Diverse Cultures of Southeast Asia

By. Lauren Commuso and Alexis Newsome

Geography of Southeast Asia

  • Made up of two major regions;
  • Mainland Southeast Asia:
  • Several peninsulas between India and China
  • Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and part of Malaysia.
  • Island Southeast Asia:
  • 20,000 islands between Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
  • Indonesia Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines.
  • Mountains separate the mainland from the rest of Asia.
  • Mountains separated four main river valleys of Southeast Asia- the Irrawaddy, Chao Phraya, Mekong, and Red.
  • They were home to early civilizations.
  • Rich trade routs
  • Trade Routs:
  • monsoons shaped trading patterns.
  • Ships traveled northeast in the summer, Southwest in the winter.
  • Merchants harbored their vessels in Southeast Asian ports.
  • International trade network linked India, Southeast Asia, and China to East Africa and the Middle East.
  • Key products- spices.
  • Early Traditions:
  • Archaeologist have found jars and bronze bracelets at least 5,000 years old.
  • Many Languages.
  • Isolated Villages.
  • Own religion culture patterns
  • Built around the nuclear family rather than extended families.
  • Woman had equality in Southeast Asia.
  • Accepted custom
  • Free to marry who ever and divorcing their marriage partners.

Indian Culture Spreads to Southeast Asia

  • Indian traders settled in Southeast Asian port cities in growing numbers.
  • Brought prosperity as merchants exchanged products such as cotton cloth, Jewels, and perfume.
  • Exercised considerable power.
  • Hinduism and Buddhism took root.
  • After Islam carried into India.
  • Muslims ruled northern India.
  • Traders spread Islamic beliefs and Muslim culture.
  • Largest population

New Kingdoms and Empires Emerge

  • Pagan arose in the fertile rice-growing Irrawaddy Valley.
  • King Anawrahta united the region.
  • Brought Buddhism to the Burman people.
  • Filled the capital city with stupas; dome shaped shrines.
  • Pagan flourished for some 200 years after Anawrahta's death, but fell in 1287
  • Mongols concord.
  • They took back pride.
  • Indian influences also helped shed the Khmer empire.
  • Peeked between 800 and 1350
  • Excepted Indian writing, mathematics, architecture, and art.
  • Khmer rulers became pious Hindus.
  • saw themselves as god-kings.