The Malay Archipelago is the archipelago between mainland Indochina and Australia. It has also called the Malay World, Indo-Australian Archipelago, East Indies, Nusantara, Spices Archipelago. The name was taken from the 19th-century European concept of a Malay race, situated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the group of over 25,000 islands is the largest archipelago by area, and fourth by number of islands in the world. It includes Brunei, Singapore, East Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the island of New Guinea is usually excluded from definitions of the Malay Archipelago, although the Indonesian western portion of the island may be included. The term is synonymous with maritime Southeast Asia. The term was derived from the European concept of a Malay race, which referred to the people who inhabited what is now Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor. The racial concept was proposed by European explorers based on their observations of the influence of the ethnic Malay empire, Srivijaya, the 19th-century naturalist Alfred Wallace used the term Malay Archipelago as the title of his influential book documenting his studies in the region. Wallace also referred to the area as the Indian Archipelago and the Indo-Australian Archipelago and he included within the region the Solomon Islands and the Malay Peninsula due to physiographic similarities. The archipelago was called the East Indies from the late 16th century and it is still sometimes referred to as such, but broader usages of the East Indies term had included Indochina and the Indian subcontinent. The area is called Nusantara in the Indonesian and Malaysian languages, the area is also referred to as the Indonesian archipelago. The term maritime Southeast Asia is largely synonymous, covering both the islands in Southeast Asia and nearby communities, such as those found on the Malay Peninsula. The land and sea area of the archipelago exceeds 2 million km2, the more than 25,000 islands of the archipelago comprise many smaller archipelagoes. Geologically the archipelago is one of the most active regions in the world. Tectonic uplifts have produced large mountains, including the highest in Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with a height of 4,095.2 m and Puncak Jaya on Papua, Indonesia at 4,884 m. Other high mountains in the archipelago include Puncak Mandala, Indonesia at 4,760 m and Puncak Trikora, Indonesia, the climate throughout the archipelago is tropical, owing to its position on the equator. Wallace used the term Malay Archipelago as the title of his influential book documenting his studies in the region and he proposed what would come to be known as the Wallace Line, a boundary that separated the flora and fauna of Asia and Australia. The ice age boundary was formed by the deep water straits between Borneo and Sulawesi, and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok and this is now considered the western border of the Wallacea transition zone between the zoogeographical regions of Asia and Australia. The zone has a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin, over 380 million people live in the region, with the most populated islands being Java, Luzon, Sumatra, Taiwan, Mindanao and Sri Lanka
World map highlighting Malay Archipelago. New Guinea—not part of the Malay Archipelago by some definitions—is also included.
One of the majority of uninhabited islands of the Philippines.
Wallace's line between Australian and Southeast Asian fauna. The deep water of the Lombok Strait between the islands of Bali and Lombok formed a water barrier even when lower sea levels linked the now-separated islands and landmasses on either side.