Diverse Cultures of Southeast Asia

By: Rein Laza/ Victoria Locklear

Geography of Southeast Asia

* There are two regions: 1st is the mainland which is made up of several peninsulas in Southeast Asia, the 2nd region is an island in Southeast Asia.

* The mainland is separated from the rest of Asia by mountains.

* Due to the monsoons changing trade routes, it made Southeast Asian ports into the international trade network.

* An early tradition that Southeast Asia had was that their societies were built around nuclear families instead of extended families.

Indian Culture Spreads to Southeast Asia

* Indian merchants and Hindu priests filtered into Southeast Asia, slowly spreading their culture.

* As more Indians started coming into Southeast Asia they spread their culture which eventually led to a widespread acceptance. (reached its peak between 500 and 1000.)

* Indians brought Islam into Southeast Asia after Hinduism and Buddhism took root.

New Kingdoms and Empires Emerge

* The blend of Indian influences with local cultures in time produced a series of kingdoms and empires in Southeast Asia.

* The kingdom of Pagan arose in the fertile rice-growing Irrawaddy Valley in present-day Myanmar.

* Indian influences also helped shape the Khmer empire, which reached its peak between 800 and 1350.

* In Indonesia, the trading empire of Srivijaya flourished from the 600s to the 1200s.

Vietnam Emerges

* Indian traditions spread mostly through trade rather than conquest, however China conquers their neighboring state of Annam( now the northern part of Vietnam ).

* The heart of Northern Vietnam was the Red river delta, around present-day Hanoi.

* The river irrigated fertile rice paddies, or fields, which provided food for a growing population.

* In 111 B.C., Han armies conquered the region, and China remained in control for the next 1,000 years.

* Despite these powerful Chinese influences, the Vietnamese preserved a strong sense of their separate identity.