Southeast Asia

               Pagan Kingdom, Khmer Empire, Trading Kingdoms, and Vietnam

Pagan Kingdom

(840 - 1200)

Around the year 840 a group of people called the Burmans made the Pagan Kingdom. The fist ruler was king Anawrahta who expanded the boarders by conquering the neighboring countries which allowed more trade routs. They also started Buddhist temples around their kingdom and later Pagan became the center of Buddhist learning. In 1200 the Pagans attacked the Mongols because the Mongols wanted the Pagans to pay them. The Mongols defeated the Pagan army and the Pagans lost power.

Khmer Empire

(800 - 1220)

In the 800's the Khmer started to conquer neighboring countries making a empire which became the Khmer Empire. The Khmer Empire controlled much of Southeast Asian mainland and was influenced by Indian societies. The adopted the religions of Hindu and Buddhism and their capital city of Angkor was shaped like the Hindu universe. Because they were successful at rice farming they had money for many building projects like, temples like the Angkor Wat, observatories, and they had many irrigation systems. Because of these building projects more money was being spent and invaders started to attack so in 1220 the empire started to decline.

Trading Kingdoms

(600 - 1200)

In islands south of Asia many trading kingdoms came up but the most important one is a Buddhist kingdom called the Sailendra kingdom. This kingdom relied on agriculture and trade but they also had very good Buddhist architecture and art. The Buddhist monument at Borobudur was their most famous piece of artwork.

Also the Srivijaya empire rose up. This empire was very wealthy because they had control over the trade in the Malacca and Sunda straights and the rulers made sure that trade continued to pass in their empire. They later adopted Buddhism and Hinduism which they blended into their culture and their capital at Palembang became a center of Buddhism learning in the empire. In 1025 an Indian country attacked and weakened the empire and other kingdoms were gaining power so the kingdoms took control of the trade which lead to the fall of the Srivijaya empire.


In 111 BC China conquered the kingdom of Nam Viet which is now Vietnam. The Chinese forced them to learn the Chinese language and wear the Chinese clothes. Also the Vietnamese adopted Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. In 39 AD two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, made an army and drove the Chinese out, but then the Chinese soon later gained control again. When the Tang dynasty fell the Vietnamese drove the Chinese out again. The Chinese and the Mongols tried to take control of Vietnam but the Vietnamese stopped them and they stayed independent.