The purpose of this paper is to supplement existing knowledge of British and Asian ‘country’ trade to selected parts of Southeast Asia by drawing upon British private papers and the records of Fort St George, Madras. The 1680s marked the peak of international trade in Siamunder king Narai before the wars and revolution there of 1687–88. The decade also saw the elimination of the last great independent entrepot, Banten, on the Java Sea in 1682, as well as the final, ultimately-futile, Dutch efforts to control the Malayan tin-trade north of Perak. The Dutch also began in 1685 and 1689 their intermittent attempts to monopolize key commodities in the Johor–Riau–Lingga sultánate at the southern end of Malacca Strait. In one sense, given Dutch success or at least pretensions, the region from Pegu and Tenasserim–Mergui through certain Malay ports and Aceh to Ayudhya and Tongking constituted what might loosely be called the free-trade zone of maritime Southeast Asia. It was also one in which, with the exception of Perak after 1745, the indigenous monarchies retained complete or extensive independence from European supervision. Into this zone, with occasional ventures to the smaller Indonesian ports, British country traders sailed for over a century, from Bowrey and Dampier in the 1680s to Light and Scott in the 1770s. What were the principal features of the markets they frequented?