Diverse Cultures of Southeast Asia

By: Kaela Phelps, Alina Mcneil, and Brent Elliott

Geography of Southeast Asia

  • made up of two major regions

-mainland Southeast Asia

-island Southeast Asia

  • separated by mountains
  • mainland is separated from the rest of Asia
  • mountains separated and main river valleys

-Chao Phraya



  • Home to early civilizations
  • Malacca & Sunda straits were trade routes
  • Monsoons shaped trading patterns
  • Southeast Asian ports center of trade and culture
  • Archaeologists found artifacts from 5000 years ago
  • Diverse ethnic groups and language
  • Many societies built on nuclear family
  • Women had greater equality in Southeast Asia

Indian Culture Spreads to Southeast Asia

  • Indian merchants and Hindu priest slowly spread culture
  • Buddhist monks introduced Theravada beliefs
  • Trade brought prosperity
  • Indian influence reached peak between 500 & 1000
  • Indians brought a third religion; Islam
  • By 1200's Muslims ruled Northern India
  • Indonesia has the largest Muslim population
  • Indian Ocean has a thriving trade network

New Kindoms and Empires Emerge

  • The Pagan Kingdom arises
  • Irrawaddy Valley
  • 1044 King Anawrahta united the region
  • Credited with bringing Buddhism to Burman people
  • Pagan - major Buddhist center
  • capital city filled with stupas
  • Pagan flourished for 200 years
  • Pagan fell in 1287 to Mongols
  • Khmer empire reached its peak between 800 & 1350
  • Khmer rulers became pious Hindus
  • 1100's Kina suryavarman 2 built a temple complex
  • Srivijaya empire flourished from 600's to 1200's

Vietnam Emerges

  • 111 B.C. Han armies conquered region
  • China remained in control for next 1000 years
  • Vietnamese absorbed Confucian ldeas
  • A.D. 39 Trung,Trac, & Trung
  • 939 Tang dynasty collapsed
  • Vietnam broke free from China