Maritime Southeast Asia

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One of the majority of uninhabited islands of the Philippines. Maritime Southeast Asia is a non-landlocked region, made up of the world's two largest archipelagos situated between the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and the Western Pacific.

Maritime Southeast Asia is the maritime region of Southeast Asia as opposed to mainland Southeast Asia and comprises what is now Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Timor Leste.[1] Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as "island Southeast Asia" or "insular Southeast Asia". The 16th century term East Indies, and the later 19th-century term Malay Archipelago refers to a largely similar area.

This main demographic difference that sets Maritime Southeast Asia apart from Indochina is that its population predominantly belongs to the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian) groups, although through trade with neighbouring groups from the Asian mainland like the Tai-Kadai, Austroasiatic, or Chinese, as well as other Oceanic groups like Papuans and Negritos there has been significant intermixing and cultural exchange.

The prevailing cultures of this region are maritime-based, tribal, and predominantly non-sinicized (except for Singapore, and, to a significant albeit lesser extent, Malaysia). Kingdoms based on Java and Sumatra such as Srivijaya and Majapahit spread similar cultural motifs throughout the subregions 5 countries (gong ensembles such as gamelan and kulintang). Maritime Southeast Asia makes up the oldest bloc within Austronesia, with the Philippine archipelago representing the urheimat of all Malayo-Polynesians (non-Formosan Austronesians).

Culture and demographics[edit]

Over 540 million people live in the region[when?], with the most populated island being Java. The people living there are predominantly from Austronesian subgroupings and correspondingly speak western Malayo-Polynesian languages. This region of Southeast Asia shares social and cultural ties with the peoples of mainland Southeast Asia and with other Austronesian peoples in the Pacific. Islam is the predominant religion, with Christianity being the dominant religion in the Philippines and Timor Leste. Buddhism, Hinduism, and traditional Animism are also practiced among large populations.

Historically, the region has been referred to as part of Greater India, as seen in Coedes' Indianized States of Southeast Asia, which refers to it as "Island Southeast Asia";[2] and within Austronesia or Oceania, due to shared ethnolinguistic and historical origins of the latter groups (Micronesian and Polynesian groups) being from this region.[3]

History[edit]

Historians have emphasized the maritime connectivity of the Southeast Asian region whereby it can be analyzed as a single cultural and economic unit, as has been done with the Mediterranean basin.[4] This region stretches from the Yangtze delta in China down to the Malay Peninsula, including the South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand and Java Sea. It is argued that many of the peoples connected in this trade network had more in common with one another than their inland neighbors, thus the utility of analyzing it as a single cultural and economic unit.[5] However, this maritime Southeast Asian region differed from the Mediterranean in that, historically, there was a single dominant political and economic power driving trade and exchange, China.[6]

Age of Commerce[edit]

Historian Anthony Reid argues that this Southeast Asian region entered an ‘age of commerce’ between the early 1400’s and the 1600’s.[7] This age of commerce sparked the multicultural and transnational dynamics which forged the region into a single maritime unit. Demand for Southeast Asian products and trade was partially driven by the increase in China’s population in this era, whereby it doubled from 75 to 150 million.[8] The naval expeditions of Zheng He between 1405 and 1431 also played a critical role in opening up the Southeast Asian region to increased trade.[7]

China’s role in Southeast Asian maritime trade can also be seen in the growing Hokkien diaspora which emigrated to various cities in the region throughout this period. Despite not having the official sanction of the Chinese government these communities formed business and trade networks between cities such as Melaka, Hội An and Ayutthaya.[9][10]

Sino-Southeast Asian trade had been going on since at least the 9th century, but their prominence in Southeast Asian port cities greatly expanded in this era.[11] Many of these Chinese businesspeople integrated into their new countries, becoming political officials and diplomats.[12]

