42 Facts About Southeast Asia


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, northwest of Oceania, and east of the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Islands.

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

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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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Mainland Southeast Asia is in the Northern Hemisphere, whilst East Timor and the southern portion of Indonesia lie south of the Equator.

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

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Eastern Bangladesh and Northeast India have strong cultural ties with Mainland Southeast Asia and are sometimes considered transregional areas between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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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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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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These early people diversified and travelled slowly northwards to China, and the populations of Southeast Asia show greater genetic diversity than the younger population of China.

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In present-day mainland Southeast Asia, Theravada is still the dominant branch of Buddhism, practiced by the Thai, Burmese, and Cambodian Buddhists.

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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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In present-day Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the only country where its folk religion makes up the plurality.

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Elsewhere, there are ethnic groups in Southeast Asia that resisted conversion and still retain their original animist beliefs, such as the Dayaks in Kalimantan, the Igorots in Luzon, and the Shans in eastern Myanmar.

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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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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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Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia and is the largest archipelago in the world by size.

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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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Geographically, Southeast Asia is bounded to the southeast by the Australian continent, the boundary between these two regions is most often considered to run through Wallacea.

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These islands are not biogeographically, geologically or historically linked to mainland Southeast Asia, and are considered part of Oceania by the United Nations, The World Factbook and other organizations.

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Maritime Southeast Asia was often grouped with Australia and Oceania in the mid to late 1800s, rather than with mainland Asia.

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

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The majority of Southeast Asia has a wet and dry season caused by seasonal shifts in winds or monsoon.

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

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

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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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Stock markets in Southeast Asia have performed better than other bourses in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010, with the Philippines' PSE leading the way with 22 percent growth, followed by Thailand's SET with 21 percent and Indonesia's JKSE with 19 percent.

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Southeast Asia has an area of approximately 4, 500, 000 square kilometres.

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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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In October 2019, the number of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant in Southeast Asia, reached 156 million, of which 97 million came from the Philippines, 29 million came from Indonesia, 11 million came from Vietnam, and the rest came from Malaysia, Myanmar, East Timor, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.

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Christians can be found throughout Southeast Asia; they are in the majority in East Timor and the Philippines, Asia's largest Christian nation.

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

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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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