Maritime Southeast Asia

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 refers to the maritime region of Southeast Asia as opposed to mainland Southeast Asia, comprising Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, the Philippines, and Singapore.[1] Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as "island Southeast Asia" or "insular Southeast Asia". The 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. Maritime Southeast Asia makes up the oldest bloc within Austronesia, with the Philippine archipelago representing the urheimat of all Malayo-Polynesians (non-Formosan Austronesians).

Cultural identity

The cultural identity of the region is seen as both part of "Farther India" or 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]

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


Over 540 million people live in the region, 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. The main religions in this region are Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and traditional Animism.

See also


  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.

External links

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