Abstract: Foreign sources, particularly records from China and archaeological data indicate that merchants from the Middle East, initially pioneered by the Persians had arrived in the Malay Peninsula and the archipelago since the 3rd century AD. Some scholars believe that merchants from the Middle East arrived in the archipelago in the 8th or 9th century AD based on the discovery of artefacts in archaeological sites around what was previously ports in the Archipelago. In fact during this time the trade activity from the Middle East was pioneered by the Arabs after they had learnt and became skilled in maritime knowledge that was acquired previously from the Persians, as it was well known that the Persian people were skilled in the technology of shipbuilding and in seamanship. Based on archaeological data, the artefacts often associated with merchants from the Middle East are items such as Persian ceramics, glass products such as oil lamps and perfume bottles, as well as beads made of glass or semi-precious stones. These artefacts are often found in archaeological sites, such as in Bujang Valley, Kedah and Kuala Selinsing, Perak. These discoveries show that trade activities had existed between merchants from the Middle East; namely, the Arab-Persian merchants and its connection with the function of Lembah Bujang, as an entrepot and Kuala Selinsing as a supplier port. Other ports visited by Arab-Persian merchants were ports in Palembang, Kota Cina, Jambi, Lamuri (Aceh), Takuapa, Pattani, Chaiya, Ec-eo and etc. Among the goods imported from the archipelago were spices, camphor, sandalwood, aloes wood, forest products, cinnamon bark and resin while exported goods were such as ceramics, glass products, iron tools, weapons, silver, beads, nails, fan, jewellery, silk and perfume.
Zuliskandar Ramli, Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abd. Rahman, Mohamad Zain Musa, Mohd Samsudin and Mohamad Rodzi Abdul Razak, 2014. Arab-Persian Merchants in the Malay Peninsula Based on Foreign Sources and Archaeological Data. The Social Sciences, 9: 418-426.