Maritime Southeast Asia
Maritime Southeast Asia is the maritime region of Southeast Asia as opposed to mainland Southeast Asia and comprises what is now Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, and Timor Leste. 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. Maritime Southeast Asia makes up the oldest bloc within Austronesia, with the Philippine archipelago representing the urheimat of all Malayo-Polynesians (non-Formosan Austronesians).
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"; and within Austronesia or Oceania, due to shared ethnolinguistic and historical origins of the latter groups (Micronesian and Polynesian groups) being from this region.
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. The main religions in this region are Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and traditional Animism.
- 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.
- 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....
- See the cultural macroregions of the world table below.
- Art of Island Southeast Asia, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art