Location map of oceans, seas, major gulfs and straits in Southeast Asia
Andaman Sea
Andaman Sea
Arafura Sea
Arafura Sea
Bali Sea
Bali Sea
Banda Sea
Banda Sea
Ceram Sea
Ceram Sea
Flores Sea
Flores Sea
Java Sea
Java Sea
Molucca Sea
Molucca Sea
Savu Sea
Savu Sea
South China Sea
South China Sea
Timor Sea
Timor Sea
Bohol Sea
Bohol Sea
Camotes Sea
Camotes Sea
Philippine Sea (Pacific Ocean)
Philippine Sea (Pacific Ocean)
Samar Sea
Samar Sea
Sibuyan Sea
Sibuyan Sea
Sulu Sea
Sulu Sea
Visayan Sea
Visayan Sea
Celebes Sea
Celebes Sea
Bismarck Sea
Bismarck Sea
Coral Sea
Coral Sea
East China Sea
East China Sea
Solomon Sea
Solomon Sea
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca
Makassar Strait
Makassar Strait
Gulf of Carpentaria
Gulf of Carpentaria
Karimata Strait
Karimata Strait
Luzon Strait
Luzon Strait
Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait
Gulf of Tomini
Gulf of Tomini
Sunda Strait
Sunda Strait
Moro Gulf
Moro Gulf
Oceans and Seas in Southeast Asia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tarling, Nicholas (1999). The Cambridge history of Southeast Asia, Volume 1, Part 1 (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 304. ISBN 0-521-66369-5. ; RAND Corporation. (PDF); Shaffer, Lynda (1996). Maritime Southeast Asia to 1500. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 1-56324-144-7. ; Ciorciar, John David (2010). The Limits of Alignment: Southeast Asia and the Great Powers Since 197. Georgetown Univeffrsity Press. p. 135. 
  2. ^ Coedes, G. (1968) The Indianized States of Southeast Asia Edited by Walter F. Vella. Translated by Susan Brown Cowing. Canberra: Australian National University Press. Introduction... The geographic area here called Farther India consists of Indonesia, or island Southeast Asia....
  3. ^ See the cultural macroregions of the world table below.
  4. ^ Sutherland, Heather (2003). "Southeast Asian History and the Mediterranean Analogy". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 34 (1): 1–20. 
  5. ^ Brides of the sea : port cities of Asia from the 16th-20th centuries. Broeze, Frank. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 1989. ISBN 0824812662. OCLC 19554419. 
  6. ^ The East Asian Mediterranean : maritime crossroads of culture, commerce and human migration. Schottenhammer, Angela. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. 2008. ISBN 9783447058094. OCLC 276334543. 
  7. ^ a b 1939-, Reid, Anthony, (1988–1993). Southeast Asia in the age of commerce, 1450-1680. Rogers D. Spotswood Collection. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300039212. OCLC 16646158. 
  8. ^ 1945-, Lieberman, Victor B., (2003–2009). Strange parallels : Southeast Asia in global context, c 800-1830. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521800862. OCLC 49820972. 
  9. ^ YOKKAICHI, Yasuhiro. "Chinese and Muslim Diasporas and Indian Ocean Trade under the Mongol Hegemony". Angela Schottenhammer[ed.] The East Asian Mediterranean : Maritime Crossroads of Culture, Commerce, and Human Migration. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. 
  10. ^ Lockard, Craig A. (2010-08-01). ""The Sea Common to All": Maritime Frontiers, Port Cities, and Chinese Traders in the Southeast Asian Age of Commerce, ca. 1400–1750". Journal of World History. 21 (2): 219–247. doi:10.1353/jwh.0.0127. ISSN 1527-8050. 
  11. ^ Sen, Tansen (2006). "The Formation of Chinese Maritime Networks to Southern Asia, 1200-1450". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 49 (4): 421–453. 
  12. ^ Sojourners and settlers : histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese. Reid, Anthony, 1939-, Alilunas-Rodgers, Kristine. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. 2001. ISBN 0824824466. OCLC 45791365. 

External links[edit]