Golden Chersonese

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Golden Chersonese (Greek: Χρυσή χερσόνησος Chrysḗ chersónēsos, Latin: Chersonesus Aurea: "Golden Peninsula") is an ancient name used by Greek geographer Ptolemy (c. 90 A.D. – c. 168 A.D.) in reference to the Malay Peninsula. The name is a translation of the Sanskrit Suvarnadvipa. Marinus of Tyre also used the term Golden Peninsula, but since dvipa can mean either "peninsula" or "island", geographers Eratosthenes, Dionysius Periegetes, and Pomponius Mela chose to translate Suvarnadvipa as "Golden Island".[1][2][3] The Malay Peninsula had developed an international reputation as a source of gold.

Martin Behaim, on his 1492 globe, located the islands of Chryse and Argyre ("Gold" and "Silver") in the vicinity of Zipangu (Japan), which was, according to Marco Polo, "rich in gold". An expedition was sent to find the purported islands in this location in 1587, under the command of Pedro de Unamunu.[4][5]


  1. ^ G. E. Gerini, Researches on Ptolemy's geography of Eastern Asia (further India and Indo-Malay archipelago), London, Royal Asiatic Society, Asiatic Society Monographs, vol.1, 1909, pp.77-111.
  2. ^ H. Kern, "Java en het Goudeiland Volgens de Oudste Berichten", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië, Volume 16, 1869, pp.638-648.[1]
  3. ^ Udai Prakash Arora, “Greek Geographers on the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia”, in Chattopadhyaya, D. P. and Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy, and Culture (eds.), History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol.1, Pt.3, C.G. Pande (ed.), India's Interaction with Southeast Asia, Chapter 6, pp.184-185.
  4. ^ The Travels of Pedro Teixeira, tr. and annotated by W.F. Sinclair, London, Hakluyt Society, Series 2, Vol.9, 1902, p.10.
  5. ^ E.W. Dahlgren, “Were the Hawaiian Islands visited by the Spaniards before their Discovery by Captain Cook in 1778?”, Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar, Band 57. No.1, 1916-1917, pp.1-222, pp.47-48, 66.[2]