Southeast Asia

Pagan Kingdom

The Pagan Kingdom (849-1287) is considered to be the first Burmese empire. During the time of the Pyu kingdom, between about 500 and 950, the Bamar, people of the Burmese ethnic group, began infiltrating from the area to the north into the central region of Burma which was occupied by Pyu people that had come under the influence of Mahayana Buddhism from Bihar and Bengal. By 849, the city of Pagan had emerged as the capital of a powerful kingdom that would unify Burma and filled the void left by the Pyu. The kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta, who successfully unified all of Myanmar by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057, inaugurating the Burmese domination of the country that has continued to the present day.

Khmer Empire

The Khmer empire was a powerful state in South East Asia, formed by people of the same name, lasting from 802 CE to 1431 CE. At its peak, the empire covered much of what today is Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and southern Vietnam.

By the 7th century CE, Khmer people inhabited territories along the Mekong river -the world’s seventh longest river - from the delta to roughly the modern Cambodia-Laos border, plus the region between that river and the great Tonle Sap lake to the west and the area running along the Tonle Sap river (which runs from the lake to the sea, joining the Mekong in the delta). There were several kingdoms at constant waragainst each other, with art and culture heavily influenced by India due to long established sea trade routes with that subcontinent.

Trading Kingdoms

The African Trading Kingdoms consist of three main cultures, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, all located in West Africa. All three kingdoms maintained vast trading networks across the Sahara desert and into the Middle East and North Africa. The main export was gold, which made each kingdom wealthy and strong, and provided them with the conditions necessary for cultural and intellectual achievement


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