The First Chinese Diaspora: China and Southeast Asia

Guest lecture by Professor John Miksic, National University of Singapore

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
4:00 - 5:00 pm at NIAS Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Leifsgade 33

Many scholars have studied the wave of Chinese immigration which washed over Southeast Asia in the 19th and early 20th century. Much less research has been devoted to an earlier phase of immigration, which took place during the 12th to 14th centuries. This period is known to most casual observers of China-Southeast Asia relations for the Mongol invasions of Vietnam, Burma, and Java.

The process by which the first Chinese communities developed in Southeast Asia is an important topic for study. A combination of archaeological and historical data provides a vaguely discernible outline of early Chinese settlement, especially in western Indonesia.

This contact had significant effects on the culture and economy of Southeast Asia, but the rise of the Ming empire brought it to a halt. The early phase of Chinese settlement was almost though not completely forgotten by the time Europeans began to reside in Southeast Asia in the sixteenth century.

Celebrating 50 years of Asian Studies at Copenhagen University