Southeast/Southeastern Asia is a region of the Asian continent that consists of countries located east of India, south of China, north of Australia, west of New Guinea, and south of China. 11 countries make up Southeast Asia.The region is bordered by East Asia to the north, Bay of Bengal and South Asia to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Indian Ocean to the south. A large part of Southeast Asia is located in the Northern Hemisphere but a smaller part lies within the Southern Hemisphere.
Southeast Asia consists of two regions. Mainland Southeast Asia is historically known as an Indochina and consists of Laos, Vietnam, West Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Maritime Southeast Asia is historically referred to as the Malay archipelago and East Indies consist of Indonesia, East Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, East Timor, Christmas Island, Cocos Island, and in some instances Taiwan.
Geography Of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is located close to the intersection of tectonic plates that experience frequent volcanic and seismic activities. A large part of the region lies on the Sunda Plate except for Northern Vietnam, Northern Thailand, Myanmar, and the Northern Luzon region of the Philippines. The mountainous region of Thailand, Myanmar, and Peninsular Malaysia are located on the Alpide belt, while several islands of the Philippines make up part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Both seismic zones converge in Indonesia making the country susceptible to volcanic eruption and earthquakes. Mount Hkakabo Razi in Burma is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia with a height of 19,295ft. The South China Sea and the islands on it is a major source of conflict among the countries of Southeast Asia and China.
Demographics Of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia covers an area of about 1.7 million square miles and is home to about 645 million people. The most populated country in the region is Indonesia with 261 million people. The Island of Java is inhabited by 143 million making it the most densely populated expansive island in the world. The Javanese People (100 million) of the island of Java make up the largest ethnic groups in the region followed by the Vietnamese (86 million). About 60 million Thais are in Southeastern Asia, most of them in Thailand.
Islam is the dominant religion of southeast Asia, with about 240 million adherents, the majority of them in Indonesia and Malaysia. Buddhism is mainly practiced in Singapore, Vietnam,Laos, Thailand, and Burma. A majority of Christians are found in the Philippines, East Timor, Eastern Indonesia, and East Malaysia.
Economy Of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is a critical part of the global trading system because it is a crucial producer and consumer of goods. Historically, the region was an important source of spices such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Today, the economy of the region has diversified to include petroleum and petroleum products, electronics, agricultural products, timber, and natural gas. Indonesia is the largest economy in the region with a GDP of slightly more than a trillion dollars.