Southeast Asia

Pagan Kingdom, Khmer Empire, Trading Kingdoms, Vietnam

Pagan Kingdom (1044-1077)

The Pagan Kingdom was very involved in their culture and religion. The first and great king of the kingdom was Anawrahta. Anawrahta and all of his successors supported Theravada Buddhism. They built thousands of incredible Buddhist temples throughout the kingdom. Pagan then became a very well known center for learning Buddhism. The Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, traveled to Pagan and mentioned the amazement of Pagan.

This website it very useful because it does a great job describing how the Pagan kingdom was created. It also goes into the details to further describe the religion during the Pagan kingdom and tells about how it fell because of a Mongol invasion.

Khmer Empire (850-1220)

The Khmer empire was a very powerful empire and they conquered many kingdoms that were around them. The empire had a strong Indian influence that accepted both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. The empire's capital city was in the shape of the Hindu universe that had a temple in the middle Angkor Wat. It was the most famous temple and the ruins of the temple still stand. It is a temple of with a temple in the center and many walls protecting it.

Below is a link that is a virtual video that takes you through the temple and what it look like. It the beginning of the video it shows how the temple was built and then it continues to take you through the entire temple. Stop the video at 1:40 for just an overview of the temple; watch the entire video if you would like to see everything in the temple.

Trading Kingdoms

There were multiple trading kingdoms that developed on islands to the south of the mainland that were in Southeast Asia.

Sailendra (750-850)

Sailendra was developed on the island of Java. The people relied heavily on agriculture and trade for their life and jobs. The kingdom adopted the culture and religion of Mahayana Buddhism. The people in the kingdom were great at making Buddhist art and architecture. One of the most famous pieces of architecture is the Borobudur.

The Borobudur temple is very important because it is apart of the Buddhist religion. There are nine levels on the monument because it represents the nine stages in the spiritual journey for Buddhists.

Srivijaya Empire (600s-1200s)

The Srivijaya empire was a very wealthy empire that was on the island of Sumatra. The empire was able to expand tremendously. At their best time, they stretched from the Malay Peninsula and Borneo. They were able to expand their empire the most because of their trade. They could trade with lots of different lands because since they have great access to the sea, they had control of overseas from the Malacca and Sunda straits. Since trade was extremely vital to the Srivijaya empire, the rulers made sure that trade continued to go throughout their empire. The link below is a great resource because it tells about the origin of the empire and the daily life of the people that lived in the Srivijaya empire.

Vietnam (111-1110)

Vietnam dynasty was mainly influenced by China. In early Vietnam history, the Chinese ruled, because of this they had many aspects of Chinese civilization. They forced the Vietnamese to learn Chinese language and wear their clothing and hairstyles. The government for the Vietnamese had many features of the Chinese government, including it being a bureaucracy and a Confucian based system. Although there were lots of Chinese influences, the Vietnamese stayed true to their traditional customs. They worshiped nature spirits along with being Mahayana Buddhists as well. The people wanted to make sure that they preserved their culture and identity. To try and gain their own dependence, they often tried to overthrow the Chinese government. One rebellions that is very important was when the two sisters, Trung Tac and Trung Nhi, created an army and briefly pushed the Chinese out of Vietnam.

Although the sisters were able to overthrow the Chinese, it did not last very long. The Chinese later gained control which caused the Trung sisters to drown themselves. The two sisters still remain heroes for the Vietnamese today.

The yellow highlighted region is Vietnam.