The river port of Jambi, the capital province name,
is situated in the central region of Sumatra on Batanghari River,
which flows east into Berhala Straits. Jambi is positioned on the
busy sea route between China and India, and the region played a
major part in early maritime trade. The Tang Annals record that
as early as the seventh century A.D. and again in the ninth century
Jambi sent ambassadors to the court of Chinese emperor. These earliest
records of Jambi show to have been the original capital of Malay
(Malaya Kingdom). The ancient Hindu - Buddhist Kingdom of Sriwijaya
also had its capital in Jambi at that time.
Muaro jambi, a large temple complex several kilometers
downstream from the present capital may well have been the center
of Buddhist learning referred to the Chinese monk I-Tsing, who traveled
from and to India in 671. He studied in Sriwijaya for four years,
and then returned in 689 with four collaborators, to write two books
in the Buddhist pilgrims and Buddhism of his time. It is during
they stay that he noted that Malayu ", now is Sriwijaya country".
Scholars have differed in their interpretations
of this remark; certainly the relationship between Melayu and Sriwijaya
was a very close one, although there were some clearly period of
Malay independence when Sriwijaya was based in nearby Palembang.
In 11 century, the capital had moved to Jambi. As well as functioned
as a Centerport, Jambi also produced its own exports include a variety
of tree resins for use as license, as well as cloves, tortoise-shell,
gardenia flowers and cardamom. From Arab traders it imported cotton,
fabrics and sword blades; from China silk gauzes and thread, the
latter possibly used in the manufacturer of silk brocades decorated
in gold supplementary weft, the "songket" for which the
Malay world later became famous one.