Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia (orthographic projection).svg
Area4,545,792 km2 (1,755,140 sq mi)
Population655,298,044 (3rd)[1][2]
Population density135.6/km2 (351/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)$2.557 trillion (exchange rate)[3]
GDP (PPP)$7.6 trillion[4]
GDP per capita$4,018 (exchange rate)[3]
HDI0.684
Ethnic groupsAustroasiatic, Austronesian, Melanesian, Negrito, Papuan, Sino-Tibetan and Tai peoples
ReligionsAnimism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Tai folk, Taoism and Vietnamese folk
DemonymSoutheast Asian
Countries
Languages
Time zones
Internet TLD.bn, .id, .kh, .la, .mm, .my, .ph, .sg, .th, .tl, .vn
Calling codeZone 6 & 8
Largest cities
UN M49 code035 – South-eastern Asia
142Asia
001World

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of China, east of India and Bangladesh, north of Australia, and west of New Guinea.[5] The region is the only part of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere, although the majority of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

  1. Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
  2. Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as Nusantara, the East Indies, or the Malay Archipelago, comprising the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia (except Western New Guinea, which is considered part of the Australian continent), East Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.[6]

The region lies near the intersection of geological plates, with both heavy seismic and volcanic activities. The Sunda Plate is the main plate of the region, featuring almost all Southeast Asian countries except Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Laos, 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, causing the region to have relatively high occurrences of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.[7]

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 655 million, about 8.5% of the world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in the world after South Asia and East Asia.[8] The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups.[9] Ten countries in the region are members of ASEAN, a regional organization established for economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members.[10]

Definitions

The region, together with part of South Asia, was well known by 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 was referred to as Indochina by European geographers due to its location between China and the Indian subcontinent and its having cultural influences from both neighboring regions. In the 20th century, however, the term became more restricted to territories of the former French Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The maritime section of Southeast Asia is also known as the Malay Archipelago, a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race.[11] Another term for Maritime Southeast Asia is Insulindia (Indian Islands), used to describe the region between Indochina and Australasia.[12]

The term "Southeast Asia" was first used in 1839 by American pastor Howard Malcolm in his book Travels in South-Eastern Asia. Malcolm only included the Mainland section and excluded the Maritime section in his definition of Southeast Asia.[13] The term was officially used in the midst of World War II by the Allies, through the formation of South East Asia Command (SEAC) in 1943.[14] SEAC popularised the use of the term "Southeast Asia," although what constituted Southeast Asia was not fixed; for example, SEAC excluded the Philippines and a large part of Indonesia while including Ceylon. However, by the late 1970s, a roughly standard usage of the term "Southeast Asia" and the territories it encompasses had emerged.[15] Although from a cultural or linguistic perspective the definitions of "Southeast Asia" may vary, the most common definitions nowadays include the area represented by the countries (sovereign states and dependent territories) listed below.

Ten of the 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

Sovereign states

State Area
(km2)
Population
(2018)[1][2]
Density
(/km2)
GDP (nominal),
USD (2019)[3]
GDP (PPP)
per capita,
Int$ (2019)[3]
HDI (2018 report) Capital
 Brunei 5,765[16] 428,963 74 14,310,000,000 $86,480 0.853 Bandar Seri Begawan
 Cambodia 181,035[17] 16,249,792 90 24,733,000,000 $4,322 0.582 Phnom Penh
 East Timor (Timor-Leste) 14,874[18] 1,267,974 85 2,962,000,000 $6,077 0.625 Dili
 Indonesia 1,904,569[19] 267,670,543 141 1,177,568,000,000 $13,969 0.694 Jakarta
 Laos 236,800[20] 7,061,507 30 17,216,000,000 $8,571 0.600 Vientiane
 Malaysia 329,847[21] 31,528,033 96 422,591,000,000 $32,502 0.802 Kuala Lumpur *
 Myanmar 676,578[22] 53,708,320 79 92,775,000,000 $7,387 0.578 Nay Pyi Taw
 Philippines 300,000[23] 106,651,394 356 435,905,000,000 $9,538 0.699 Manila
 Singapore 719.2[24] 5,757,499 8,005 334,713,000,000 $102,027 0.932 Singapore
 Thailand 513,120[25] 69,428,453 135 436,467,000,000 $20,268 0.755 Bangkok
 Vietnam 331,210[26] 95,545,962 288 254,324,000,000 $8,060 0.694 Hanoi

Administrative subdivisions

UNSD statistical divisions for Asia based on convenience rather than implying any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories:[27]
  Southeast Asia
Territory Area (km2) Population Density (/km2) GDP,
USD (2018)
GDP
per capita,
USD (2018)
HDI (2014) Capital
India Andaman and Nicobar Islands 8,251 380,600[28] 46 0.778 Port Blair
China Hainan 33,920 9,257,600[29] 201.1 73,025,000,000 $7,888.1 0.738 Haikou

Dependent territories

* Administrative centre in Putrajaya.

Territory Area (km2) Population Density (/km2) Capital
 Christmas Island 135[30] 1,402[30] 10.4 Flying Fish Cove
 Cocos (Keeling) Islands 14[31] 596[31] 42.6 West Island (Pulau Panjang)
Political map of Southeast Asia.

Geographical divisions

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 are sometimes considered both South Asian and Southeast Asian.[32] Sri Lanka has on some occasions been considered a part of Southeast Asia because of its cultural ties to mainland Southeast Asia.[15][33] 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, specifically, the Philippines.[34]

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
Sunda Strait
Moro Gulf
Moro Gulf
Oceans and Seas in Southeast Asia