After the arrival of the Franciscan missionaries, in 1517, Goa gradually became the headquarters of an immense proselytizing organization, which by 1561 had extended to East Africa, China, Japan and the Malay Archipelago (see GoA: Ecclesiastical History).
Careful investigations have supported the theory that Micronesia was peopled largely from the Philippines or some portion of the Malay Archipelago at a much later period than the Polynesian migration.
The north of the chain, from the Kuriles to Formosa, belongs to the empire of Japan; southward it is continued by the Philippines (belonging to the United States of America) which link it with the vast archipelago between the Pacific and Indian oceans, to which the name Malay Archipelago is commonly applied.
The marine eels, Muraenidae, are more numerous towards the Malay Archipelago than in the Indian seas.
Among the islands of the Malay Archipelago the force of the monsoons is much interrupted, and the position of this region on the equator otherwise modifies the directions of the prevailing winds.
The Areca palm is a native of the Malay Peninsula and Islands and is extensively cultivated over a wide area in the East, including southern India, Ceylon, Siam, the Malay Archipelago and the Philippine Islands.
They comprised, in Africa, the Cape Verde Islands, St Thomas and Prince's Islands, Portuguese Guinea, Angola and Portuguese East Africa, or Mozambique; in India, Goa, Damaun and Diu; in China, Macao; and in the Malay Archipelago part of Timor.
It was, however, superseded by Islam, which spread to the Malay Archipelago and Peninsula before the 16th century.
Between the islands of the Malay archipelago from Sumatra to New Guinea, and the neighbouring Asiatic continent, no definite relations appear ever to have existed, and no distinctly marked boundary for Asia has been established by the old geographers in this quarter.
Ibn Batuta made the voyage through the Malay Archipelago to China, and on his return he proceeded from Malabar to Bagdad and Damascus, ultimately reaching Fez, the capital of his native country, in November 1349.