The History of Southeast Asia
By Jenna and Cate
Southeast Asian Geography
The mainland portion of Southeast Asia is separated from the rest of its continent by mountains, and as a result, it is fairly isolated. This did not stop traders from entering this region, however, and the rich culture created by the people in this region gradually mixed with foreign objects and traditions. Mountains separate Southeast Asia into four main river valleys, and these were home to many early cultures.
The island half of Southeast Asia has served as an important area in terms of trading. The water between the Indian and Pacific Oceans where these islands lie, is a necessary area for ships going to India and China to pass through. As a result, these islands are full of many diverse cultures that have accumulated from the numerous ships passing through from different regions. The monsoons dictate the patterns for trading seasons, and during low times of the year, many sailors docked their ships on the coasts of these islands.
Southeast Asian Society
Many kingdoms thrived here for centuries as well. With little outside influence except for the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism, the kingdoms could develop on their own. Some notable kingdoms are:
- Khmer Empire 802 AD - 1431 AD
- Champa Empire 570 AD - 1414 AD
- Srivijiaya Kingdom 2nd century AD to 19th century AD
The Khmer and Champa empires were close neighbors, with the Khmer Empire being larger, covering Cambodia, Laos, and parts of Thailand and Vietnam. Srivijaya was located on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.
Southeast Asian Accomplishments
The Champa empire also had amazing gold art. They created many statues made of gold and jewels that are not in many museums yet, as many are still being found.
Watson, Barbara. "Introduction to Southeast Asia." Asia Society. Asian Societies, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
Russel, Susan. "Political and Cultural Geography of Southeast Asia." Political and Cultural Geography of Southeast Asia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
"Khmer Empire." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
"Epic World History." : Srivijaya Kingdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
"History of Champa." Panduranga Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.