East Indies

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"Indies" redirects here. East Indies_sentence_0

For other uses, see Indies (disambiguation). East Indies_sentence_1

For other uses, see East Indies (disambiguation). East Indies_sentence_2

Not to be confused with East India. East Indies_sentence_3

The East Indies, or the Indies, are an archaic term referring to the lands, as the name suggests, east of the Indian subcontinent, most particularly Maritime Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. East Indies_sentence_4

In a more strict sense, the Indies were used from a European perspective to refer to the islands of Southeast Asia, especially the Indonesian Archipelago and the Philippine Archipelago. East Indies_sentence_5

Overview East Indies_section_0

During the era of European colonization, territories of the Spanish Empire in Asia were known as the Spanish East Indies for 333 years before the American conquest and later the independence of the Philippines. East Indies_sentence_6

Dutch-occupied colonies in the area were known for about 300 years as the Dutch East Indies before Indonesian independence. East Indies_sentence_7

The East Indies may also include the former French Indochina, former British territories Brunei, Hong Kong and Singapore and former Portuguese Macau and Timor. East Indies_sentence_8

It does not, however, include the former Netherlands New Guinea, which is geographically considered to be part of Melanesia. East Indies_sentence_9

The inhabitants of the East Indies are never called East Indians, as they are not linguistically related to South Asia, most specifically the Indo-Aryan languages. East Indies_sentence_10

It distinguishes them both from inhabitants of the Caribbean (which is also called the West Indies) and from the indigenous peoples of the Americas who are often called American Indians. East Indies_sentence_11

In colonial times, they were just "natives". East Indies_sentence_12

Peoples of the East Indies comprise a wide variety of cultural diversity, and the inhabitants do not consider themselves as belonging to a single ethnic group. East Indies_sentence_13

The region is mostly populated by the Austronesians, who first expanded from the island of Taiwan, and later on during the early modern period, when East Asians such as the Han Chinese started to migrate south and became known as the Peranakans or Straits Chinese. East Indies_sentence_14

Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are the most popular religions throughout the region, while Sikhism, Jainism, Chinese folk religion and various other traditional beliefs and practices are also prominent in some areas. East Indies_sentence_15

The major languages in this area draw from a wide variety of language families such as the Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan languages, and should not be confused with the term Indic, a group of languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent. East Indies_sentence_16

Regions of the East Indies are sometimes known by the colonial empire they once belonged to, hence, Spanish East Indies means the Philippines, Dutch East Indies means Indonesia, and British East Indies refers to Malaysia. East Indies_sentence_17

Historically, the king of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) was identified with "Prester John of the Indies", since that part of the world was imagined to be one of "Three Indias". East Indies_sentence_18

History East Indies_section_1

Exploration of these regions by European powers first began in the late 15th century and early 16th century led by the Portuguese explorers. East Indies_sentence_19

The Portuguese described the entire region they discovered as the Indies. East Indies_sentence_20

Eventually, the region would be broken up into a series of Indies: The East Indies, which was also called "Old Indies" or "Great Indies", consisting of India, and the West Indies, also called "New Indies" or "Little Indies", consisting of the Americas. East Indies_sentence_21

These regions were important sources of trading goods, particularly cotton, indigo and spices after the establishment of European trading companies: the British East India Company and Dutch East India Company, among others, in the 17th century. East Indies_sentence_22

The New World was initially thought to be the easternmost part of the Indies by explorer Christopher Columbus, who had grossly underestimated the westerly distance from Europe to Asia. East Indies_sentence_23

Later, to avoid confusion, the New World came to be called the "West Indies", while the original Indies came to be called the "East Indies". East Indies_sentence_24

The designation East Indian was once primarily used to describe people of all of the East Indies, in order to avoid the potential confusion from the term American Indian who were once simply referred to as Indians (see the Native American name controversy for more information). East Indies_sentence_25

During the Harsha's reign a term Five Indies was used as a synonym for the territory to the north of the vindhyas. East Indies_sentence_26

According to Xuanzang "The circumference of the Five Indies is about 90,000 li; on three sides it is surrounded by a great sea; on the north it is supported by icy mountains. East Indies_sentence_27

In the north it is wide and narrow in the south; its shape is crescent". East Indies_sentence_28

See also East Indies_section_2

East Indies_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East Indies.