In the early 16th century, Tomé Pires, a Portuguese apothecary who stayed in Melaka from 1512 to 1515, writes an almost identical term, Terra de Tana Malaio which he referred to the southeastern part of Sumatra, where the deposed Sultan of Melaka, Mahmud Shah established his exiled government.
The 17th century's account of Portuguese historian, Emanuel Godinho de Erédia, noted on the region of "Malaios" surrounded by the Andaman Sea in the north, the entire Malacca Strait in the centre, a part of Sunda Strait in the south, and the western part of South China Sea in the east.
Prior to the foundation of Melaka, reference to Malay peninsula was made in different terms from various foreign sources.
According to several Indian scholars, the word Malayadvipa ("mountain-insular continent"), mentioned in the ancient Indian text, Vayu Purana, may possibly refer to the Malay peninsula.
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.
These locations today are part of the modern nations of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand.