Part of the archipelago was discovered by Pedro Fernandez Quiros in 1607.
Odoric set out on his travels about 1318, and his journeys embraced parts of India, the Malay Archipelago, China and even Tibet, where he was the first European to enter Lhasa, not yet a forbidden city.
The archipelago is divided into two groups - the Leeward (lies sous le Vent) and the Windward Islands (Iles du Vent) - by a clear channel of 60 m.
Ibn Batuta made the voyage through the Malay Archipelago to China, and on his return he proceeded from Malabar to Bagdad and Damascus, ultimately reaching Fez, the capital of his native country, in November 1349.
From Torres Strait to Dampier Land the shelf spreads out, and connects Australia with New Guinea and the Malay Archipelago.