Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Navy of Sri Vijaya Empire

About 4th century AD the dynasty of Sri Vijaya founded its kingdom in Sumatra. The kingdom expanded in the following three centuries as a full fledged naval power supporting a vast commercial network.

The powerful Sri Vijayan Navy controlled the Sunda and Malacca Straits and thus shaped the dynamics of Near Eastern and Indonesian trade with China. Sri Vijaya kings extended their authority over Malay, Sumatra and Java and warred against Champa and Annam.

They maintained a powerful navy which swept the sea of pirates and corsairs. With the construction and improvement of more seaworthy ships and better navigational skills, and the establishment of unified control over access corridors to the South China and Java Seas by Sri Vijaya which assure safe passage, there was a marked increase in the seaborne trade.

There is some indication that Sri Vijaya had a large armed force of about 20,000 men who were sent on an expedition against Java. Sri Vijaya might use a naval force to deploy its armies to any point in its “empire”.

One of the strengths of the kingdom was the effectiveness of the Orang Laut. The Orang Laut or the sea warriors may have served as Sri Vijaya’s naval strike force. The Orang Laut patrolled the sea lanes to encourage traders to visit their ruler’s port city, while harassing or destroying the ships of Sri Vijaya’s competitors.
Navy of Sri Vijaya Empire
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