. The speaking population is unknown, but is likely in the range of a few thousand. The language is considered severely endangered by UNESCO.Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia, also known as Malaya or West Malaysia, is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands. Its area is 132,265 square kilometres (51,068 sq mi), which is nearly 40% of the total area of the country - or slightly bigger than England (130,395 km²) and South Korea (100,363 km²). It shares a land border with Thailand in the north. To the south is the island of Singapore.Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the Sumatra Island (Indonesia) and across the South China Sea to the east lies the Natuna Islands (Indonesia). Peninsular Malaysia accounts for the majority (roughly 81.3%) of Malaysia's population and economy; as of 2017 its population is roughly 26 million (92% of total population).Roti john
Roti john is an omelette sandwich founded by a Malay who lived in Singapore during the British colonial times before being widely popular throughout the Malay Peninsula in present-day Malaysia and in modern-day Indonesia as street food.Semaq Beri language
Semaq Beri (Semoq Beri) is an Austroasiatic language spoken in the Malay Peninsula in the states of Pahang and Terengganu. It belongs to the Southern division of the Aslian languages, along with Semelai, Temoq, and Mah Meri. A preliminary description of the Semaq Beri language by Nicole Kruspe was published in 2014.Semelai language
Semelai is an Austroasiatic language spoken in the Malay Peninsula. It belongs to the Southern branch of the Aslian language subgrouping. The Semelai reside predominantly around the Bera, Serting and associated river systems in the states of Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.Senoic languages
The Senoic languages (also called Sakai) are a group of Aslian languages spoken by about 33,000 people in the main range of the Malay peninsula. Languages in the group are,
Semai and Temiar (the main languages), Lanoh, Sabüm, and Semnam.Southern Thai language
Southern Thai (Southern Thai/Thai: ภาษาไทยถิ่นใต้ [pʰaːsǎː tʰaj tʰìn tâːj]), also known as Pak Thai (Southern Thai: ภาษาปักษ์ใต้) or Dambro (Thai: ภาษาตามโพร [pʰaːsǎː taːmpʰroː]), is a Southwestern Tai language spoken in the fourteen provinces of southern Thailand as well as by small communities in the northernmost Malaysian states. It is spoken by roughly five million people, and as a second language by the 1.5 million speakers of Pattani and other ethnic groups such as the local Thai Chinese communities, Negritos, and other tribal groups. Most speakers are also fluent or understand the Central Thai dialects.Southern Thailand
Southern Thailand is a southernmost cultural region of Thailand, separated from Central Thailand region by the Kra Isthmus.Srivijaya
Srivijaya (also written Sri Vijaya or Sriwijaya in Indonesian or Malay), was a dominant thalassocratic Malayan city-state based on Srivijaya and Kedah in Malay Peninsula, Jambi in Sumatra and Medang in Central Java which influenced much of Southeast Asia. Srivijaya was an important centre for the expansion of Buddhism from the 8th to the 12th century. Srivijaya was the first unified kingdom to dominate much of the Malay-Indonesian archipelago. The rise of the Srivijayan Empire is seen to run parallel to the end of the Malay sea-faring period. Due to its location, this once powerful state developed complex technology utilizing maritime resources. In addition, its economy became progressively reliant on the booming trade in the region, thus transforming it into a prestige goods based economy.The earliest reference to it dates from the 7th century. A Tang Chinese monk, Yijing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for six months. The earliest known inscription in which the name Srivijaya appears also dates from the 7th century in the Kedukan Bukit inscription found near Palembang, Sumatra, dated 16 June 682. Between the late 7th and early 11th century, Srivijaya rose to become a hegemon in Southeast Asia. It was involved in close interactions, often rivalries, with the neighbouring Java, Kambuja, Champa and Chola. Srivijaya's main foreign interest was nurturing lucrative trade agreements with China which lasted from the Tang to the Song dynasty. Srivijaya had religious, cultural and trade links with the Buddhist Pala of Bengal, as well as with the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East.
The kingdom ceased to exist in the 13th century due to various factors, including the expansion of the rival Javanese Singhasari and Majapahit empires. After Srivijaya fell, it was largely forgotten. It was not until 1918 that French historian George Cœdès, of École française d'Extrême-Orient, formally postulated its existence.Strait of Malacca
The Strait of Malacca (Malay: Selat Melaka, Indonesian: Selat Malaka, Thai: ช่องแคบมะละกา, Tamil: மலாக்கா நீரிணை, Chinese: 马六甲海峡) or Straits of Malacca is a narrow, 550 mi (890 km) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. As the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. It is named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.Titiwangsa Mountains
The Titiwangsa Range (Malay: Banjaran Titiwangsa; بنجرن تيتيوڠسا), also known as "Banjaran Besar" (Main Range) by locals, are the main range that forms the backbone of the Malay peninsula.
The northern section of the range is in southern Thailand, where it is known as Sankalakhiri Range (Thai: ทิวเขาสันกาลาคีรี, pronounced [tʰīw kʰǎw sǎn.kāːlāːkʰīːrīː]).
The range acts as a natural divider, dividing peninsular Malaysia, as well as southernmost Thailand, into east and west coast regions. The length of mountain range is about 480 km from north to south.