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Mainland Southeast Asia

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Title: Mainland Southeast Asia  
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Subject: Southeast Asia, Mon language, City-state, Ethnic Malays, Malay Archipelago, Subregion, Maritime Southeast Asia, Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, Geography of Asia, Chrysopelea
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Mainland Southeast Asia

Further information: French Indochina
Peninsulas of Asia
Countries Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Indochina: Dark green: always included, Light green: usually included, Red: sometimes included.
Indochinese Region (biology): Dark and Light green.
topographical map of Indochina

Indochina or Indo-China is a peninsula in Southeast Asia[1] lying roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French Indochine as a combination of the names of "India" and "China", referring to the location of the territory between those two countries, though the majority of people in the region are neither Chinese nor Indian. The term may also be used in biogeography for the "Indochinese Region", a major biogeographical region within the Indomalaya ecozone.

The countries of mainland Southeast Asia received cultural influence from both India and China to varying degrees.[1] Some cultures, such as those of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are influenced mainly by India with a smaller influence from China. Others, such as Vietnam, are more heavily influenced by Chinese culture with only minor cultural influences from India, largely via the Champa civilization that Vietnam conquered during its southward expansion.

The historical term French Indochina was a federation of French colonies and protectorates, that France named Cochinchina, Tonkin, Annam, Laos and Cambodia. France had an imperial presence in the region between 1884 and 1954. France withdrew from southeast Asia following the loss of the Indochina War.

Indochina had boundaries imposed by France as a result of military conquests in the region, encompassing areas that are now modern Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The subjects of the colony were not homogenous; rather, Indochina was a "separate entity, it was largely unrelated to the cultural, geographical, and racial elements which shaped the people and governments of its constituent parts".[2]


The former historical territories of French Indochina comprise the following:

The broader geographic and cultural region otherwise known as Mainland Southeast Asia further includes:


Although the name "Indochina" is today a political anachronism, it is still sometimes used to refer to the "Indochinese Region" to mean a major biogeographical region in the Indomalaya ecozone, and also a phytogeographical floristic region in the Paleotropical Kingdom. It includes the native flora and fauna of all the countries above. The adjacent Malesian Region covers the Maritime Southeast Asian countries, and straddles the Indomalaya and Australasian ecozones.

See also

Asia portal
Search  Commons
  Commons has media related to:


  • History of the mountain people of southern Indochina up to 1945 (Bernard Bourotte, i.e. Jacques Méry, U.S. Agency for International Development, 195?

External links

  • (English) (French) The Colonization of Indochina from 1892
  • (Romanian) Romanian travel site for Indochina

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