Southeast Asia and Korea contained prosperous kingdoms during the first century of A.D. Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunel, and the Philippines are all modern countries located in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia lies toward the South of China. Toward the northeastern area of China is known as the Korean peninsula. The two parts of the peninsula are North Korea and South Korea.
Southeast Asia lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans. It was divided into 2 main parts, the mainland and the islands. Since all of South Asia lies in the tropics, regular monsoon winds bring steady rainfall.
There are 5 main rivers in the mainland. Between these rivers are hills and mountains, which make communication difficult. One who was able to control the trade routes and harbors often became very powerful. The lords used these routes to their advantage by charging merchants very high fees to use the ports, waterways, or to be protected from pirates.
Influence of India on China Around 100 CE, the first Indian boats began arriving in Southeast Asia via the monsoon winds. These Hindu and Buddhist missionaries spread their religion across the Southeast Asia and their influence had a great effect on its culture. The people of Southeast Asia adopted many Hindu practices such as Sanskrit, and poem-writing in the language of the Hindus. Chinese religion spread through migration and trade. A.E.
The Khmer Empire (now modern Cambodia) controlled the Southeast Asian mainland for centuries. The early Khmer kingdom Funan dominated sea trade between India and China. Around 800 CE the Khmer began to steadily expand until it reached its peak in 1200 CE. Khmer’s elaborate irrigation systems helped it grow much more rice, which in turn helped it prosper. At the capital , many architectural marvels were built.
Island Trading Kingdoms The Sailendra dynasty ruled an agricultural kingdom on an island called Java. The Sailendra kings also left behind a very famous architectural monument, the Buddhist temple at Borodubur. Built around 800 CE, this temple reflects a strong Indian influence. The Saliendra Dynasty fell to the island empire of Srivijaya. At its peak, from 700 to 1300 CE, the Sirvijaya prospered because it taxed all trading boats that traveled through its waters. Their capital, Palembang, was established on Sumatra. It became the center of Buddhist learning. A.E.
The Vietnamese were the least influenced by India in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is a long, narrow country located on the coastal region just south of China. The Vietnamese religion had been greatly influenced by China. The main religions of Vietnam are Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and ancestor worship. Rice, which was grown in irrigated paddies, is the most important crop. Unfortunately, Vietnam fell into the hands of Chinese domination. China took over northern Vietnam c. 100 A.D during the Han Dynasty. For the next 1,000 years, the Vietnamese would be under Chinese rule. During the decline of the Tang Dynasty in China, Vietnam seized the opportunity to break away. The Vietnamese absorbed many influences from China. By conquering neighboring lands, the rulers expanded Vietnam slowly. The Mongols wanted to conquer Vietnam and they tried to take over Hanoi three times but failed.
The first Korean state is said to be founded by the hero Tan' gun, whose father was a god and whose mother was a bear, according to legend. There is another legend in which it is said that the first state was founded from a descendant of royal blood of the Shang Dynasty. These two legends tell two sides of the development of the culture of Korea: one side interprets the Koreans as distinct people who developed their own native religions and the other interprets that the Chinese influences developed the culture in Korea since the early times. Just like the Japanese did, the Koreans also took the ideas and culture from China and fit it to maintain their lifestyles.
Korea is an country occupying the peninsula between China and Japan. The Koreans first called their country Choson, meaning “Land of Morning Calm.” The English word “Korea” is derived from Koryu, the name of the dynasty that ruled the peninsula between the 10 th and 14 th centuries. Korea is a mountainous land and only a small portion of the land can be farmed. The climate in Korea is hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Korea has a mountainous barrier between itself and its neighbor, Manchuria.
Different clans and tribes controlled different countries in early Korea. Korea was conquered in 108 B.C. by the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty also established a military government in Korea. Koreans learned things such as centralized government, Confucianism, Buddhism and writing from the Chinese. The many Korean tribes formed a federation during the Han Dynasty. These federations eventually formed into three rival kingdoms. One of these tribes called the Silla defeated the other kingdoms and chased out the Chinese during the mid-600s. The whole Korean peninsula was then under the control of the Silla.. The Koreans were also able to make a writing system to write their language phonetically while still using the Chinese alphabet.
From 935 to 1392, a new king came to power for the Koryu Dynasty. His name was Wang Kon. This was a Korean Dynasty. He had a central government with a civil service examination system and a university to train male scholars. Wealthy nobles had huge estates and passed down the major positions to their sons. The dynasty began receiving threats that demanded tributes to rulers. In 1392, the Koryu Dynasty was overthrown by military leaders. However, the dynasty still made great achievements for the Korean Culture. They produced pottery, poetry, carvings, and scriptures. They greatly influenced other dynasties to come.