|Table of contents|
2 Dvaravati period
3 Seafaring Peoples
7 The Philippines
Earliest known times
Indian scholars wrote about the Dvipantara or Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra around 200 BC.
Other Indic influences, such as Theravada Buddhism, held sway during the Dvaravati period (6th to 11th century), which survive in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, and Thailand.
These peoples engaged in extensive trade, which attracted the attention of the Mongols, Chinese and Japanese, as well as Islamicic traders, who reached the Aceh area of Sumatra in the 1100s.
The Singhasari kingdom fell to the Majapahit who allied with Mongols 1293 to defeat the Singhasari. The Majapahit then turned on the Kublai Khan's forces and drove them out. This established Majapahit hegemony over Java.
The last prince of the Srivijayan kingdom of Sumatra, after the loss to the Majapahit, converted to Islam in 1414, and founded the Sultanate of Malacca on the Straits of Malacca between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. As the Portugese came to trade for spices, they began to ally with the Islamic powers, which did not help the Majapahit.
The last Hindu court eventually retreated from Java to Bali about 1500. The 1% of Indonesians who are Hindu today remain largely on Bali.
Until the arrival of an Arab trader to Sulu 1450 and Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed in behalf of Spain 1521, the chiefs of many Philippine islands were called Rajahs, and the script was derived from Brahmi. Even today, the Tagalog (Filipino) word for teacher is guru.
In the archipelago that was to become the Philippines, the idols of the Hindu gods were hidden to prevent their destruction by a religion which destroyed all idols. One idol, a 4-pound gold statue of a Indo-Malayan goddess was found in Mindanao in 1917, which now sits in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and is dated from the period 1200s to early 1300s. Another gold artifact of Garuda, the phoenix who is the mount of Vishnu was found on Palawan.