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Southeast Asia. Professor Pacas. Southeast Asia in Antiquity. Southeast Asia as early as Middle Bronze Age (1500-1300 BCE) enjoyed considerable metallurgical advances (domestic production of bronze) as well as agriculturally wealthy in rice cultivation, fruits, and other crops.

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southeast asia

Southeast Asia

Professor Pacas

southeast asia in antiquity
Southeast Asia in Antiquity
  • Southeast Asia as early as Middle Bronze Age (1500-1300 BCE) enjoyed considerable metallurgical advances (domestic production of bronze) as well as agriculturally wealthy in rice cultivation, fruits, and other crops.
  • By the later centuries BCE of the Iron Age they were trading with China and India particularly in spices. They produced nutmeg, peppers, cloves, and other spices and traded these for Chinese spices particularly cinnamon from south China.
  • By early centuries CE of Roman Era they were engaging in trade with Madagascar and East Africa.
cont d
Cont’d
  • Advances in metal production allowed them to cultivate rice (in fact these communities could be the first to domesticate wild rice).
  • Rice cultivation in the mainland (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma) would transform the history of these regions as ability to produce excess allowed the rise of trade/merchant class that spearheaded massive exploration at first to the surrounding islands but later to distant places.
  • These people established communities as far away as Madagascar to Easter Island using sophisticated navigational skills.
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Cont’d
  • To Europeans and Indian merchants of the first centuries CE the region and islands of Southeast Asia were known as the “Golden Khersonese” the “Land of Gold” so lucrative was the trade in spices that the Southeast merchants controlled between China, India, and Africa.
  • During the early Middle Ages the Muslim Caliphate began to make inroads into exercising control over the lucrative trade in Southeast Asia.
  • Muslim traders supplying the much coveted Black African slaves for the Chinese Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty in exchange for silks, jade, and porcelains from China and spices and pearls from Southeast Asia.
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Cont’d
  • When the Spanish and Portuguese first came to these regions they were able to exploit an already lucrative trade network between Southeast Asia, India, and China.
  • The Iberians were soon displaced by the English and the Dutch who set up their joint stock companies.
  • The English established their British East India Co. 1599 CE/AD.
  • The Dutch established their VereenigdeOst-IndicheCompagnie (United East India Co.) VOC in 1602 CE/AD.
jan pieterszoon coen
Jan PieterszoonCoen
  • In 1619 CE/AD Jan PieterszoonCoen founded Batavia on the island of Java to serve as an entrepot for the VOC.
  • Batavia was strategically located near the Sunda Strait and its market attracted both Chinese and Malay vessels.
  • Coen’s plan was to establish a VOC monopoly over spice production and trade thus enabling Dutch merchants to reap enormous profits in European markets.
  • Coen brought his naval power to bear on the small Indonesian islands and forced them to deliver spice only to VOC merchants.
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Cont’d
  • On larger islands he successfully played rivals against each other and offered assistance to one in exchange for trade concessions.
  • By late 1600’s the VOC controlled the ports of Java as well as the most important spice bearing islands throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
  • This monopoly in the spice trade turned the Netherlands into one of the most wealthy territories of Western Europe.
europeans in asia
Europeans in Asia
  • The presence of Europeans in Asia would have massive consequences to the history of the region beginning in the later 16th century to the modern age.
  • At first Europeans were viewed as useful allies in wars over rivals…their advance technology in the field of guns and cannons was much sought out by Asian leaders.
  • By the late 18th century Asian monarchies were beginning to succumb to European interests and their independence was quickly eroding away as Europeans began to exercise more authority in the region.