28 Facts About Southeast Asia

1. Southeast Asia, spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and known as Southeastern Asia, south-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical south-eastern region of Asia, consisting of the regions that are situated south of Mainland China, east of the Indian subcontinent, and northwest of Australia.

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2. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean.

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3. Apart from the British Indian Ocean Territory and two out of 26 atolls of Maldives in South Asia, Maritime Southeast Asia is the only other subregion of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere.

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4. Southeast Asia was home to one of the few regions across Eurasia that did not get subsumed by the Mongol Empire.

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5. Region, together with part of South Southeast Asia, was well known by Europeans as the East Indies or simply the Indies until the 20th century.

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6. The mainland section of Southeast Asia was referred to as Indochina by European geographers due to its location between China and the Indian subcontinent and its having cultural influences from both neighboring regions.

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7. The maritime section of Southeast Asia is known as the Malay Archipelago, a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race.

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8. Term "Southeast Asia" was first used in 1839 by American pastor Howard Malcolm in his book Travels in South-Eastern Asia.

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9. Southeast Asia is geographically divided into two subregions, namely Mainland Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago.

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10. The pre-Neolithic South-Eurasian populations of Maritime Southeast Asia were largely replaced by the expansion of various East-Eurasian populations, beginning about 50,000BC to 25,000BC years ago from Mainland Southeast Asia.

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11. Southeast Asia was dominated by East Asian-related ancestry already in 15,000BC, predating the expansion of Austroasiatic and Austronesian peoples.

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12. Mahayana Buddhism established presence in Maritime Southeast Asia, brought by Chinese monks during their transit in the region en route to Nalanda.

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13. The expansion of trade among West Asia, India and Southeast Asia helped the spread of the religion as Muslim traders from Southern Yemen brought Islam to the region with their large volume of trade.

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14. Regular trade between the ships sailing east from the Indian Ocean and south from mainland Southeast Asia provided goods in return for natural products, such as honey and hornbill beaks from the islands of the archipelago.

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15. Socialist or communist countries in Southeast Asia include Vietnam, Laos.

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16. The highest mountain in Southeast Asia is Hkakabo Razi at 5,967 metres and can be found in northern Burma sharing the same range of its parent peak, Mount Everest.

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17. Climate in Southeast Asia is mainly tropical–hot and humid all year round with plentiful rainfall.

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18. Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the world.

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19. The animals of Southeast Asia are diverse; on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, the orangutan, the Asian elephant, the Malayan tapir, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Bornean clouded leopard can be found.

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20. In reaction, several countries in Southeast Asia signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution to combat haze pollution.

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21. The rest of Southeast Asia is still heavily dependent on agriculture, but Vietnam is notably making steady progress in developing its industrial sectors.

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22. The second-largest ethnic group in Southeast Asia is Vietnamese with around 86 million population, mainly inhabiting in Vietnam, thus forming a significant minority in neighboring Cambodia and Laos.

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23. Culture in Southeast Asia is very diverse: on mainland Southeast Asia, the culture is a mix of Burmese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Thai and Vietnamese (Chinese) cultures.

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24. Dance in much of Southeast Asia includes movement of the hands as well as the feet, to express the dance's emotion and meaning of the story that the ballerina is going to tell the audience.

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25. The arts and literature in some of Southeast Asia are quite influenced by Hinduism, which was brought to them centuries ago.

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26. The Tai, coming late into Southeast Asia, brought with them some Chinese artistic traditions, but they soon shed them in favour of the Khmer and Mon traditions, and the only indications of their earlier contact with Chinese arts were in the style of their temples, especially the tapering roof, and in their lacquerware.

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27. Traditional music in Southeast Asia is as varied as its many ethnic and cultural divisions.

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28. The alphabets of Southeast Asia tended to be abugidas, until the arrival of the Europeans, who used words that ended in consonants, not just vowels.

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