Southeast Asia

The Pagan Kingdom was established by the Burmans. Their first great king was Anawrahta, an he was responsible for uniting much of what is present day Myanmar under his rule.  They accepted Theravada Buddhism and placed it at the center of their culture. They built thousands of Buddhist temples and Pagan became a center for Buddhist learning.

In the Khmer Empire was strongly influenced by the Indians, leading to the adoption of both Buddhism and Hinduism. In the city of Angkor, they built spectacular temple complexes (the most famous being Angkor Wat, pictured above). The empire grew prosperous from rice farming, which advanced with the development of a great irrigation system.

There are two different kingdoms involved in the Trading Kingdoms. In Sailendra (located on the island of Java, pictured to the left) people relied on agriculture and trade to maintain their livelihood. They adopted Mahayana Buddhism and are known for their Buddhist art and architecture. Sriviajaya (on the island of Sumatra, pictured on the left) was wealthy due to their control of oversea traders. They blended ideas from Buddhism and Hinduism into their beliefs and their capital, Palembang, became a center for Buddhist learning.

Watch this short 4 minute video about the Sailendra Kingdom to learn more about its history.

While under the rule of the Chinese Han Dynasty, the people of Nam Viet (kingdom in northern Vietnam) absorbed many aspects of Chinese civilization (language, clothing, hair, Confucianism, Daoism) and embraced Mahayana Buddhism (created art and architecture), but also maintained many of their traditional customs (worshipping natural spirits, etc.).

The Trung sisters (Trung Trac and Trung Nhi) were the ones who really started the independence movement in Vietnam. If you click on the picture above, you will be taken to a website containing a short article about the Trung sisters. Read this article to find out about how they were so influential and about their rebellion.