Southeast Asia - Geography & Political
What is the........
Geography of Area -
Origions of Settlements -
Early Influences -
Angkor Wat -
Mongol Conquest -
Islamic Malacca -
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Srivijaya - was a powerful empire centered on the island of Sumatra in modern day Indonesia. The earliest know reports of this kingdom are Chinese records from the 7th century A.D. It became an important point for the spreading of Buddhism, a major player in the maritime trade of the Indian Ocean and diplomatic partners with the Arab and Chinese kingdoms. The empire continued to exist until the mid 1300's when it collapsed under increasing violent rebellions and pressure from the neighboring Java empire.
Islamic Malacca - refers to the Malacca Sultanate which was founded by a relative of the royal family of Srivijaya around the year 1400. It controlled the southern tip of Thailand and the northern part of the island of Sumatra, becoming a major trade hub for all the island in the archepeligo. Although the people of his kingdom started out as Hindu and Buddhist, their leader later adopted Islam after famed Chinese admiral Zheng He helped save the kingdom from attacks by its enemies, but there is still much debate about whether this story is true. The sultinate was evenutally taken over by the Portugese in the 16th century and was passed between European powers as a colony from that point on.
Certainly, considering geography, the nature of countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and the way that they are all peninsulas or islands has massive ramifications, even today, in terms of the politics of this area of the globe and the interactions between different societies. The impact that certain cultures have had on others is readily visible, especially when we consider the way that Islam has swept through this region, making Indonesia the most populous Muslim nation in the world.
Angkor Wat is one of the most famous temples in Southeast Asia and the largest religious building in the world. Located in Angkor, Cambodia, it is the most well known symbol of the country and the nation's top tourist attraction. Built in the 12th century, it has served as a site of worship for both Hindu and Buddhist religions. Situated three miles north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat mixes classical Khmer and Indian architecture. The temple was restored during the 20th century and managed to survive the Khmer Rouge takeover during the civil war that ravaged the country in the 1970s and 1980s. The magnificence of Angkor Wat was one of the main reasons that France sought to gain control of Cambodia, eventually regaining it from neighboring Siam in the mid-19th century.
Southeast Asia has two major geographic parts. One is the mainland region. It is everything south of China down the Malay Peninsula. The other is all the islands. This includes mostly Indonesia and the Philippines. The mainland has lots of mountain ranges running North to South with river valleys between them. The mountains are heavily forested and hard to pass through so the people of the various valleys were pretty well isolated from one another.
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