The earliest written documentation of several Indonesian islands occurs in canto 14 of the Desawarnana, the East Javanese topogenic poem of 1365 CE. There's been a lot of academic discussion about which names refer to which places, especially in the case of some particularly obscure ones, but it's generally easy to tell which part of Indonesia or Malaysia is being described. It's rather harder to tell whether the text accurately depicts the actual realm of Majapahit, though. In any case, the full text of the fifth stanza of the fourteenth canto goes like this (Robson's 1995 translation):
Taking them island by island: Makasar, Butun and Banggawi,This is clearly a list of toponyms from Sulawesi and eastern Indonesia. Some of them are familiar, like Timur (clearly Timor) and Seran (clearly Seram), and others haven't changed at all from their present forms, including Makasar and Sumba. Others need a little interpreting, however.
Kunir, Galiyahu and Salaya, Sumba, Solot and Muwar,
As well as Waṇḍan, Ambwan, Maloko and Wwanin,
Seran and Timur as the main ones among the various islands that remember their duty.
|Sulawesi - probably the strangest-shaped large island on the planet. It has an amazing geological history (as you might expect). Borneo (Kalimantan) is to the west; Maluku Utara is to the east.|
In pre-colonial times the Banggai Islands were known for their production of iron swords - not the best swords in Indonesia, but reportedly quite serviceable ones (Tome Pires mentions them). Sulawesi as a whole was renowned for its iron (especially around Lake Matano), and the -wesi in 'Sulawesi' probably refers to the metal (compare modern Malay besi 'iron', and other Malayo-Polynesian cognates). Both Buton and Banggai later came under the authority of the Sultanate of Ternate in far-eastern Indonesia (see Leonard Andaya's brilliant World of Maluku (1993) for more on this).
|A map of the modern Indonesian provinces of Maluku and Maluku Utara, showing the positions of several of the islands in the text. h/t Lencer.|
Ambwan is clearly Ambon, the small-but-important island to the south of Seram. Maloko is modern Maluku, but precisely which polity or region it refers to is difficult to say; presumably it's one of either Ternate or Tidore, the spice-trading polities based on tiny volcanic islands off the Halmaheran coast (probably Ternate). Wwanin is an interesting one, though: it refers to the Onin Peninsula on the west coast of New Guinea south of MacCluer Gulf, and it must count as the earliest, or at least one of the earliest, recorded placename(s) in the history of the island. Waṇḍan must refer to the Banda Islands, by far the most important spice-producing archipelago in the world in the fourteenth century.
|Ternate, Maluku Utara - a tiny round island with a large volcanic mountain at its centre. From the fifteenth century until the Dutch conquest it was a major regional power, and there's some evidence of significant Javanese and Malay influence (at least culturally). h/t A. Rabin.|
So what does this stanza really tell us about the political authority of Majapahit outside Java? Did the Javanese really have an outpost as far east as New Guinea? What does 'remember their duty' mean? As one of the more contentious issues in the historiography of medieval Indonesia, I'd like to leave that for another time. There are sceptics, including famously C. C. Berg, who think/thought that these Javanese texts represented little more than magical/wishful thinking or exaggeration, and there are proponents of Greater Majapahit (including the Indonesian government) who think these references amount to a medieval antecedent of Indonesia. And then there are scholars who take a middle way. The evidence is necessarily inconclusive, naturally.
You can find an Indonesian translation of the entire poem here, by the way. You can also find the Javanese text online, and while I don't know Old Javanese (I can sort of work out some meanings on comparative grounds, but I've never had any training in it), here's the original text (romanized and without some needed diacritics):
ikaɳ saka sanusanusa makhasar butun / bangawi,
kunir ggaliyau mwan i salaya sumba solot / muar,
muwah tikhan i wandan ambwan athawa maloko wwanin,
ri seran i timur makadinin aneka nusatutur.
Andaya, L. 1993. World of Maluku. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.