As a crossroads of trade between the Indian Ocean and East Asia, the Malay Archipelago has consistently been a wealthy, diverse, and politically important region. Islam began to spread in the region through trade not long after the life of Prophet Muhammad (S). For centuries, the people of Southeast Asia slowly began to accept Islam and create Muslim towns and kingdoms.
Perhaps the most important of these kingdoms was the Sultanate of Malacca (Melaka in Malay), which reached its peak in the mid-1400s. As a powerful and influential kingdom, the continued spread of Islam was intricately tied with the rise of the Malacca Sultanate. Unfortunately, however, the Malacca Sultanate would not last, as the newly powerful Portugal conquered the kingdom in 1511 and began a centuries-long period of European domination.