Also known as Melayu asli (aboriginal Malays) or Melayu purba (ancient Malays), the Proto-Malays are of Austronesian origin and thought to have migrated to the Malay archipelago in a long series of migrations between 25 BC.They are kindred but more Mongolised and greatly distinguished from the Proto-Malays which have shorter stature, darker skin, slightly higher frequency of wavy hair, much higher percentage of dolichocephaly and a markedly lower frequency of the epicanthic fold.
A Malay couple in traditional attire after their akad nikah (marriage solemnisation) ceremony.
The groom is wearing a baju melayu paired with songkok and songket, while the bride is clad in baju kurung with a tudung., Jawi: اورڠ ملايو) are an ethnic group of Austronesian peoples predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, eastern Sumatra and coastal Borneo, as well as the smaller islands which lie between these locations — areas that are collectively known as the Malay world.
These locations today are part of the modern nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand.
There is considerable genetic, linguistic, cultural, and social diversity among the many Malay subgroups, mainly due to hundreds of years of immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicity and tribes within Maritime Southeast Asia.
Historically, the Malay population is descended primarily from the earlier Malayic-speaking Austronesians and Austroasiatic tribes who founded several ancient maritime trading states and kingdoms, notably Brunei, Kedah, Langkasuka, Gangga Negara, Chi Tu, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Melayu and Srivijaya The advent of the Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century triggered a major revolution in Malay history, the significance of which lies in its far-reaching political and cultural legacy.
Common definitive markers of a Malayness - the religion of Islam, the Malay language and traditions - are thought to have been promulgated during this era, resulting in the ethnogenesis of the Malay as a major ethnoreligious group in the region.
In literature, architecture, culinary traditions, traditional dress, performing arts, martial arts, and royal court traditions, Malacca set a standard that later Malay sultanates emulated.
The golden age of the Malay sultanates in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo saw many of their inhabitants, particularly from various tribal communities like the Batak, Dayak, Orang Asli and the Orang laut become subject to Islamisation and Malayisation.
Today, some Malays have recent forbears from other parts of Maritime Southeast Asia, termed as anak dagang ("traders") and who predominantly consist of Javanese people, Bugis, Minangkabau people and Acehnese peoples, while some are also descended from more recent immigrants from other countries.