Oceania is a region comprising of Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and some of the Pacific islands. As a whole, the region is both the remotest in the world and the latest to begin to develop from largely tribal origins. However, Oceania is today enjoying growing revenue from trade with Asia.
Tidore and Ternate Edit
For much of its history, Oceania has been a tribal region with no major civilisations. In fact, the Tidore Sultanate, one of the first true civilisations of the region, was not founded until 502 AH. The Tidore Sultanate was a small Muslim community on an island of the same name off the coast of New Guinea; they were rivals of a similar community on the island of Ternate.
During the 8th century AH, trade networks across the Malay archipelago strengthened and both Tidore and Ternate became very wealthy through the trade of cloves; it is also around this time that Tidore and Ternate began to claim coastal parts of New Guinea in order to bolster their influence and control more resources. Competition between the two powers was strong at this time, and there was a constant backdrop of conflict that engaged most the the sultanates' surplus wealth and resources.
After centuries of conflict, the powers finally began to diverge under the reign of Tidorean Sultan Saiffudin during the 11th century AH, whose use of growing income from the spice trade to strengthen ties between the Tidorean territories increased the prestige of the Sultanate among the islands. In contrast, Ternate found it increasingly difficult to balance its finances and maintain its military, and a chain of conflicts during the 11th and 12th centuries AH saw Ternate fall from being the dominant power of the region to a satellite of Tidore.
This development brought an end to centuries of conflict and competition, freeing up a huge surplus of resources for Tidore. In 1195AH, Sultan Nuku claimed New Guinea and the surrounding islands, largely with the support of the local Papuan chiefs. By the end of the 12th century AH, the Tidore Sultanate was unquestionably the unilateral superpower of the eastern Malay archipelago.
The rise of Tidore took place against the backdrop of perpetually increasing growth and trade across the Malay archipelago, undoubtedly leading to economic activities spilling over onto the nearby continent of Australia. The first regular contact with the continent began as far back as the 11th century AH, when Makassan trepangers from the island of Sulawesi began working along the coast of what is today the territory of Yolngu. The trepangers usually came with the north-west monsoon each year and fished thousands of miles of coast for trepang, which they would prepare on the beaches before taking them back to Sulawesi to sell.
For several centuries the trepangers had a mostly peaceful relationship with the local Yolngu people; there was some cultural exchange and trade in goods in return for fishing rights at the Yolngu shores, but the two groups mainly kept their distance. The Malay archipelago, however, continued to flourish and demand for trepang grew. Rather than increase their numbers so that they could fish more trepang, many trepangers decided to begin employing Yolngu people to help them prepare trepang on the beaches, and even to fish the trepang themselves. The agreement was a simple extension of the trade agreements they had in place with the Yolngu anyway, and was much cheaper than employing more labour from home.
By the 1370s AH, this practice was becoming widespread, and was having a significant impact on Yolngu culture. An increasing number of Yolngu men were spending their time working with the trepangers, which in turn meant that women's roles in Yolngu society began to change, as they took on more roles which were traditionally held by men. The increased wealth also began to attract other traders to the region.