The dictionary meaning of ‘Nusantara’ is ‘Indonesia’ (in Indonesia) and ‘Malay World’ (in Malaysia), but different meanings have been attached to the concept throughout Southeast Asian history. It appears in fourteenth-century Javanese texts but largely disappeared from written materials for a time, and surfaced again when its almost magical qualities were (re)discovered in the late twentieth century. The meaning of the term has changed over time. In 1334, Gadjah Mada, the chief minister of the Majapahit Empire, used it to refer to the maritime fringes (the nusantara) of the Majapahit Empire. During the anticolonial struggle, the term captured the imagination of writers, novelists, poets, and politicians in Indonesia and in British Malaya but it then disappeared from public debates, only to resurface in the 1990s with the emergence of a Nusantara youth culture and a politicized Nusantara Islam in Southeast Asia.