Naval War College Review


The sea dominates Southeast Asia, covering roughly 80 percent of its area. The region’s islands and peninsulas, wedged between the Pacific and Indian oceans, border major arteries of communication and commerce. Thus the eco- nomic and political affairs of Southeast Asia have been dominated by the sea. In the premodern period, ports such as Svirijaya and Malacca established empires based upon sea power in area waters. In succeeding centuries European warships and their heavy guns were the keys to colonization.