The Khmer Empire and the Malay Peninsula

by Lawrence Palmer Briggs

Publication: The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 256-305 | Association for Asian Studies

Languages : English, Chinese

May 1950 - 50 pages

Sea trade, invasions, political alliances between commercial emporia along the coastline: the interaction between Malay people, Mon-Khmer indigenous populations and Indian and Chinese settlers have been multiple and various since as early as the 3d century CE.

Among the many connections between the two peninsulas put forward by the author, we note that "a prince of Tambralinga seized the throne of Cambodia and conquered the Mons of the Menam and the peninsula (1002-50). The close relations between Kambujadesa and the Bandon region are historic. The basic populations of the two regions seem to have been essentially the same, and they seem to have spoken fundamentally the same language. The Bandon region was under the domination first of Funan and then of Chenla from the beginning of the third century until it was conquered by Srivijaya in the latter part of the eighth. After that conquest, the region from Kra to Kedah seems to have been known to the Arabs as Kalah, with a capital at Kedah, while the old partly-Khmerized kingdoms of the Bandon region retained their identity, subject to the suzerainty of San-foch'i (or Sribuza, as the Arabs called it), whose Malay ruler seems to have divided his time between Kalah and Sribuza."

Note: useful glossary of Chinese regional names in appendix.

About the Author

Lawrence Palmer Briggs

Lawrence P. Briggs (17 Oct 1880, Manton, Wexford County, Michigan, USA - ?) was a US diplomat and independent researcher who dedicated his major work to the Ancient Khmer Empire.

Teaching and traveling fellow of University of California, Lawrence P. Briggs serves as Superintendent of schools, U.S. Consul in Saigon (1914-17), Rangoon (1917-20), Riviere du Loup (1920-22), Nuevitas (1924-29), and Bahia (1932). His burial location remains unknown.

In the 1940s and 1950s, he published extensively his researches, in particular in The Journal of American Oriental Society. Reviewing his major published work (The Ancient Khmer Empire, 1951) in 1953, George Coedès, who had met him in Cambodia, noted that L.P. Briggs had started working on the manuscript in 1943, collating more than 750 research items on the subject. ´It is the first time that the already considerable body of research work relating to ancient Cambodia has been assembled, sifted and brought within reach to the English'speaking public´, noted Coedès.