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, Pahang, 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.
Proponents of this theory hold that this expansion gives a far more parsimonious explanation of the linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological evidence than earlier models, particularly the Taiwan model.
This theory also draws support from recent genetic evidence by Human Genome Organisation suggesting that the primary peopling of Asia occurred in a single migration through Southeast Asia; this route is held to be the modern Malay area and that the diversity in the area developed mainly in-place without requiring major migrations from the mainland.
The expansion itself may have been driven by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age.
Proponent Stephen Oppenheimer has further theorised that the expansion of peoples occurred in three rapid surges due to rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age, and that this diaspora spread the peoples and their associated cultures, myths, and technologies not just to mainland Southeast Asia, but as far as India, the Near East, and the Mediterranean.
In literature, architecture, culinary traditions, traditional dress, performing arts, martial arts, and royal court traditions, Malacca set a standard that later Malay sultanates emulated.