Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia (orthographic projection).svg
Area 4,493,944 km2 (1,735,121 sq mi)
Population 641,775,797 (3rd)[1]
Population density 135.6/km2 (351/sq mi)
GDP (nominal) $2.557 trillion (exchange rate)[2]
GDP (PPP) $7.6 trillion[3]
GDP per capita $4,018 (exchange rate)[2]
HDI 0.684
Demonym Southeast Asian
Countries
Dependencies
Largest cities

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia.[4] Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and Indian Ocean. The region is the only part of Asia that lies within the Southern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

  1. Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and West Malaysia.
  2. Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, comprising Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The region lies near the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic and volcanic activities. The Sunda Plate is the main plate of the region, features almost all Southeast Asian countries except Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Vietnam, and northern Luzon of the Philippines. The mountain ranges in Myanmar, Thailand, and peninsular Malaysia are part of the Alpide belt, while the islands of the Philippines are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Both seismic belts meet in Indonesia, making the region has relatively high occurrences of earthquake and volcanic eruption.[5]

Southeast Asia covers about 4.5 million km2 (1.7 million mi2), which is 10.5% of Asia or 3% of earth's total land area. Its total population is more than 641 million, about 8.5% of world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in the world after South Asia and East Asia. The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups.[6] Ten countries in the region are members of ASEAN, a regional organisation established for economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members.[7]

Definitions[edit]

The region, together with part of South Asia, was well known by the Europeans as the East Indies or simply the Indies until the 20th century. Chinese sources referred the region as 南洋 (Nanyang), which literally means the Southern Ocean. The mainland section of Southeast Asia is referred as Indochina by European geographer due to its location between China and Indian subcontinent and cultural influences from both neighboring regions. In the 20th century however, the term became more restricted to former French Indochina territory (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The maritime section of Southeast Asia is also known as Malay Archipelago, a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race.[8] Another term for Maritime Southeast Asia is Insulindia (Indian Islands), used to describe the region between Indochina and Australasia.[9]

The term "Southeast Asia" was first used in 1839 by an American pastor Howard Malcolm in his book entitled Travels in South-Eastern Asia. Malcolm only included the Mainland section and excluded the Maritime section in his definition of Southeast Asia.[10] The term then officially used in the midst of World War II by the Allies, through the formation of South East Asia Command in 1943.[11] From cultural and linguistic perspectives, definitions of "Southeast Asia" may vary, but the most common definitions include the area represented by the countries (sovereign states and dependent territories) listed below.

Ten of eleven states of Southeast Asia are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while East Timor is an observer state. Papua New Guinea has stated that it might join ASEAN, and is currently an observer. Sovereignty issues exist over some territories in the South China Sea.

Political divisions[edit]

Sovereign states[edit]

State Area
(km2)[2]
Population
(2016)[1]
Density
(/km2)
GDP (nominal),
USD (2016)[2]
GDP (PPP)
per capita,
Int$ (2016)[2]
HDI (2016)[12]:22–24 Capital
 Brunei Darussalam 5,765 423,196 78 10,458,000,000 $76,884 0.865 Bandar Seri Begawan
 Cambodia 181,035 15,762,370 85 19,368,000,000 $3,737 0.563 Phnom Penh
 East Timor 14,874 1,268,671 75 2,501,000,000 $4,187 0.605 Dili
 Indonesia 1,904,569 261,115,456 132 940,953,000,000 $11,720 0.689 Jakarta
 Laos 236,800 6,758,353 30 13,761,000,000 $5,710 0.586 Vientiane
 Malaysia 329,847 31,187,265 91 302,748,000,000 $27,267 0.789 Kuala Lumpur *
 Myanmar 676,000 52,885,223 98 68,277,000,000 $5,832 0.556 Nay Pyi Daw
 Philippines 300,000 103,320,222 338 311,687,000,000 $7,728 0.682 Manila
 Singapore 724 5,622,455 7,671 296,642,000,000 $90,151 0.925 Singapore (city-state)
 Thailand 513,120 68,863,514 127 390,592,000,000 $16,888 0.740 Bangkok
 Vietnam 331,210 94,569,072 279 200,493,000,000 $6,429 0.683 Hanoi

* Administrative centre in Putrajaya.

Dependent territories[edit]

UNSD statistical division for Asia based on statistic convenience rather than implying any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories:[13]
  Southeast Asia
Territory Area (km2) Population Density (/km2) Capital
 Christmas Island 135[14] 1,402[14] 10.4 Flying Fish Cove
 Cocos (Keeling) Islands 14[15] 596[15] 42.6 West Island (Pulau Panjang)

Administrative subdivisions[edit]

Territory Area (km2) Population Density (/km2) Capital
India Andaman and Nicobar Islands 8,251 379,944[16] 46 Port Blair

Geographical divisions[edit]

Southeast Asia is geographically divided into two subregions, namely Mainland Southeast Asia (or Indochina) and Maritime Southeast Asia (or the similarly defined Malay Archipelago) (Javanese: Nusantara).

Mainland Southeast Asia includes:

Maritime Southeast Asia includes:

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India are geographically considered part of Maritime Southeast Asia. Eastern Bangladesh and Northeast India have strong cultural ties with Southeast Asia and sometimes considered both South Asian and Southeast Asian.[17] Sri Lanka has on some occasions been considered a part of Southeast Asia because of its cultural ties to mainland Southeast Asia.[18][19] The rest of the island of New Guinea which is not part of Indonesia, namely, Papua New Guinea, is sometimes included, and so are Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, which were all part of the Spanish East Indies with strong cultural and linguistic ties to the region.[20]

The eastern half of Indonesia and East Timor (east of the Wallace Line) are considered to be biogeographically part of Oceania (Wallacea) due to its distinctive faunal features. New Guinea and its surrounding islands are geologically considered as a part of Australian continent, connected via the Sahul Shelf.

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